About The Book
It is 1950. In a devastating moment of clarity, Margery Benson abandons her dead-end job and advertises for an assistant to accompany her on an expedition. She is going to travel to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist.
Enid Pretty, in her unlikely pink travel suit, is not the companion Margery had in mind. And yet together they will be drawn into an adventure that will exceed every expectation. They will risk everything, break all the rules, and at the top of a red mountain, discover their best selves.
This is a story that is less about what can be found than the belief it might be found; it is an intoxicating adventure story but it is also about what it means to be a woman and a tender exploration of a friendship that defies all boundaries.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. After loving meeting Harold Fry I had a feeling that I would enjoy Miss Benson’s Beetle. I wasn’t prepared for how much. These characters made me laugh, cry and feel warm inside. This feeling started from the very beginning when Margery was listening to her father talk about the beetle when her life changed forever.
Margery and Enid have nothing in common initially. They don’t really argue, just don’t understand each other. But as their very long voyage across the oceans continue they start to get a little closer and become a little more tolerant of each other. Margery even starts to accept being called Marge. Whilst Margery is an open book, lonely, pragmatic and determined to find her beetle Enid is the opposite. A good time girl, but one who has a secret. Most of this secret is revealed in newspaper reports that appear at times throughout the novel. I admit, I did fear for her throughout the novel, hoping that she could stay safe. The way that Margery and Enid became close friends was lovely to read. When you could see how much they relied on each other and accepted that whilst they had little in common they had a true friendship.
Another more sinister character was always hovering in the background. Mundic, ex POW, aggrieved over being denied the job as Margery’s assistant has followed them to New Caledonia, determined to make her see her error. Damaged by his war experience, needy and increasingly erratic and you could almost see him fall apart. Because it is only five years after the war you get a real sense of his vulnerability and anger. It was difficult to dislike somebody who was so raw.
This book would be wonderful if made into a film or TV drama. Just thinking about who the actors could be added to my enjoyment of this novel.