I did it!!! The fabulous challenge set by the wonderful 746 Books at the start of Summer was to read 20 books, or less if needs be, by the beginning of September! I did think I would struggle to be honest as the pile of 20 did look a little daunting when I first set out to choose them. And as I had a few shelves of paperbacks in my collection that had been looking at me from the shelves for quite some time, I chose to restrict the challenge to paperbacks that I owned! And having the deadline of September there really seemed to spur me on - the warm, sunny weather did help though too to be honest as at times it was just too hot to do anything but sit and read! But then, that is also my excuse when it is cold/ raining/ cloudy/ snowing / etc... so I won't let the sunshine take all the credit!
I had 2 left to read and with a quiet weekend on the calendar, it was all systems go and I may have finished with the best 2 books of the batch! So here's my thoughts on the last 2;
THE LOVE SONG OF MISS QUEENIE HENNESSY by RACHEL JOYCE
From the author of the 2 million+ copy, worldwide bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, an exquisite, funny and heartrending parallel story.
When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note to him had explained she was dying from cancer. How can she wait?
A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write a second letter; only this time she must tell Harold the truth. Composing this letter, the volunteer promises, will ensure Queenie hangs on. It will also atone for the secrets of the past. As the volunteer points out, ‘It isn’t Harold who is saving you. It is you, saving Harold Fry.’
This is that letter. A letter that was never sent.
Told in simple, emotionally-honest prose, with a mischievous bite, this is a novella about a woman who falls in love but chooses not to claim it. It is about friendship and kindness as well as the small victories that pass unrecorded. It is about the truth and the significance - the gentle heroism - of a life lived alone.
Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong. It was just the beginning...
Was a big fan of the first book - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - as I found it so heartwarming and special, so was eager to see how this companion story would work. Told from the perspective of Queenie as she waits for Harold, this was just an absolute delight to read and have to admit to finding myself sobbing on a number of occasions, along with laughing out loud at some of the antics and thoughts of all those waiting at the care home for the latest news from Harold and his quest! This was just a wonderful read so can highly recommend this, and the original, if you haven't already discovered these delightful characters!
A perfect life … until she discovered it wasn’t her own.
A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life.
Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home
A lot of the reviews I'd seen for this book all featured the same word 'wow' so I was a little nervous on starting this to see why they would write such a thing - and now I know why!! WOW!
The reader is taken on an astonishing journey with Bella as her life is turned upside down and all she thought she knew turns out to be a lie. Loved how the author captured the anguish and the anxiety that pushes Bella further on to discover the truth and I was gripped from start to finish, especially with all the twists and turns along the way that just kept adding to the tension and drama.
So that is it!! My mission is over and I'm a little chuffed with myself for keeping on track - who cares that the housework has piled up over the Summer and my cross stitch projects have been left discarded while I bury my nose in a book!
It also gives me hope that if I keep pushing myself on the reading front, I will eventually make it through the TBR piles dotted around the house...... if only I could stop adding to them!!
Hope everyone else has had fun with this challenge! Good luck if you still have a way to go!! And Congratulations if you've completed your own little mission too!