Wednesday 27 January 2021

Away with the Penguins - Hazel Prior

Veronica McCreedy is about to have the journey of a lifetime . . .

Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she's never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.

Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.

She can be found either collecting litter from the beach ('people who litter the countryside should be shot'), trying to locate her glasses ('someone must have moved them') or shouting instructions to her assistant, Eileen ('Eileen, door!').

Veronica doesn't have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway . . . And she has no idea where she's going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.

But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this. 

What did I think?

I discovered Away with the Penguins when it popped up on my Twitter feed one day and as soon as I saw the fabulous cover I didn't need any further encouragement to buy myself a copy.  I was so eager to read it that it jumped straight to the top of my reading queue and it's such compulsive reading that I devoured it within a period of 24 hours.

I absolutely loved the main character of mid-octogenarian Veronica McCreedy.  Veronica isn't exactly cuddly granny material but she's very strong willed, a little bit naughty and sharp as a tack.  From first appearances, some people might think that Veronica has been lucky in life; she lives in a mansion but she's all alone and has a heartbreaking backstory.  I loved reading the flashbacks to Veronica's childhood, living through World War II and the devastating effects of the war which made her into the woman she is today.

The storyline is absolutely perfect and I don't want to say too much in case I release any spoilers as it's such a wonderful story to experience first-hand for yourself.  It's impossible to put down once you start reading and there are some amazing characters, both human and penguin, that you can't help but take into your heart.  

Away with the Penguins is completely wonderful and incredibly heart-warming.  Delightfully quirky, extraordinarily charming and tremendously uplifting, Away with the Penguins is an absolute must read and well deserving of five shiny stars.

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