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  • Published: 12 September 2023
  • ISBN: 9781529177237
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: $22.99

Maureen Fry and the Angel of the North

From the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The final novel in the Harold Fry trilogy, this is a heart-stopping story told from the view point of his wife Maureen as she takes her own journey and discovers how to reconnect with the world.

Ten years ago, Harold Fry set off on his epic journey on foot to save a friend. But the story doesn't end there.
Now his wife, Maureen, has her own pilgrimage to make.

Maureen Fry has settled into the quiet life she now shares with her husband Harold after his iconic walk across England. Now, ten years later, an unexpected message from the North disturbs her equilibrium again, and this time it is Maureen's turn to make her own journey.

But Maureen is not like Harold. She struggles to bond with strangers, and the landscape she crosses has changed radically. She has little sense of what she'll find at the end of the road. All she knows is that she must get there.

Maureen Fry and the Angel of the North is a deeply felt, lyrical novel, full of warmth and kindness. Short, exquisite, powerful: it is about love, loss, and how we come to terms with the past in order to understand ourselves and our lives a little better.

  • Published: 12 September 2023
  • ISBN: 9781529177237
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, The Music Shop and a collection of interlinked short stories, A Snow Garden & Other Stories. Her books have been translated into thirty-six languages and two are in development for film.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Rachel was awarded the Specsavers National Book Awards ‘New Writer of the Year’ in December 2012 and shortlisted for the ‘UK Author of the Year’ 2014.

Rachel has also written over twenty original afternoon plays and adaptations of the classics for BBC Radio 4, including all the Bronte novels. She moved to writing after a long career as an actor, performing leading roles for the RSC, the National Theatre and Cheek by Jowl.

She lives with her family in Gloucestershire.

Also by Rachel Joyce

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Praise for Maureen Fry and the Angel of the North

Rachel Joyce has a genius for creating the most damaged and difficult character and making us care deeply about their redemption. Maureen Fry and the Angel of the North is a powerful finale to her classic trilogy of heartbreak and healing.

Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures

This book is short but very special. As fans of Rachel Joyce might expect, it's funny, touching and quite beautiful. It's also packed with wisdom about love and loss - and is sure to provide comfort to anyone who's known grief.

Matt Cain, author of The Secreet Life of Albert Entwistle

Maureen Fry is wonderfully complex, flinty and closed and obsessive yet full of love and concern for others as she navigates her present and her past, carrying her terrible burdens of grief and guilt. Rachel Joyce is deeply attuned to the complex rhythms of life and love and she sublimates this understanding, sentence by delicate, powerful, glistening sentence into an unforgettable story. It's beautiful all through, but the closing chapters are just astonishing, transcendent and hope-filled and life-affirming. I'll never forget this wonderful novel or the sunny, slightly teary day I spent reading it.

Donal Ryan

At last it's Maureen's turn! It may only have the physical heft of a novella but Rachel Joyce's angry-sad latest packs the weight of a long marriage into the space of several well ironed handkerchiefs. Just brilliant.

Patrick Gale

Maureen is so beautifully and unflinchingly portrayed - a complex contradiction of brittle and prickly with an underbelly of fragility and fear. Her journey - both physical and psychological - is compelling and profoundly moving and leaves the reader feeling fully satisfied and just a little lighter.

Ruth Hogan

In this slender, lyrical novel, Rachel Joyce offers a story as epic and encompassing as that wide-armed angel of the North. A journey of redemption, forgiveness and love. A journey you don't want to miss.

Helen Paris, author of Lost Property

Rachel Joyce writes with incredible depth, beauty and heart. Reading her prose is like listening to great music - sometimes soft and sweet, sometimes heart-rending, always beguiling. This is an emotional story about loss, resilience and reconciliation. Maureen Fry is a prickly kind of star... but wow, how she shines!

Hazel Prior, author of Call of the Penguins

Beautifully written and endlessly touching, Rachel Joyce once again captures what it means to be human in the final book of her wonderful trilogy.

Phaedra Patrick

Maureen is the sort of person we pass in the street every day, every hour, and probably give little thought to. She is difficult perhaps, a little brittle, unable to engage successfully with the world, and maybe hard to warm to - an embattled figure often lost against the vast opera of life. But Rachel allows us to see into her complex universe, feel first-hand her fears, the profound longing, the grim phantoms of the past, the ordered rebelliousness, and strange, dark sense of humour - and of shame. This story also happens to tie three life-affirming, vital and unpredictable novels together into a perfect, never-ending dance..

Damian Dibben, author of The Colour Storm

This is a deceptively simple story of love, forgiveness, fulfilment and hope. I can't think of any other novelist quite as tender and compassionate as Rachel Joyce, who understands that miracle of transformation when human fragility becomes strength of spirit.

Bel Mooney

This is a fitting and deeply moving end to the trilogy of Harold Fry. A portrait of a woman adrift in grief, it is as fragile as a songbird and just as beautiful.

Sarah Winman

Profoundly moving and deeply human, this story of self-discovery and forgiveness is essential reading. I loved every word.

Bonnie Garmus

I adored Harold & Queenie, but who knew Maureen waited in the wings to steal my heart? A testament to just how exquisitely Rachel Joyce understands people, and written with kindness and such perception. I can't recommend it enough.

Joanna Cannon

A gorgeous read.

Anna Bonet, the i paper

A real treat ... A story about belonging and understanding.

Nina Pottell, Prima

I was enthralled from the first page of this short, powerful book. Maureen is a wonderful, frustrating character--so rigid, and so frightened of what she might learn about herself and her own past. We all have some Maureen inside us, and so the journey we take with her across England and into her own personal tumult is a satisfying, visceral one.

Ann Napolitano

Life-affirming. If you loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, make time to read this finale to the trilogy ... A touching tale about heartbreak and healing.

Good Housekeeping

A beautiful novella ... with compassion and tenderness ... the novel's conclusion is deeply moving and life-affirming.

Hannah Beckerman, Observer

This slim novella of barely 150 pages contains a world of emotion ... The kindness of strangers is Joyce's theme, as well as forgiveness and grief. No one writes difficult feelings better.

Wendy Holden, Daily Mail

Astonishingly powerful... Truly stunning

Ruth Jones

Exquisite and beautifully crafted

Ruth Jones, Daily Mail

Joyce is a fearless explorer of emotional landscape; Maureen's pilgrimage north becomes a moving account of healing and acceptance.

Patricia Nicol, Sunday Times

This short novel packs a big punch as Joyce paints an intimate portrait of fragility and grief, allowing us to experience unbearable pain but redemption too.

Vanessa Berridge, Daily Express

Fry fans will delight in this tale of a redemptive journey and the kindness of strangers. A new Joyce. Rejoice anew!

Saga magazine

So beautiful, moving and tender. Rachel Joyce is our own Elizabeth Strout.

Nina Stibbe

Joyce bestows tenderness and grace, revealing how forgiveness and a reckoning with the past can transform the present for the better.

Eithne Farry, Mail on Sunday

Very rarely, there is a writer who can touch the deepest and most hidden parts of the soul, by using the everyday matter of our daily lives to reveal the sacred that always surrounds us. This writer is Rachel Joyce, and her trilogy starting with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, then The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy and finally Maureen Fry and the Angel of the North does just that, as well as delighting by her assured story-telling. To read her work is to think at first you are being invited to a perfect and delicious afternoon tea - then realise that you are intimate communion with what it means to be human: to suffer, to love, and to be understood. There is beauty, and the reason for art.

Laline Paul