Miss Benson’s Beetle
By Rachel Joyce
Dial Press Trade Paperback, 9780812996708, November 2020, 368pp.
The Short of It:
What a treat. Fans of Joyce won’t be disappointed.
The Rest of It:
Margery Benson is a schoolteacher in 1950’s London, and not a very good one at that. She can barely get by, is harassed by her own students and isn’t comfortable in her own skin. Pushed to her limit after a particularly bad day in the classroom, she takes off on an expedition to New Caledonia in search of a rare golden beetle that her father once told her about.
But first, she needs an assistant. The last person she had in mind for the job is the one who eventually shows up to take it. Enid Pretty, with her shock of yellow hair, her cotton candy pink suit and her pom pom sandals trots into Margery’s life and from day one is a major annoyance. But Margery is pressed for time as her ship is about to leave the port and she knows she can’t do it alone, so Enid is it.
What a charming story. Although the expedition is a little far-fetched, I found myself hanging on every word as these two take off on their adventure. Two, very headstrong, quirky women traveling to the other side of the world with little to no experience under their belts. This makes for a very entertaining read but it’s not all fun and games. Very early on you are tipped off that something larger is at play. This is one of those stories that you can’t put down because it’s so fun and quirky and yes, different but you know, you just know there is going to be a serious payout. That was definitely the case here.
Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine would do well by picking this book up. It has the same tone and feel and the way this friendship develops is quite sweet. Overall, it’s a feel-good book although there are two things that happen that made me a little sad. Those who have read it know what I mean. However, don’t let that stop you because I wish I still had more of the story to read. It’s that kind of story. I’ve read two other books by this author, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Music Shop and I loved them as well. Joyce knows how to write a good story.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.