Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Review 'Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce

Hi web word watchers,

We have a little story to tell, of a 'Pilgrimage' and what can be achieved in life even in quite a seemingly insignificant way.

Around New Year I was given an advance reading copy (proof) of a new book by a brand new first time published author, these copies don't have the fancy artwork and often don't have much info about the book, as to some extent they are still looking for errors and plans are still being made.

So it is tricky to gauge what to expect or even what you think real customers/readers will get.

The book was..superb! I loved it and so did Vicky and Deb, which meant all three of us were telling folks and starting to take advance orders, we asked the publishers for an author visit, but there was a hitch.
The author lives 'way down south' and the book has a unique angle, it follows a journey up from Devon to Scotland on the A5 and doesn't come near Formby, let alone the NW, so we didn't seem likely.

But as in the book things are 'Unlikely' and Alison Barrow at Transworld, having heard how much of a buzz we were creating decided to make a detour from the 'Official PR Route' and bring Rachel Joyce to visit us.

We are a small Independent shop and seemingly would be lucky to sell 20 to maybe 50 books if we have an author visit, so there was some trepidation. However the end result was that we helped the book achieve unprecedented success, it reached Number Six in the National Charts and we sold 120 copies. So Rachel was overwhelmed with her support in Formby. We even had special T-Shirts made and I signed up for the Facebook Page and was 'Pilgrim 123'.

What about the book?

A serious 10/10 and so says all who have read it.

We had one customer so moved by it she bought Ten copies as gifts and we still have just a few signed ones left if anyone is quick to get in touch, we sell it for £10 and can do P&P for £2 in UK.

'Harold Fry is an unassuming retired gent in a suit pottering when he receives harrowing news from an old colleague, someone he hasn't kept in touch with but did share an unlikely alliance with and yet he doesn't know how to react. He has a sheltered life and relatively no contact with any social worlds real or otherwise.
We start to find out about his home life and then something happens in his head, he decides to make a special journey, a 'pilgrimage' as it becomes to save the life of Queenie, his long lost workmate. She is dying alone in a hospice in Scotland (Berwick). He sets out as quickly as he can to cover 700 miles and see her and lift her spirits, even save her as he says. However taking the route of a major A road and travelling by foot in flat shoes, one does wonder will he make it anywhere before getting run over or being taken to hospital himself with terminal blisters and sunburn.
 He encounters all sorts of strange and interesting folk on the way and the book just grows as you read it.
Rachel has managed to capture society and social media and bring an important message into her perfectly plotted and supremely well written novel. She is a poignant and prosaic writer who doesn't take too long to tell you things and has characters that are so realistic and events that are so believable. This is a worthy competitor for prize's and will be heralded as a classic in years to come. I defy anyone not to enjoy this simple, funny and sad tale of discovery, endurance and belief. Something for Everyone and not a dry eye will be had...trust me read this book and agree!'

now some images!

Tony and DM Vicky with two of the three T Shirts

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