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Reviewed by Alysia George

Inspiration can come from the most unlikely sources, often when it is least expected. At times, inspiration may serve as an impetus for a positive, possibly long over-due, life alteration. So many people commonly shuffle through life, going through the motions and not really living fully. Then one day, something might come along – too often, a tragedy – that causes a person to think more clearly, to have an epiphany. The one thing that affects a certain person in this particular way, may be totally different from the one thing that does the same to someone else.

In Rachel Joyce’s debut novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, the one thing that serves as inspiration and impetus to change, for the main character, Harold Fry, is a letter from an old friend. Harold hasn’t heard from Queenie Hennessy in decades, yet when she writes to say that she is dying he is suddenly touched in a way that he hasn’t been in many years. On the spur of the moment, Harold decides to walk hundreds of miles to see his old friend, believing somehow that such a gesture will save her from succumbing to cancer. His walk takes on a life of its own, while helping Harold to re-connect with himself at a deeper level the further he walks. As he walks, he recalls parts of himself that he had long since forgotten. Demons of his past haunt him until there is no choice but to stop pretending they don’t exist. The further he walks, the more Harold is stripped down to his bare essence .

This book is nothing short of incredible. Harold’s journey at times feels Biblical, and never anything less than profound. The message is crystal clear. It is never too late to live a good life. Although tragedy inspires Harold to make a grand gesture which leads to him changing the course of his life, that doesn’t have to be the case. Anyone can make the decision, at any time, to start living a truly authentic and fulfilling life. Everyone should read this book.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Alysia lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and four children. She writes about family life, parenting issues, and other things of interest to her on her blog, Michigal.

Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Random House. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.a Rafflecopter giveaway