Hazel Prior: Away With The Penguins

Blurb:

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.

Review:

Away With The Penguins is not something I would usually be drawn to, but some lovely blogger friends told me I would love it and they were absolutely right! From the quotation on the first page before the story even begins, I was captivated by the author’s wonderful imagination.

The story is narrated alternately by Veronica and Patrick. It is obvious from the first time we meet them (together and as individuals) that they have flaws, but their back stories have been so well plotted and their characters so well constructed that after a while, I found it impossible not to look beyond my first impressions. This also applies to some of the supporting characters. I was rooting for them all throughout the novel.

Apart from a project that I did in primary school, I know absolutely nothing about Antarctica, nor the penguins that live there. Prior has researched this subject incredibly thoroughly and I was fascinated to learn new things about the birds, in a way that was accessible and complemented the overall tone of the story.

Although Away With The Penguins is ultimately heartwarming, Prior does examine some tough issues. However, she does so with great sensitivity which gives the novel a huge emotional impact.

Away With The Penguins is available from Amazon.

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