Maureen Fry and the Angel of the North by Rachel Joyce

I have been very kindly gifted an uncorrected proof of ‘Maureen Fry and the Angel of the North’ by Rachel Joyce – which I was very excited about. However, I do have to confess that I have not read the two books that come before this, as my only encounter with the work of Rachel Joyce has been ‘Miss Benson’s Beetle‘, which was a book I really rather enjoyed.

So, I think maybe meeting Maureen Fry without meeting Harold Fry or Queenie was a slightly different way to read this book than maybe others will do. I had no preconceived ideas about any of the characters or the nature of the story, but I am certainly ready to read the others after finishing this, as I thought it was a delightful read.

Maureen is going to follow in the footsteps of her husband Harold, and go on a bit of a pilgrimage of her own. Maybe in not exactly the same way, but she and Harold have decided that she needs to make a journey north, by car, to visit Queenie’s garden. However, this is not an easy journey for Maureen, for all sorts of reasons (which I do not really want to go into, as I do not want to spoil it for anybody who is really looking forward to reading this book). But it is certainly a journey that Maureen does not entirely expect – even with the best-laid plans, it takes her further than she would ever have imagined in her own personal journey as she comes to terms with the past, present and future.

I read this book in one sitting, as I was so invested in Maureen and her story, and it certainly has me keen to meet Harold properly in his own tale. I also love that it is a book with a title that has so many different meanings throughout the narrative – it is a joy when you spot them or wonder if that is the moment that it is referring to. This is a beautiful and wonderfully emotional read about relationships of all kinds, and I am grateful I have been able to read this before its publication date.

Keep your eyes peeled if you would like to meet Maureen Fry, as she will be in bookshops in October.

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