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