Away With The Penguins took me on such a journey, a winter adventure that I never knew I needed!
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Black Swan – Penguin Books
Format I read it in: Paperback
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.
“There are three types of people in this world, Very. There are those who make the world worse, those who make no difference and those who make the world better. Be one who makes the world better, if you can.”
I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to read Away With The Penguins. I knew I wanted to read it during the winter season, though, and I am glad I did. The scenes of Antarctica and the stories about the penguins, especially out penguin Pip (Patrick) made me glad to be wrapped in a warm blanket.
Veronica is such a funny character!
I warmed up to her instantly, and I think if she were to ever team up with the gang from “The Thursday Murder Club”, she’s be a remarkable addition to the team. I loved how opening an old box and ready her old diary set her on a few new adventures that changed her life. It was interesting also having Patrick’s point of view in the book – Veronica’s grandson. There was an incredible contrast of lifestyles and personalities between him and granny. It created a realistic atmosphere and opened up a mystery I enjoyed reading so much.
Antarctica was beautifully described and when Veronica was there with the scientist, I could almost feel as if I was there with them too. With Veronica’s arrival, it was interesting to see how the scientists accepted her arrival and got used to her as time went on, but weren’t too keen at first. Their dynamic changed and Hazel wrote this amazingly. Away With The Penguins took me on such a journey, a winter adventure that I never knew I needed! There was a lot of raw emotion, the guilt of time lost, of the things that never happened, of the life that just keeps on going and the years pass on by.
I couldn’t help by feel the loss that Veronica felt, reading about her part, and seeing how it intertwined with her present. It was incredible, though, her stubbornness to keep fighting and try to do good in the world. Her resilience. Alongside her, I loved watching Patrick grow as a person too – his journey was also not very easy. But together, these two polar opposites (pun intended) found each other when they needed a companion the most. The messages this book sends are powerful; about the penguins, the extinction of other animals, saving the planet. But also about love, life, joy, being brave and being one of those people that tries to make the world a better place. Avery warm recommendation from me!
About The Author:
Hazel Prior is the author of ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER and Richard & Judy Book Club number one bestseller AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS (UK title)/HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA (US title). Her third book, CALL OF THE PENGUINS, will be out in the UK this November and is available to pre-order. Hazel is also a freelance harpist. She lives in Exmoor, in England, with her husband and a huge, ginger cat.