NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST “[Rachel] Joyce’s beguiling debut is [a] modest-seeming story of ‘ordinary’ English lives that enthralls and moves you as it unfolds.”—People (four stars) Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning a letter arrives, addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live. A novel of charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise—and utterly irresistible—storyteller. Praise for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry “[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “A cause for celebration . . . [Joyce] has a lovely sense of the possibilities of redemption. In this bravely unpretentious and unsentimental take, she’s cleared space where miracles are still possible.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is not just a book about lost love. It is about all the wonderful everyday things Harold discovers through the mere process of putting one foot in front of the other.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more. From the Trade Paperback edition.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else's life. 'The odyssey of a simple man, original, subtle and touching'. - Claire Tomalin 'From the moment I met Harold Fry, I didn't want to leave him. Impossible to put down.' - Erica Wagner, The Times Rachel Joyce's new novel, The Music Shop, is now available to buy.
Recently retired, sweet, emotionally numb Harold Fry is jolted out of his passivity by a letter from Queenie Hennessy, an old friend, who he hasn't heard from in twenty years. She has written to say she is in hospice and wanted to say goodbye. Leaving his tense, bitter wife Maureen to her chores, Harold intends a quick walk to the corner mailbox to post his reply but instead, inspired by a chance encounter, he becomes convinced he must deliver his message in person to Queenie--who is 600 miles away--because as long as he keeps walking, Harold believes that Queenie will not die. So without hiking boots, rain gear, map or cell phone, one of the most endearing characters in current fiction begins his unlikely pilgrimage across the English countryside. Along the way, strangers stir up memories--flashbacks, often painful, from when his marriage was filled with promise and then not, of his inadequacy as a father, and of his shortcomings as a husband. Ironically, his wife Maureen, shocked by her husband's sudden absence, begins to long for his presence. Is it possible for Harold and Maureen to bridge the distance between them? And will Queenie be alive to see Harold arrive at her door?
From the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry comes an exquisite love story about Queenie Hennessy, the remarkable friend who inspired Harold’s cross-country journey. A runaway international bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry followed its unassuming hero on an incredible journey as he traveled the length of England on foot—a journey spurred by a simple letter from his old friend Queenie Hennessy, writing from a hospice to say goodbye. Harold believed that as long as he kept walking, Queenie would live. What he didn’t know was that his decision to walk had caused her both alarm and fear. How could she wait? What would she say? Forced to confront the past, Queenie realizes she must write again. In this poignant parallel story to Harold’s saga, acclaimed author Rachel Joyce brings Queenie Hennessy’s voice into sharp focus. Setting pen to paper, Queenie makes a journey of her own, a journey that is even bigger than Harold’s; one word after another, she promises to confess long-buried truths—about her modest childhood, her studies at Oxford, the heartbreak that brought her to Kingsbridge and to loving Harold, her friendship with his son, the solace she has found in a garden by the sea. And, finally, the devastating secret she has kept from Harold for all these years. A wise, tender, layered novel that gathers tremendous emotional force, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy underscores the resilience of the human spirit, beautifully illuminating the small yet pivotal moments that can change a person’s life. Praise for The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy “In the end, this lovely book is full of joy. Much more than the story of a woman’s enduring love for an ordinary, flawed man, it’s an ode to messy, imperfect, glorious, unsung humanity. . . . [Queenie’s] love song is for us. Thank you, Rachel Joyce.”—The Washington Post “Destined to change your world. One can’t help but see life, and the end of it, differently after experiencing this novel. Full of wisdom and heart, it will overwhelm its readers with a deep sensitivity.”—Bookreporter “[A] beguiling follow-up . . . In telling Queenie’s side of the story, Joyce accomplishes the rare feat of endowing her continuing narrative with as much pathos and warmth, wisdom and poignancy as her debut. Harold was beloved by millions; Queenie will be, too.”—Booklist (starred review) “Delightful and dark . . . But Joyce is so deft that when the book is over and you close the cover, the darkness fades. What sticks with you is the light of Queenie’s unwavering love.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune “[A] deeply affecting novel . . . Culminating in a shattering revelation, [Queenie’s] tale is funny, sad, hopeful: She’s bound for death, but full of life.”—People “Joyce’s writing at moments has a simplicity that sings. She captures hope best of all.”—The Guardian “Joyce has a wonderfully evocative turn of phrase and like her other books this is a delightful read. . . . Uplifting and moving.”—Daily Express “Joyce nicely calls the book a companion rather than a sequel. But The Love Song is bolder than a retread of the same material from another angle. . . . After two such involving novels, readers are bound to wish for a third.”—The Telegraph “[Joyce] manages to both add depth to an already strong work and build something new and beautiful upon it.”—The A.V. Club From the Hardcover edition.
From the author of the international bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, comes another exquisite and emotionally resonant novel about the search for the truth and unconditional love. On a foggy spring morning in 1972, twelve-year-old Byron Hemming and his mother are driving to school in the English countryside. On the way, in a life-changing two seconds, an accident occurs. Or does it? Byron is sure it happened, but his mother, sitting right next to him in the car, has no reaction to it. Over the course of the days and weeks that follow, Byron embarks on a journey to discover what really happened--or didn't--that fateful morning when everything changed. It is a journey that will take him--a loveable and cloistered twelve-year-old boy with a loveable and cloistered twelve-year-old boy's perspective on life--into the murkier, more difficult realities of the adult world, where people lie, fathers and mothers fight without words, and even unwilling boys must become men. Byron will have to reconcile the dueling realities of that summer, a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit and the power of compassion.
“An unforgettable story of music, loss and hope. Fans of High Fidelity, meet your next quirky love story.”—People NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE TIMES (UK) It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music. Terrified of real closeness, Frank feels compelled to turn and run, yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems, and Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen, as well as a past it seems he will never leave behind. Can a man who is so in tune with other people’s needs be so incapable of connecting with the one person who might save him? The journey that these two quirky, wonderful characters make in order to overcome their emotional baggage speaks to the healing power of music—and love—in this poignant, ultimately joyful work of fiction. Praise for The Music Shop “Captures the sheer, transformative joy of romance.”—The Washington Post “Love, friendship, and especially the healing powers of music all rise together into a triumphant crescendo. . . . This lovely novel is as satisfying and enlightening as the music that suffuses its every page.”—The Boston Globe “Magnificent . . . If you love words, if you love music, if you love love, this [novel] will be without question one of the year’s best.”—BookPage (Top Pick in Fiction) “Joyce has a knack for quickly sketching characters in a way that makes them stick. [The Music Shop] will surprise you.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune “Rachel Joyce has established a reputation for novels that celebrate the dignity and courage of ordinary people and the resilience of the human spirit. . . . But what really elevates The Music Shop is Joyce’s detailed knowledge of—and passion for—music.”—The Guardian
Meet a pair of beloved characters—Harold Fry and Queenie Hennessy—in an eBook bundle that collects two linked novels from a wise and utterly irresistible storyteller. “[Rachel Joyce] has a lovely sense of the possibilities of redemption. . . . She’s cleared space where miracles are still possible.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post Rachel Joyce’s unforgettable debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, became a runaway international bestseller as readers fell in love with her unassuming hero as he embarked on an incredible adventure spurred by a letter from his old friend Queenie. In The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, Joyce reveals the other side of the story in a journey just as remarkable as Harold’s. Together these exquisite parallel novels illuminate the feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, and the small yet pivotal moments that can change a person’s life. Praise for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry “[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “Joyce’s beguiling debut is [a] modest-seeming story of ‘ordinary’ English lives that enthralls and moves you as it unfolds.”—People (four stars) “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is not just a book about lost love. It is about all the wonderful everyday things Harold discovers through the mere process of putting one foot in front of the other.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times “A moving story about an ordinary man on an extraordinary journey.”—Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank “A gentle adventure with an emotional wallop . . . a smart, feel-good story.”—Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today “I found myself laughing through tears, rooting for Harold at every step of his journey. I’m still rooting for him.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife Praise for The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy “This lovely book is full of joy. . . . [Queenie’s] love song is for us. Thank you, Rachel Joyce.”—The Washington Post “Joyce’s writing at moments has a simplicity that sings. She captures hope best of all.”—The Guardian “[A] deeply affecting novel . . . Culminating in a shattering revelation, [Queenie’s] tale is funny, sad, hopeful: She’s bound for death, but full of life.”—People “Like Harold Fry, Queenie is delightful and dark. . . . But Joyce is so deft that when the book is over and you close the cover, the darkness fades. What sticks with you is the light of Queenie’s unwavering love.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune “Wonderful . . . It is not necessary to read Harold’s story before reading Queenie’s to enjoy this bittersweet novel, which is a pleasure in its own right. However, reading both will only serve to double that pleasure.”—The Independent “After two such involving novels, readers are bound to wish for a third.”—The Telegraph
Rachel Joyce, internationally bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Perfect, delivers an unforgettable Christmas story of moving on from lost love, now available exclusively as an e-short. It’s Christmas Eve, and Binny has only five hours to decorate her house and fix a proper dinner. Dropping her children off at school, she runs into town to do some last-minute shopping, yet her mind and heart are wholly elsewhere. Fighting off the sting of recent heartbreak, Binny stumbles into a small store, and in striking up conversation with the saleswoman she is suddenly overcome with memories of old friends, family, loves that have come and gone. And in this tiny shop, in the unlikely company of a complete stranger, Binny discovers a surprising sense of peace. Includes an enthralling preview of Rachel Joyce’s forthcoming novel Perfect. Praise for Rachel Joyce “Perfect is a poignant and powerful book, rich with empathy and charged with beautiful, atmospheric writing.”—Tana French, author of In the Woods, on Perfect “[Perfect’s] unputdownable factor . . . lies in its exploration of so many multilayered emotions. There is the unbreakable bond between mother and son, the fear of not belonging . . . and how love can offer redemption.”—London Evening Standard, on Perfect “Beguiling . . . enthralls and moves you as it unfolds.”—People (four stars), on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry “[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation.”—O: The Oprah Magazine, on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Isabelle Lee has a problem, and it's not just Ape Face, her sister, or group therapy for an eating disorder, or even that her father died and her mother is depressed and in denial. It's that Ashley, the most popular girl in school, is inviting Isabelle to join her at lunch and at sleepovers at her house, and this is presenting Isabelle with a dilemma. Pretty Ashley has moved Isabelle up the social ladder, but is it worth keeping the secret they share? Caught in the orbit of popularity and appearances, Isabelle must navigate a world with mixed messages, false hopes, and potentially harmful turns, while coping with her own flailing family and emotions. The author brings a depth of characterization, humor, and a real adolescent's voice to this multileveled story about the desire to be perfect in an imperfect world.
As read on Radio 4, seven linked stories set in the Christmas holidays - all as funny, joyous, poignant and memorable as Christmas should be: A Faraway Smell of Lemon: The School Term has ended. It is almost Christmas but Binny, out last-minute shopping couldn't feel less like wishing glad tidings to all men. Ducking out of the rain she finds herself in the sort of shop she would never normally visit. The Marriage Manual: Christmas Eve. Two parents endeavour to construct their son's Christmas present from a DIY kit and in the process find themselves deconstructing their marriage. Christmas at the Airport: A glitch in the system, travellers stranded and all sorts of lives colliding in the face of a sudden birth... The Boxing Day Ball: Maureen has never been out with the local girls before. Who knew that a disco in the Village Hall could be life-changing? A Snow Garden: Two little boys, dumped with their divorced father for his share of the Christmas holidays and none of them with a clue how to enjoy it. I'll Be Home for Christmas The most famous boy in the world comes home hoping to escape the madness with a normal family Christmas. Trees: As if Christmas wasn't wearing enough, now his elderly parent is asking for a hole in the ground ... Father and son break old habits and plant a tree to mark the start of the new year.
In this poignant and curiously charming debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam's death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam's possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he's never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife's secret life before they met--a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places. Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a joyous celebration of life's infinite possibilities.
Forced to abandon her life of privilege in 1880 London and relocate to the Southern Cape of Africa, Francis Irvine becomes entangled with two very different men, including one driven by ambition and another by his ideals.
The lives of two young Italian lovers, Enza Ravanelli, a practical girl born into poverty and Ciro Amadei, a dreamer raised in a convent orphanage, are woven together in this lush, epic novel set against the landscape of world events in the first half of the 20thcentury. The Shoemaker's Wifespans two world wars, immigration, the birth of American manufacturing, the rigors of assimilation and the perils of the Great Depression. Like the times they were born into, Enza and Ciro's story is filled with surprising twists and turns. Together, they embrace the promise of a new and better life as they attempt to survive by the labour of their own hands. But when Ciro is diagnosed with a deadly cancer from the bombs he endured in World War I, he returns home alone to Italy to say goodbye, and solve a final mystery about his family.
'But this can't be right. You're a little giant!' Truly Plaice - part behemoth, part witch, part Cinderella - is born larger than life into a small-minded town. Her birth rocks the pillars of tiny Aberdeen, New York, and breaks her family into smithereens. She spends a painful childhood in the shadow of her older sister Serena's beauty, and is teased mercilessly for her enormous physique. But when Serena unexpectedly vanishes and leaves her son in Truly's care, Truly must become mistress of a house she did not choose and the unwilling victim of her brother-in-law, Dr. Robert Morgan. Once her childhood tormentor, he now subjects her to brutal criticism and cruel medical experiments that test her endurance past breaking point - but Truly may have more power than he realises... Tiffany's Baker's debut is a rare and bewitching novel, with a heart as big as its heroine.
Major Ernest Pettigrew is perfectly content to lead a quiet life in the sleepy village of Edgecombe St Mary, away from the meddling of the locals and his overbearing son. But when his brother dies, the Major finds himself seeking companionship with the village shopkeeper, Mrs Ali. Drawn together by a love of books and the loss of their partners, they are soon forced to contend with irate relatives and gossiping villagers. The perfect gentleman, but the most unlikely hero, the Major must ask himself what matters most: family obligation, tradition or love? Funny, comforting and heart-warming, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand proves that sometimes, against all odds, life does give you a second chance.
My dearest daughter, I will never forget the day I nearly lost you. The day you learned the secrets that would tear our lives apart… Time stops for Jen when her beloved daughter, Gracie, is involved in a terrible car crash. Pronounced dead at the scene, it's a miracle when paramedics manage to then resuscitate the little girl. The relief Jen feels at Gracie's recovery is matched only by her fury at the driver of the car - her ex-husband's new girlfriend Ella. Jen has never trusted Ella, and now her worst fears have been confirmed. But then Gracie begins to tell strange stories about what she heard in the car that day, and what she saw in those moments near death. It's clear that there's something shocking hidden in Ella's past… but exposing it could tear all their lives apart. An emotional page-turner that will take your breath away. Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Lisa Wingate and Kerry Fisher.
Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life. In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die. As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she'd found. Will she pay any price to keep it? The Lifeboat is a page-turning novel of hard choices and survival, narrated by a woman as unforgettable and complex as the events she describes.
'I loved Fear of Dying. I found it irreverent, funny, tender and very wise and it made me feel more alive' RACHEL JOYCE, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Vanessa Wonderman is smart, sexy - and sixty. After a lifetime of crazy families, New York high society and playing a soap opera archvillain bitch, she's not ready to give up yet. But life's not so carefree any more. Her parents are dying, her husband's in hospital and her wild-child daughter is pregnant. So when she signs up to a casual encounters site, she's thinking of leaving her wifelife behind - at least for a little bit. However, the most painful parts of your past always have away of surprising you. Will she learn in time how to live, how to love, how to be fearless?