Miss Benson’s Beetle
by Rachel Joyce
Miss Benson’s Beetle is by the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a book that I very much enjoyed. So, I was excited to receive this e galley from the publisher. The book does not disappoint.
As has been true in her other novels, Rachel Joyce is a mistress of creating quirky characters for whom readers will care. The beginning of the novel introduces Miss Benson. What teacher will not identify with her ‘losing it,’ even if they might not take the actions that she does?
From this unlikely beginning Miss Benson goes on the quest of her lifetime, to the New Caledonia, in search of a rare golden beetle. Readers learn what led to this obsession and of the tragedies in Miss Benson’s past. Accompanying Miss Benson is the irrepressible Enid Pretty who has her own back story. There is also another less savory and wounded character whom Miss Benson did not hire when she met him.
This is a story about doing what one dreams of in life. It is about embarking on a journey without knowing how it will end. Isn’t this a universal of going on journeys and taking risks? Readers will become attached to the story and character and will immerse themselves in Miss Benson’s world.
This is a novel that has both humor and heart. I highly recommend it.