TLC Presents: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Review and Giveaway

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Release date: 2012 / 336 pages

Synopsis(from Amazon):Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye… Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest across the countryside. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit and sense of promise…

Review:  After I finished journeying with Harold Fry, I understood why Helen Simonson (the author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand) began her own review with the adjective, “Marvelous!”  I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and although it is different from Pettigrew most respects, there is a fundamental, authentic sense of satisfaction at the turning of the last page that I felt with both novels.

In his mid-sixties, on his way to the post box to mail a letter, Harold Fry decides quite uncharacteristically and unexpectedly to instead hand deliver the letter — by walking across England (from Kingsbridge, South Hams to Berwick-upon-Tweed).  Shod in boating shoes with only his wallet, Harold begins an odyssey that allows him to come to peace with his unfortunate childhood and how this shaped his own identity as a father.  He thinks back through mistakes he himself made as a parent and as a husband — and meets a charming cast of fellow travellers on his way.

But what makes Harold Fry so satisfying is Joyce’s direct, yet resonant storytelling.  Within a few paragraphs the reader is completely sympathetic to both Harold and his wife Maureen, even though they are each a bit irritating (at least initially).  Although Harold’s journey seems physically unlikely, Joyce includes enough realistic obstacles and challenges to make this aspect of the novel believable; however, the veracity of the journey is quite beside the point.  The true gift of this novel is its spirit of redemption and perseverance, even when least likely.

I thoroughly recommend Harold Fry and believe most book clubs would find this an enjoyable read. If you are interested in winning a copy, drop me a comment below!

Check out the other tour stops:

Tuesday, July 3rd:  Alison’s Bookmarks

Thursday, July 5th:  Literate Housewife

Friday, July 6th:  Amused by Books

Monday, July 9th:  A Bookworm’s World

Tuesday, July 10th:  My Book Retreat

Wednesday, July 11th:  Under My Apple Tree

Monday, July 16th:  BookNAround

Tuesday, July 17th:  Life in the Thumb

Wednesday, July 18th:  Luxury Reading

Thursday, July 19th:  Book Chatter

Monday, July 23rd:  Sarah Reads Too Much

Tuesday, July 24th:  Write Meg!

Wednesday, July 25th:  Coffee and a Book Chick

Thursday, July 26th:  It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life

Monday, July 30th:  Patricia’s Wisdom

Tuesday, July 31st:  Joyfully Retired

Wednesday, August 1st:  Ted Lehmann’s Bluegrass, Books, and Brainstorms

Thursday, August 2nd:  A Musing Reviews

Monday, August 6th:  Bibliophiliac

Wednesday, August 8th:  Boarding in my Forties

Thursday, August 9th:  Bibliosue

Friday, August 10th:  Chaotic Compendiums

Monday, August 13th:  The Picky Girl

Tuesday, August 14th:  Col Reads

Wednesday, August 15th:  Caribousmom

Friday, August 17th:  Jenn’s Bookshelves

Monday, August 20th:  The House of the Seven Tails

Tuesday, August 21st:  She Treads Softly

Wednesday, August 22nd:  Knowing the Difference

Thursday, August 23rd:  Reading on a Rainy Day

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19 Responses to TLC Presents: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Review and Giveaway

  1. I am very interested in winning a copy.


  2. This book sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. Peg Sperli says:

    Hi, Our book club has been reading so much about WW1 and WW11 that this sounds like a very nice change. I have the next pick so hoping I win. Thank you.

  4. ellie says:

    This novel is so unique and captivating. Thanks.

  5. Melanie says:

    I’d love to win a copy, thanks. My book club just read and loved Major Pettigrew. So I’m anxious to see if this is just as good.

  6. anne says:

    I would enjoy this story very much. A special giveaway.

  7. nan says:

    Different kind of story. Think I’d enjoy it. Thanks for the chance to win.

  8. diane says:

    An interesting and lovely book. Thanks for this chance.

  9. techeditor says:

    Did you know this book is one of amazon’s picks for July? Thanks for the offer. I hope to win.

  10. nfmgirl says:

    I first learned of this one from someone in my book club, and it was quickly added to my Wish List! Please count me in. Thank you!

  11. Twisty J says:

    This sounds like a really interesting idea for a story. Simple, but with so many possibilities. I would like to be entered for a chance to win, please.

  12. Pingback: Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, on tour July and August, 2012 | TLC Book Tours

  13. I really enjoyed MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND so I’m glad to see you say that this book had the same feeling to it.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  14. Diane says:

    This sounds like a interesting book. Thank you for your review and a chance to win this .

  15. Carl says:

    Such an interesting-sounding book. Thanks for your review, I’d really like to read Harold’s story. Please enter my name for the chance to win a copy. Thanks.

  16. Lilian says:

    Thank you for your review! I would definitely love to follow Harold’s journey!
    Please enter me for the giveaway. Thanks!
    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

  17. Bonnie says:

    Heard great things about this book. Would love to win a copy.

  18. Marilyn says:

    I trust Helen Simondson’s recommendation. I have found that if I like the author, I nearly always like what they endorse…fingers crossed!

  19. Laurie says:

    I’ve read several glowing reviews about this book and would love to win the giveaway.

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