Today I am thrilled to join the blog tour for Away With The Penguins by Hazel Prior.
Thanks to Anne Cater, Transworld Publishing and the author for a copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.
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. She is going on an intrepid journey – to save the penguins.
Last year I thoroughly enjoyed reading Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior. It was an extremely unique read and one of my favourite books from 2019. When I heard that the author had a new publication and that it featured penguins I was excited to find out more.
From the start, I loved the feisty octogenarian, Veronica McCreedy. Although she wasn’t always kind to her loyal housekeeper Eileen, I knew that she had a warm heart and determined spirit. A wooden box containing diaries and a locket has remained locked away for decades. Once opened they stir up some memories which Veronica has tried hard to forget. She begins to wonder what will happen to her vast wealth when she passes away and decides to grab the chance to go on an amazing adventure.
One of Veronica’s main pleasures in life is to watch tv wildlife documentaries, especially her particular favourite which is all about the life of penguins. When Veronica announces to Eileen that she intends to join the research party into the life of Adelie penguins in Antarctica, the housekeeper hopes it will soon be forgotten. However, this is Veronica McCreedy and nothing gets in her way once her mind is made up!
Despite warnings from the scientists about the harsh conditions Veronica arrives, promising a large donation to the research fund, once she has seen the penguins for herself. The book is expertly researched and the author is extremely knowledgable about these most endearing creatures and their conservation.
There are some incredibly poignant moments as we learn more about Veronica’s past and a grandson called Patrick enters Veronica’s life. There are both humorous and heartfelt moments in this quirky, informative read. I thoroughly enjoyed this beautifully written story which has such an important message behind it.
I honestly didn’t think Hazel Prior could top Ellie and the Harpmaker but she has produced another gem and I can’t wait to see what comes next from this talented author.
About The Author
HAZEL PRIOR lives on Exmoor with her husband and a huge ginger cat. As well as writing, she works as a freelance harpist.