Harold Fry makes for an unlikely pilgrim. A British pensioner, he spends most days sitting in his chair half-listening to his wife, Maureen, harangue him over trivialities that stand in for the larger disappointments of their marriage--until he receives a farewell letter from a nearly forgotten former coworker, Queenie Hennessy, who is dying of cancer. Troubled and energized, Harold writes Queenie a letter in response. A chance conversation gives Harold the notion that he can save Queenie's life by an act of faith: he will walk 600 miles from his village to Berwick-upon-Tweed and deliver the letter in person. In a message to Queenie, Harold says, "I will keep walking and you must keep living." Queenie once did Harold a good turn in a dark time, and he believes he can return the favor.
Harold sets out in a light jacket and yachting shoes, completely unprepared for the journey or for the stories he will hear from strangers he meets on his way, or for the memories of his own lonely childhood, his promising early years with Maureen and their son, David, and the tragedy that wrecked their family.
A redemptive journey of determination and love rekindled, Rachel Joyce's debut novel features an unusual Everyman whose grit and growth suggest that it's never too late for second chances. Through emotional hardship and physical injury, Harold's unfailing commitment to Queenie and ability to finally open his heart to others after so many years will inspire readers as they share his triumphs and pitfalls. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger, Infinite Reads