My book review of 'Miss Benson's Beetle' by Rachel Joyce

Miss Benson's Beetle

by Rachel Joyce
Miss Benson's Beetle
by Rachel Joyce

It's 1950 and spinster, Margery Benson decides now is the time to leave her dead-end job and travel to the other side of the world to discover a beetle that may or may not exist.

She advertises for an assistant and, after meeting three singularly inappropriate candidates, she finds that she has engaged Enid Pretty, a rather unusual character who bears her own regrets and secrets.

Together they embark on their epic journey, by sea and land, to a distant rainforest where Margery hopes to find this elusive golden beetle.

They are an unlikely pair but, as they battle the challenges of their quest, they forge a powerful bond.

It's a magical, comical and touching tale.

A story of adventure and discovery, friendship and kindness, with plenty of attractive, quirky characters.

The account of a lone female searching to log and document insects reminds me of Elizabeth Gilbert's 'The Signature of All Things', and I find it a fascinating concept for a story.

While this is a larger canvas than is normally associated with a Rachel Joyce novel, it still presents a distinctly feel-good factor in believing in the inherent good in all of us and the power of friendship.

Review date: April 2020
Publication date: 23rd July 2020