The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

bookshelves: radio-4, published-2014, play-dramatisation, autumn-2014

Read from October 21 to 27, 2014

Book description: When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note had explained she was dying. How can she wait?

A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything. In confessing to secrets she has hidden for twenty years, she will find atonement for the past. As the volunteer points out, ‘Even though you’ve done your travelling, you’re starting a new journey too.’

Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong. It was the beginning.

BBC blurbs: In Rachel Joyce’s best selling novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Queenie Hennessy is told she has days to live. She sends a letter of rose pink paper in which she bids goodbye to Harold Fry. It is a letter that inspires a walk, a cast of well-wishers, a journey of its own. Harold will save her.

Harold’s story began its life as an award winning Radio 4 play so it only seems apt that this newly published novel begins its life hand in hand with a radio dramatisation by the author.

In this novel there is a second letter – a quieter, longer, more complicated letter. It is in this one that Queenie reveals the shocking and beautiful truth of her life. It is Queenie’s story and it is a love song to the man she loves.

‘It’s all very well for a man to step out of his front door and tell his friend to wait while he walks the length of England. It’s an entirely different kettle of fish when you are the woman at the other end.’
Directed by Tracey Neale.

The Letter: 1/5 Queenie Hennessy reveals the shocking and beautiful truth of her life.

2/5 While Harold Fry walks from Devon to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Queenie makes notes and Sister Mary Inconnue types them up. They won’t stop until he arrives and that is how Queenie will keep waiting.

3/5 As Harold walks, Queenie writes. She tells of how she fell in love with Harold twenty four years ago and the day she met his son, David.

4/5 Harold Fry has been walking forty days and Queenie waits. She writes and Sister Mary types. Did David steal the poems and will Queenie’s secret be revealed?

5/5 Queenie is waiting for Harold Fry to arrive, but she is running out of time.

Queenie Sophie Thompson
Harold Paul Venables
Sister Mary Inconnue Roslyn Hill
David Monty d’Inverno
Sister Catherine Elaine Claxton
Sister Lucy Hannah Genesius
Finty Jane Slavin
Mr Henderson Michael Bertenshaw
Napier Shaun Mason
Author Rachel Joyce
Director Tracey Neale

2* The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
2* The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

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