From the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry comes a novel about two women on a life-changing adventure, where they must risk everything, break all the rules, and discover their best selves—together.
Unlike Joyce’s previous books, this wild women’s adventure story is exciting, moving and full of unexpected turns. There’s nothing twee about big, brave Marge as she changes from her sad old self into the kind of legendary female who can beat up baddies, drive a stolen truck through the night and turn her hand to some gory jungle surgery. Enid’s journey is similarly captivating as she strives to overcome a history of abuse and abandonment ... By the time the story reaches its breathtaking final act, there’s no doubt that Joyce has hit her stride. These are characters you cannot help falling in love with, and the wider social setting of postwar England is beautifully done ... Surely this is the one that will propel the intrepid Joyce off the long and shortlists into prizewinning territory.
... starts out in black and white and then opens up into glorious Technicolor ... feels larger than Joyce’s other books — more expansive, swashbuckling, a wild adventure. It is the best so far of her novels, and the most inspiring ... At the heart of the story is the slow, unlikely friendship that builds between the two women and how that friendship enables them both to grow stronger, more capable and more self-reliant. And if this sounds hokey, well, it’s not. It’s thrilling ... There are delightful flashes of humor in this novel they fight, they bicker, they betray each other. Secrets and hurt from their past threaten to jeopardize their present. Joyce is excellent at depicting their pain and revealing their failings, and she has no qualms about repeatedly placing her characters in harm’s way ... The ending is not pat, nor fully happy. But it is hopeful. There is resilience, there is redemption, and there is beauty — great beauty. In Technicolor.
... an excellent premise, and one that pans out almost as heartwarmingly as you’d expect, but with some powerful, moving and sometimes violent surprises en route ... While the journey of self-discovery may be predictable, Miss Benson’s Beetle is a joy of a novel, with real insight into the lives of women, the value of friendship and the lasting effects of war.