BookBrowse Reviews The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

A Novel

by Rachel Joyce

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce X
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2012, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2013, 368 pages

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A middle-aged man's path to self-discovery

With 24 out of 25 reviewers rating it 4 or 5 stars,The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is a hit with BookBrowse readers! Here's what they have to say:

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is an inspiring story and one that will not be forgotten for a long time (Linda M). If anyone were to pitch the idea that walking an excess of 600 miles would give hope to an ailing friend in hospice, how many of us would have the courage to do so? Harold embarks on a journey that takes him not only to his destination but into the realms of memory that have isolated him from the outside world (Marjorie C). The book is uplifting, spiritual, emotional and sad. It is a great novel (Colleen L). I loved this book, not only for the storyline but also because it caused me to reconsider my own life journey and what truly matters in the end (Patricia E).

Many readers loved the book's message:

This book had a profound impact on me. Harold has much to teach the reader along his pilgrimage - about life and love and regrets (Nancy C). This novel is the epitome of the expression "stop and smell the roses." Harold's pilgrimage is reflective, heartbreaking, and most of all about hope and faith (Pam L). The greater truth hidden inside this novel, is that at some point in each of our lives, we have to flip the mirror back onto ourselves and see the true image that reflects back. (Marjorie C).

A couple of readers found the novel a little slow to start:

I found it to be slow-moving and predictable in terms of the human revelations but did enjoy the sense of mystery that made me wonder what had happened earlier on amongst the characters (Gerald R). I got bogged down halfway through, but couldn't put the book down for the second half (Jill M).

While some others found the pace to their advantage:

The lovely steady pace of this novel leaves time for musing about its themes - forgiveness, redemption and the rekindling of old love (Dee H). I wondered how the author would be able to sustain the story - step after step, what could be of interest? I found myself drawn into the depths of this ordinary man who decides one day to do an extraordinary thing. And in doing so he finds himself and reclaims his life (Joan N).

And yet others read it in one sitting!

I read it straight through in one sitting. I could no more put it down than Harold Fry could stop walking his unlikely pilgrimage (Mary M). Be prepared to start the book in the morning when you know you have all day to read because once you start, you will not want to stop (Colleen L).

Who will like this book:

Anyone who liked Major Pettigrew's Last Stand will surely enjoy this subtle novel about failed relationships, past regrets and seemingly bleak futures (Wendy E). I never would have guessed that a book about an elderly man, Harold, who walks over six hundred miles, would be so intriguing and enlightening. I will be using this book as my pick for our monthly book club, and I believe it will lead to a fascinating discussion (Rosemary S). I recommend this for book clubs, as many interesting questions are raised about why Harold embarked upon his "unlikely pilgrimage" (Deborah C).

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in August 2012, and has been updated for the April 2013 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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