Monday, June 22, 2020

Book Review | HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA by Hazel Prior

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How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior
Publication: June 16, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: ★★★★


A heartwarming story about a curmudgeonly but charming old woman, her estranged grandson, and a colony of penguins that proves it's never too late to be the person you want to be...and that family is what you make it.

After a disastrous first meeting with the grandson she never knew she had, eighty-four-year-old Veronica McCreedy wants to find a worthwhile cause to endow with her millions. Although she has health, wealth, and wit, Veronica has been alone for a long time, her only connection to her past a box of diaries from when she was a teenager during WWII...and a locket filled with a strand of hair from every person she has ever loved and lost.

After learning about a research team studying endangered penguins in Antarctica, Veronica tells the scientists she's coming for a visit--and won't take no for an answer. Despite a discouraging first experience (a penguin attacks her favorite designer handbag), Veronica warms to the birds. She even convinces the team to rescue an orphaned baby penguin who swiftly becomes part of life at the base. Veronica's closed heart starts to open.

But when she becomes ill, her grandson Patrick comes to Antarctica for one last attempt to get to know his grandmother. Together, Veronica and Patrick--and even the scientists--begin to really learn what family, love, and connection are truly all about.


This is a moving and inspiring read. Life has not been kind to Veronica. Having endured all those losses, I am in awe of her resilience and strength to move on. It is no wonder she turned into a grumpy old lady, carrying all those bottled pain.

HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA presented different themes, and I want to focus on two of the most significant: opening back to love and ecological preservation. They said that the journey to love is a journey to one's self. And that is true in any form of love. For Veronica, it took a locked-box, a locket, and a colony of Penguins to remind her where love is. And any heart will melt for Penguins. The number of threats to these adorable creatures is one of the major concerns for our planet at present. I am glad the author chose to echo this SOS.

Those Penguins, cute as they are, are not the only charming feature in this book. I like how Ms. Prior fleshed her characters out. The story unfolds beautifully as she gradually smoothed out the edges of the characters. These too-good-to-be-true characters are exactly what our societies need to reflect on right now. We need accommodating people who are always ready to listen -people like Terry, Gavin, and Eileen. I like them.

I believe this book fits nicely into the emerging genre called Coming-Of-Old Age. I highly suggest them. Please do give them a try. There’s plenty to glean from these kinds of stories.


About the Author:
Hazel Prior is a harpist based in Exmoor, England. Originally from Oxford, she fell in love with the harp as a student and now performs regularly. She’s had short stories published in literary magazines and has won numerous writing competitions in the UK. Ellie and the Harpmaker was her first novel.





*Thanks to Berkley and Edelweiss for the advance review copy in exchange for this unbiased review.

*This post is a part of the monthly linkups organized by Lovely Audiobooks! You can click here to check it out and be a part of it.

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