HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA
By: Hazel Prior
Published: June 16, 2020
While reading this book, I felt like it was the perfect mashup of three books I loved, A MAN CALLED OVE, ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE, and WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE. If you liked any or all of those books, then I highly recommend this book. It’s witty, smart, funny, heartwarming, and it has penguins which makes it a winner in my book. I mean, who doesn’t like penguins?
Octogenarian Veronica has accumulated quite a fortune over the years, but not too many friends. She has no one in her life to leave her fortune to except her housekeeper, Eileen, and she doesn’t even like her very much. Veronica doesn’t wallow much in her past but instead keeps her secrets close, literally and figuratively. She wears a locket that holds her past to her heart and she is hesitant to let anyone know about it. Until, one day, she has her housekeeper do some internet digging and Veronica learns she has a grandson, living not too far away. With dreams of reuniting and finding someone to leave her fortune, she sets off to meet him, unfortunately with unfavorable results.
Instead, she shifts her focus to documentaries on the Adelie penguins in Antarctica. She becomes immersed in their lives and realizes she may be just the person to save them from extinction. So, what does a wealthy 86-year-old woman do? Travels to Antarctica to save the penguins even though the scientists there have told her in no way, shape, or form should she come. But, no one has really ever denied Veronica what she wants….at least not since that day from her past.
When Veronica’s story unfolds, everything will make sense and you will want to hold her hand and help her dreams come true. Her story takes a while to unfurl, as well as the story of her grandson, Patrick. But, as their stories come together, you may just need to have a tissue close by.
Sometimes memories gather dust in the back crevices of your mind. Sometimes they hover over you like shadows. Sometimes they come after you with a club.Veronica ~ How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior
I appreciated the details of living in Antarctica and learning about the Adelie penguins. I have no doubt the extensive research Prior did to make sure all the information was accurate. But, she doesn’t bog down the story with scientific details, instead works them into her story through blog posts and Veronica’s experiences living with the scientists in Antarctica.
There is a lot of sadness in this novel, both past and present, for nearly every character in the novel. Each of them is dealing with a disappointment, a trauma, or a broken heart, yet they overcome and find a way to have joy. There is a hopeful tone to this story and it left me feeling happy and like I had just been hugged by my favorite person.
Tears come when you’ve been too strong for much too long.Terry ~ How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior
Hazel Prior is the author of ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER and AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS (UK title)/HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA (US title). She is also a freelance harpist. She lives in Exmoor, in England, with her husband and a huge, ginger cat. For more information, check out her website, HERE.
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