Several people recommended Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce to me (remind me who you are if you read this). And, boy am I glad they did. I have liked Joyce’s work in the past (The Music Shop and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, though I didn’t enjoy Perfect) and am not sure how I missed this one. Amazon: “It is 1950. London is still reeling from World War II, and Margery Benson, a schoolteacher and spinster, is trying to get through life, surviving on scraps. One day, she reaches her breaking point, abandoning her job and small existence to set out on an expedition to the other side of the world in search of her childhood obsession: an insect that may or may not exist—the golden beetle of New Caledonia. When she advertises for an assistant to accompany her, the woman she ends up with is the last person she had in mind. Fun-loving Enid Pretty in her tight-fitting pink suit and pom-pom sandals seems to attract trouble wherever she goes. But together these two British women find themselves drawn into a cross-ocean adventure that exceeds all expectations and delivers something neither of them expected to find: the transformative power of friendship.” I thoroughly enjoyed this story, though it was a little draggy in one section, hence the 4.5- rather than 5-stars.
Pingback: Best Books of 2021 – A Year in Review | Read Between the Wines