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Miss Benson’s Beetle

by Rachel Joyce

My Book of the Year for 2020 is now out in paperback!!  Oh how I loved this book!  Such a joy!

It is 1950. In a devastating moment of clarity, Margery Benson abandons her dead-end job and advertises for an assistant to accompany her on an expedition. She is going to travel to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist. Enid Pretty, in her unlikely pink travel suit, is not the companion Margery had in mind. And yet together they will be drawn into an adventure that will exceed every expectation. They will risk everything, break all the rules, and at the top of a red mountain, discover their best selves.

This is a story that is less about what can be found than the belief it might be found; it is an intoxicating adventure story but it is also about what it means to be a woman and a tender exploration of a friendship that defies all boundaries.

Rachel Joyce has specialised in stories about overlooked people jolted out of their routines into unexpected situations that allow them to face the buried griefs that have kept them trapped in small lives…. it would be a mistake to think of her novels as merely “heartwarming”…. Joyce has a clear-eyed, unsparing view of regret, failure and loss, and the cost that life exacts from so many, even while she counters it with a belief in the resilience of the human spirit and the possibility of second chances. – The Guardian

A beautiful portrayal of female friendship in all its frailties, contradictions and strengths. – Raynor Winn author of The Salt Path


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