The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel

Rachael Joyce, Random House, 2013

This novel set in England is the story of a man who lived an unremarkable life. Harold and his wife Maureen had established a life and a routine which did not include exchange of warmth and affection.

Early in his retirement he received a letter which changed his life and his routine. It was a letter which told him that Queenie was near death in a nursing home in the north of England. Harold lived in the south of England. Queenie and Harold had both been employed by a company whose boss was a tyrant.

He wrote a letter to Queenie and went out the door of his home to post the letter. On the way to post the letter he met a young woman who told him how an act of kindness had given life to her grandmother. This conversation led him to think he had to do more than post a letter. He knew he had to visit Queenie.

This is a remarkable story about the meaning of a personal pilgrimage and what one can discover on a pilgrimage. Our reading group read this and had excellent conversation about it.

—Bernie Turner, retired pastor, McMinnville, OR