As Queenie lies dying in her hospice bed she is inspired to write to Harold Fry. Harold is the subject of Joyce’s first book, “The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” who walks from one end of Britain to the other to see Queenie one last time, to offer her kindness and acknowledgment before she dies. Queenie’s letters bare tribute to her undying love of Harold and secrets she has kept for twenty years. Queenie has had a small unremarkable life and it seems a little far-fetched to me that she could have invested in Harold with knowing there is little hope of her feelings being acknowledged or reciprocated. A little too hopeless for my liking, quite drawn out and slow moving a good metaphor for dying of cancer.
The book is set in a hospice and traverses the dying of fellow patients. Queenie has despaired over her past but with the help of supporters she has reconciles with the truth of her role in Harold’s son David’s death. Queenie has had a life of fantasy and remorse but comes to peace during her dying days.
The emotional rollercoaster of unrequited love and the suffering of Queenie has been portrayed with sensitivity and dignity and is quite and inspiration for exploring closure at the point of death. It is not a sad read, although I cried at times, more uplifting due to the sensory experiences of coming to terms with one’s fate with courage, hope and love.
A sweet read, I recommend it, especially if you have read the first book.