Book Review: Maureen by Rachel Joyce

“Surely it wasn’t too much to ask that you get to the end, and looking back, you don’t fill with horror and bitterness at all the things you got wrong.”

― Rachel Joyce, Maureen

A touching story presented from the perspective of Harold Fry's wife Maureen is the next work from the bestselling author Rachel Joyce. Maureen will find a way to re-engage with the world to which she has closed a door by starting her own journey. The story is a profoundly felt, poetic, and compelling that examines love, grief, and how we reconcile the past to gain a greater understanding of ourselves. The Unexpected Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was the spectacular success that launched a trilogy that was continued in The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, and while this book stands alone, it also serves as the incredibly affecting conclusion to that trilogy. The force and gravitas of a classic are present in Maureen, just like in other well-loved works.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Ten years ago, Harold Fry set off on a six-hundred-mile walk to save a friend. But the story doesn’t end there. Now his wife, Maureen, has her own pilgrimage to make.

Only she can finish the journey her husband started.

Maureen Fry has settled into the quiet life she shares with her husband after his iconic walk across England ten years ago. When an unexpected message from the North disturbs her equilibrium again, it is now her turn to make a journey. But Maureen is not like Harold. By turns outspoken, then vulnerable, she struggles to form bonds with the people she meets, and the landscape she crosses has radically changed. And Maureen has no sense of what she will find at the end of the road. All she knows is that she has to get there.

My reaction to this novel...

I was quite eager to read this third volume since I had a lot of questions about David and hoped that this book would finally provide all of the answers. Since the beginning, Maureen has been my least favorite character since you will sense that there is something peculiar about her. I don't know why, but even though I completely understand her grief over what happened to David, I still find it difficult to love her character. And I'm really hoping that as I read this book, I'll grow to like her. In a way, I still felt the same way about her character at the conclusion of the novel, and I can still not feel all of her feelings, which is why it didn't captivate me the way Harold, David, and Queenie's characters did.

When reading this work, I was struck by how tough Maureen's attitude was to deal with. There are numerous unresolved ends, such as how Harold Fry fell in love with her despite her attitude and how she was able to show her love to him despite her stiffness. The first two books truly made me feel how tough it is to love Maureen and how difficult it is for Harold Fry to live with someone who doesn't know how to cherish him. I still couldn't sense her love for Harold in this novel, which made me feel terrible for him. Her persona wears thin, and occasionally I had to put the book down out of boredom. I understand that some individuals, like her, are scared and hesitant to interact with others; I, too, have felt this way at times, but her manner of presenting herself does not make a favorable impression on me.

Another thing that disappointed me about this book was that I had really wanted to hear more from David and I wanted Maureen to know about David and Queenie's relationships and interactions, but this book didn't provide me with that information. Compared to Maureen's narrative, I believe David's will be a more compelling read. I didn't even get a comprehensive picture of her background to understand why she became so stiff and callous, even while David is around and before the unforeseen tragedy occurred. I'm pretty bummed out about this.

This novel has a lot of disappointing incidents for me, yet one thing made me smile. That happened every time Harold was mentioned in any chapter. The first two volumes will make you feel bad for him since you'll realize how unhappy he is with his life. Even if his wife is around, you would still see how lonely he is, and I felt awful for him. Yet his personality altered in this novel. I could sense his relief and contentment following his journey. I was of the opinion that he already appreciates life's colors and enjoys the company of people, and I'm delighted he arrived at that conclusion.

Nonetheless, if you have previously read the first book in this series, you should also read the third. However, if you want to learn more about David, this book won't provide any answers. I sincerely wish the author had thought about creating a book on David before the awful event.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐✨(2.5/5)

“A person could be trapped in a version of themselves that was from another time, and completely miss the happiness that was staring them in the face.”

Our thoughts go blank when we are unhappy or longing, making it impossible for us to appreciate or even comprehend what is in front of us. There are moments when we feel lost and alone even when we are in the midst of a crowd because we feel the inescapable hole inside us, thus we are caught in those times when we are happy, hoping that we could stay in that period for the rest of our life. 


Disclaimer: Booksreadbyhannel is not a business website. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and based only on my own feelings and reactions while reading the books I featured here in my blog. My reviews reflect my utmost sincerity. I paid for the books I review here out of my own pocket. Books provided by authors and publishers are otherwise specified.