How the Penguins Saved Veronica
A curmudgeonly but charming old woman, her estranged grandson, and a colony of penguins proves it's never too late to be the person you want to be in this rich, heartwarming story from the acclaimed author of Ellie and the Harpmaker.Eighty-five-year-old Veronica McCreedy is estranged from her family and wants to find a worthwhile cause to leave her fortune to. When she sees a documentary about penguins being studied in Antarctica, she tells the scientists she’s coming to visit—and won’t take no for an answer. Shortly after arriving, she convinces the reluctant team to rescue an orphaned baby penguin. He becomes part of life at the base, and Veronica's closed heart starts to open. Her grandson, Patrick, comes to Antarctica to make one last attempt to get to know his grandmother. Together, Veronica, Patrick, and even the scientists learn what family, love, and connection are all about.

How the Penguins Saved Veronica Details

TitleHow the Penguins Saved Veronica
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 16th, 2020
PublisherBerkley
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Humor

How the Penguins Saved Veronica Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    If, like me, you adore penguins, then Hazel Prior's moving and hopeful novel will be the perfect read, it has oodles of charm which had me dissolving into a gooey puddle with its joyous penguins and one special baby penguin in particular that manages to knit together the humans that take care of him. 86 year old Veronica McCreedy is a very wealthy woman living in a coastal mansion, The Ballahays, in Ayrshire. She has been lonely and alone for a long time, with no family, divorced from a serial If, like me, you adore penguins, then Hazel Prior's moving and hopeful novel will be the perfect read, it has oodles of charm which had me dissolving into a gooey puddle with its joyous penguins and one special baby penguin in particular that manages to knit together the humans that take care of him. 86 year old Veronica McCreedy is a very wealthy woman living in a coastal mansion, The Ballahays, in Ayrshire. She has been lonely and alone for a long time, with no family, divorced from a serial philanderer, her only human contact with Eileen who comes in to clean and do what is necessary. Veronica is contemplating her life and what do with her money, when a grandson is unearthed, Patrick, living in Bolton. Patrick's life has fallen apart, his girlfriend, Lynette, has left him for a racist brickie, leaving him gobsmacked, having to move, and financially poorer. However, Veronica's disappointment in Patrick knows no bounds when they encounter each other.Veronica has very little truck with the modern world of pointless, vacuous celebrities, she is stubborn, determined, and seeking a mission to do good. Her one interest is wildlife documentaries, finding herself getting caught up with Robert Saddlebow's 'The Plight of Penguins', specifically the need to research the Adelie penguins of Locket Island in the Antarctic. A locket has a strong personal resonance for her, and she contacts the tiny 3 person team on the island, promising funding and requires them to provide living accommodation for 3 weeks. She takes absolutely no notice of their frantic efforts to dissuade her, for like the penguins, Veronica is feisty, persistent, and an unstoppable force of nature. Veronica in her youth was full of life, with a big heart, but losing her parents in WW2 at the tender age of 14, the loss of her baby, and her marriage drained her faith in people.Cracks in her facade begin to appear as she connects with Terry with her penguin blog, and Pip, the baby penguin she saves, and perhaps, just perhaps, she has misjudged her weed smoking grandson, Patrick? Prior's writes a pitch perfect story with a central protagonist, Veronica, who will tug at your heartstrings, in a narrative where we learn of her past traumas during WW2 through the journal she gives Patrick. As she begins to question her harsh judgement of Patrick, and he gets to know his grandmother through her wartime years journal, their relationship with each other grows stronger, cemented by Pip, the other penguins and the lovely Terry. A gloriously quirky and life affirming story of hope that I cannot see anyone being able to resist, after all, who does not love penguins??? Many thanks to Random House Transworld for an ARC.
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  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    If, like me, you adore penguins, then Hazel Prior's moving and hopeful novel will be the perfect read, it has oodles of charm which had me dissolving into a gooey puddle with its joyous penguins and one special baby penguin in particular that manages to knit together the humans that take care of him. 86 year old Veronica McCreedy is a very wealthy woman living in a coastal mansion, The Ballahays, in Ayrshire. She has been lonely and alone for a long time, with no family, divorced from a serial If, like me, you adore penguins, then Hazel Prior's moving and hopeful novel will be the perfect read, it has oodles of charm which had me dissolving into a gooey puddle with its joyous penguins and one special baby penguin in particular that manages to knit together the humans that take care of him. 86 year old Veronica McCreedy is a very wealthy woman living in a coastal mansion, The Ballahays, in Ayrshire. She has been lonely and alone for a long time, with no family, divorced from a serial philanderer, her only human contact with Eileen who comes in to clean and do what is necessary. Veronica is contemplating her life and what do with her money, when a grandson is unearthed, Patrick, living in Bolton. Patrick's life has fallen apart, his girlfriend, Lynette, has left him for a racist brickie, leaving him gobsmacked, having to move, and financially poorer. However, Veronica's disappointment in Patrick knows no bounds when they encounter each other.Veronica has very little truck with the modern world of pointless, vacuous celebrities, she is stubborn, determined, and seeking a mission to do good. Her one interest is wildlife documentaries, finding herself getting caught up with Robert Saddlebow's 'The Plight of Penguins', specifically the need to research the Adelie penguins of Locket Island in the Antarctic. A locket has a strong personal resonance for her, and she contacts the tiny 3 person team on the island, promising funding and requires them to provide living accommodation for 3 weeks. She takes absolutely no notice of their frantic efforts to dissuade her, for like the penguins, Veronica is feisty, persistent, and an unstoppable force of nature. Veronica in her youth was full of life, with a big heart, but losing her parents in WW2 at the tender age of 14, the loss of her baby, and her marriage drained her faith in people. Cracks in her facade begin to appear as she connects with Terry with her penguin blog, and Pip, the baby penguin she saves, and perhaps, just perhaps, she has misjudged her weed smoking grandson, Patrick? Prior writes a pitch perfect story with a central protagonist, Veronica, who will tug at your heartstrings, in a narrative where we learn of her past traumas during WW2 through the journal she gives Patrick. As she begins to question her harsh judgement of Patrick, and he gets to know his grandmother through her wartime years journal, their relationship with each other grows stronger, cemented by Pip, the other penguins and the lovely Terry. A gloriously quirky and life affirming story of hope that I cannot see anyone being able to resist, after all, who does not love penguins??? Many thanks to Random House Transworld for an ARC.
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  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    Veronica McCreedy had reached "mid-octogenarian status". She lived in Ayrshire, Scotland in her mansion by the sea. Irregardless of the weather, she took a daily walk along the rugged Ayrshire coast, having a "particular liking for rocks, waves, and wilderness...[the] landscape empty of human beings". At age fifteen, ..."all my dreams evaporated into thin air...Life is now a trail of insignificant events..." "Human company is necessary at times, I admit, but it is almost irksome in one way or Veronica McCreedy had reached "mid-octogenarian status". She lived in Ayrshire, Scotland in her mansion by the sea. Irregardless of the weather, she took a daily walk along the rugged Ayrshire coast, having a "particular liking for rocks, waves, and wilderness...[the] landscape empty of human beings". At age fifteen, ..."all my dreams evaporated into thin air...Life is now a trail of insignificant events..." "Human company is necessary at times, I admit, but it is almost irksome in one way or another."Eileen, Veronica's housekeeper, found Veronica to be sarcastic, a bit deaf, perhaps losing her marbles as she wrote remainders to herself in brown pencil on her bathroom mirror. Veronica insists that all doors be closed upon entering or exiting a room. "Eileen. Door." She tasks Eileen with the job of an Internet search to "unearth documentation regarding long-lost relatives." Upon meeting her newly discovered grandson Patrick, she thinks, "How is it possible that this disgraceful, smeary, drug-befuddled creature could be my own grandson?" Patrick meanwhile thinks, "She is stiff, stuffy, formal...I seem to have ended up with a curmudgeon of a granny."Veronica enjoyed watching wildlife documentaries on the telly. She had become quite taken with the documentary series "The Plight of Penguins" as presented by host Robert Saddlebow, a conservationist raising awareness of the plight of the eighteen species of penguin, many endangered. Veronica was fascinated by an episode featuring Amelie penguins and the three scientists living on Locket Island, South Shetlands, Antarctica Peninsula. The scientists documented and recorded the behavior and migratory patterns of the Amelies. Terry's Blog, often accompanied by photos, was a very informative addition to their research. "Much of a penguin's life is spent at sea. Under water, they are real masters of movement. They swoop, soar and perform incredible acrobatics. They can stay underwater for fifteen minutes without a breath..." Veronica writes herself a note on the bathroom mirror "...a locket, an island, somebody called Adele and...and penguins?..." "I must try to do something before it is too late...something with my life...a mission...that inspires me...not just something with my money...".Veronica was bound and determined to fund the penguin project on Locket Island, but, only after a three week visit to Antarctica to assess the validity of the project. "...I want to examine each of [the penguin's] expressions and try to work out their characters, their reason d'etre. I am seized by a desire to be close to them". The three person scientific team was exasperated, at first, with Veronica's unannounced appearance.Life changes are on the frigid, beautiful horizon for Veronica, the scientists and a special penguin named "Pip". Armed now with knowledge gleaned from old diaries, grandson Patrick and Granny V might just connect with each other after all.This reader is at a loss in trying to describe the overpowering feelings and emotions generated by "Away With the Penguins" by Hazel Prior. This work of fiction covered topics such as World War II, adoption, conservation, climate change, and opening your heart after unspeakable sorrow. Author Prior has written a "gem" that will continue to stay with me. This is my favorite read of 2020. It is an uplifting tome I highly recommend.Thank you Transworld Digital, Bantam Press and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "Away With the Penguins".
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    At first glance, this is not the type of book I usually read but I love penguins so took a chance and I'm so glad I did. The main character is just wonderful and the plot a delightful surprise. Veronica McCreedy is a stubborn, curmudgeonly old woman living in Ayrshire. After a difficult upbringing in Britain during the war and then a childless marriage and divorce to a philanderer, she has kept to herself and made a lot of money but few friends. Although she has recently discovered a grandson At first glance, this is not the type of book I usually read but I love penguins so took a chance and I'm so glad I did. The main character is just wonderful and the plot a delightful surprise. Veronica McCreedy is a stubborn, curmudgeonly old woman living in Ayrshire. After a difficult upbringing in Britain during the war and then a childless marriage and divorce to a philanderer, she has kept to herself and made a lot of money but few friends. Although she has recently discovered a grandson called Patrick that she didn't know about, their first meeting didn't go well. She enjoys wild-life documentaries and is so taken with a series on penguins that she decides she needs to get up close to them to learn more about them. This is a very enjoyable, charming story, alternates between Patrick's and Veronica's points of views. Veronica is one of those prickly characters who sneaks up on you until you find yourself cheering her on. Patrick may seem like a lost young man drifting through life, but there is so much more to discover about him as well. With a little bit of romance, gentle humour and an environmental message, this is definitely one for the penguin lovers out there and for those who enjoy a heartwarming, feel-good tale.With many thanks to Random House, Transworld Publishers and Netgalley for a copy to read.
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    This is a delightful gem of a book that will take its place high on my favourite list. Its author, Hazel Prior, writes with great compassion and deep insight into the human heart, especially its good and kind parts, or into places within human nature that are redeemable. I loved the characters and the setting, and its adorable description of the penguins. There were sections that made me cry, but also ones that had me laughing out loud, and it was also thought-provoking. As a work of fiction it This is a delightful gem of a book that will take its place high on my favourite list. It’s author, Hazel Prior, writes with great compassion and deep insight into the human heart, especially its good and kind parts, or into places within human nature that are redeemable. I loved the characters and the setting, and its adorable description of the penguins. There were sections that made me cry, but also ones that had me laughing out loud, and it was also thought-provoking. As a work of fiction it might be far fetched, but was also entirely believable. In our worlds’ present state the story seemed surreal. It was set in a time where people were carrying out their daily lives, going to work and travelling. It seems so long ago. Veronica is approaching her 86th birthday. She is cantankerous and feisty. She lives alone in an old seaside mansion. A caregiver, Eileen, comes in to clean and do whatever is necessary. There is a gardener who keeps the grounds in splendid shape. Veronica has been friendless most of her life and has no known living relatives. She spends very days doing crosswords, reading, watching documentaries on TV, and picking up litter outside. She is very wealthy and contemplating what will happen to her vast riches when she dies. She becomes entranced by a documentary describing research on Adelie penguins by a three-person team on Locket Island in Antarctica. She has a locket that connects with her past, is enchanted with the films of the adorable penguins, and the name of the island she believes is a sign. Veronica asks her caregiver to do research on a computer gadget to investigate her family tree. Much to her astonishment, she discovers that she has an unknown adult grandson, Patrick. She orders Eileen to use her technical knowledge on the computer thingy to locate him and send an email to arrange a meeting. Her grandson’s life is in free fall. His successful girlfriend has left him for a muscled, racist labourer, forcing him to move out of her fine apartment. He now is living in a messy, cheap room which he can’t be bothered to clean. He is dishevelled, on welfare while working one day a week in a friend’s shop repairing bicycles. He has no incentive to improve his life. His meeting with Veronica is a disaster. He is nervous and regards her as a cold, harsh and judgmental. She is far from the jolly granny he was hoping to meet. Veronica is appalled by Patrick’s lifestyle. She considers him as a dope-smoking degenerate, lazy, filthy and lacking ambition. After watching a further show on the plight of the penguins and reading blogs by Terry, one of the three scientists at the underfunded research station on Locket Island, she is even more enthralled by the penguins and their antics. She makes it her goal to save them with her wealth. But first, Eileen must communicate with the Antarctic base and make them an offer for funding. This offer is contingent on them permitting her to visit for three weeks. She is determined to see the adorable penguins herself and to decide if their project is worth funding. The scientists send frantic emails through Eileen to dissuade the 86 year old woman from visiting such a remote and desolate place with almost uninhabitable base. Despite her bribe of millions of dollars they have no time for her or suitable accommodations and are concerned for her safety and health. Veronica is a stubborn, unstoppable force and is determined to have her own way. Eileen contacts Patrick who is intimidated by Veronica's abrupt and feisty personality. They realize they can do nothing to stop her risky and unwanted visit. Eileen reluctantly takes Veronica to the airport for her departure. Veronica has packed suitable cold-weather gear, three designer purses, her medication and makeup bag. Although she despises looking in mirrors at her wrinkly old face, she always paints her lips a bright red and applies eyebrow pencil and powder. Her makeup skills will play an important and surprising role in a scheme she devises later in the story. Patrick shows up at the airport. He is worried about the wellbeing of his newly found granny but silently admires her adventuresome spirit. Veronica, after a lifetime of disappointment and loss which has broken her spirit, has learned to always expect the worst from people. She feels Patrick is only after her money. She looks forward to the excitement of actually seeing a colony of penguins. Does Veronica achieve her goal? If so, how do the scientists react to her unwanted and disruptive presence? What about Patrick? Can he clean up his act and find true love and a mission in life? Highly recommended for anyone who likes penguins, people, or both. This life-affirming story shows that is never too late to change ones’ perspective and behaviour. I am also glad it was set in an era where social mingling and travel were possible for Veronica and others. Such a wonderful book!
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    Eighty-five-year-old Veronica McCreedy had no one in her life, until she decided to set the right authorities on a search. Veronica lived in an old mansion called The Ballahays, in Ayrshire, was quite wealthy and had no idea who she would leave her considerable fortune to. Shed had a harsh childhood in the war years, and not all her memories were fond ones. But when a grandson was discovered, a young man by the name of Patrick, Veronica decided to meet him. Patrick lived in Bolton, and when she Eighty-five-year-old Veronica McCreedy had no one in her life, until she decided to set the right authorities on a search. Veronica lived in an old mansion called The Ballahays, in Ayrshire, was quite wealthy and had no idea who she would leave her considerable fortune to. She’d had a harsh childhood in the war years, and not all her memories were fond ones. But when a grandson was discovered, a young man by the name of Patrick, Veronica decided to meet him. Patrick lived in Bolton, and when she arrived, he obviously hadn’t expected her. Veronica was nonplussed and her opinion of her grandson was low. Veronica was stubborn, a person who was determined to always have her own way. So when she decided to go to Locket Island in the Antarctic, she wouldn’t be dissuaded by the scientists on site. She wanted to meet the Adelie penguins and nothing would stop her. The programs on TV had sparked her interest; her love of wildlife and the outdoors cemented it. What would happen when she arrived at Locket Island and met Mike, Terry and Dietrich? And the loveable, delightful Pip?Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior was a delightful read. I really enjoyed the setting of Locket Island, meeting the penguins and watching as they grew from babies through to teenagers. Veronica was a spritely, spirited and prickly old dear who grew on me until I was cheering her on. An entertaining read, Away with the Penguins is one I recommend.With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    this title is literally the best thing ever| Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram
  • Marianne
    January 1, 1970
    Away With The Penguins (also titled How The Penguins Saved Veronica) is the second novel by British harpist and author, Hazel Prior. When home help, Eileen Turner brings forth from Veronica McCreedys back room a padlocked wooden box, she unwittingly sets in motion a series of events no seer could have predicted. On seeing the box, Veronica (please call me Mrs McCreedy) is taken back some seventy years, not that she has any intention of divulging the private contents to a very curious Eileen. But Away With The Penguins (also titled How The Penguins Saved Veronica) is the second novel by British harpist and author, Hazel Prior. When home help, Eileen Turner brings forth from Veronica McCreedy’s back room a padlocked wooden box, she unwittingly sets in motion a series of events no seer could have predicted. On seeing the box, Veronica (please call me Mrs McCreedy) is taken back some seventy years, not that she has any intention of divulging the private contents to a very curious Eileen. But internet-savvy Eileen is useful for finding someone to investigate the possible existence of as-yet-unknown family. After all, Veronica is almost eighty-six, and has to consider the dispersion of her considerable wealth after she departs this life. Not that there’s any sign of that happening: Veronica is hale and healthy, with an excellent memory, she continues to assure everyone (even if they know otherwise): “My memory is faultless. I can recall dozens of lines of Hamlet from my schooldays.”When those enquiries bear some not-at-all-satisfactory fruit, Veronica looks elsewhere for a beneficiary to her estate. Environmentalist Robert Saddlebow’s latest program, The Plight of Penguins, directs her focus onto the poorly funded researchers of Adélie Penguins on Locket Island, Antarctica, but she needs to check for herself that they are worthy of her largesse. Eileen dutifully arranges flights and ferries.Meanwhile in Bolton, twenty-six-year-old Patrick is virtually unemployed (save Mondays at the bike shop), has just broken up with his girlfriend, and been evicted from their flat, when a letter drops into his mail box. Apparently, he has a grandmother, but she’s not the sweet, cuddly, baking-type granny he’d hoped would soothe his broken heart. This old woman is stern and steely, cantankerous, and he quickly realises he hasn’t made a good first impression (he’d been consoling himself about the break-up by smoking a joint). Later encounters are little better, but he realises he would like to know more about the family he never knew.Patrick is surprised when Granny V entrusts him with a (clearly significant) relic from her past. And when he hears she’s away with the penguins, he wonders how the scientists at the field centre are coping with an eighty-six-year-old who’s spicy as a vindaloo and stubborn as a wild goat.This is a charming tale about a somewhat reclusive old woman whose past has broken her trust in humanity. It takes a harsh climate and a flock of fascinating arctic birds to break down her resistance. It’s perhaps a little predictable and what happens in the Antarctic does require a degree of suspension of disbelief, but it’s still a delightful, feel-good read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Random House UK.
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  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    January 1, 1970
    Away With the Penguins is a charming tale of family, second chances, and well...penguins, from Hazel Prior.I must try to do something before its too late. Not just something with my money but something with my life, whatever dregs are left of it.Veronica McCreedy is a brusque, eccentric, and wealthy old woman who lives alone in a large house on the south west coast of Scotland, with only her daily, Eileen, and a part-time gardener for company. One evening her favourite television programme is Away With the Penguins is a charming tale of family, second chances, and well...penguins, from Hazel Prior.“I must try to do something before it’s too late. Not just something with my money but something with my life, whatever dregs are left of it.”Veronica McCreedy is a brusque, eccentric, and wealthy old woman who lives alone in a large house on the south west coast of Scotland, with only her ‘daily’, Eileen, and a part-time gardener for company. One evening her favourite television programme is replaced with a documentary about penguins, and inspired, Veronica makes an extraordinary decision that will change her life.The story primarily unfolds from the point of view of Veronica, and her estranged grandson Patrick. Prior’s character development is skilful crafted, initially neither of the protagonists are particularly likeable, but as their pasts are revealed, and the story progresses, they become much more appealing characters.Veronica’s adventures in Antarctica are delightful and poignant. The scientific team of Locket Island are rather horrified to have an octogenarian in their midst, but Veronica is unconcerned, and is determined to rise to the challenge, handbag on her arm.Patrick is a bit of a loser, essentially unemployed and recently single, his first (second and third) contact with ‘Granny V’ does not go well, but he eventually redeems himself.Unsurprising, Away With the Penguins includes strong messages about environmental issues, such as pollution, wildlife conversation and climate change, and of course, the importance of penguin research. I delighted in learning more about penguins, and the Adelie penguins in particular. Pip, the penguin chick that Veronica adopts, is an adorable element of the story.An entertaining and uplifting story, Away With the Penguins is a lovely read, I finished the last page with a smile on my face, and hope in my heart.
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  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Visit the locations in the novel First of all a warning there is a cute overload of penguins. At the same time, this novel is very poignant and may end up with you shedding a tear or two.Veronica has to be one of the funniest, misunderstood and charming characters in fiction. I warned to her wit and moans about life immediately. Snippets include mutterings about how people who throw litter on the beach should be shot for example. Dont drink orange juice when reading unless you want it coming Visit the locations in the novel First of all a warning – there is a cute overload of penguins. At the same time, this novel is very poignant and may end up with you shedding a tear or two.Veronica has to be one of the funniest, misunderstood and charming characters in fiction. I warned to her wit and moans about life immediately. Snippets include mutterings about how people who throw litter on the beach should be shot for example. Don’t drink orange juice when reading unless you want it coming down your nose. Veronica is one of those women who people might find odd, call her an old bat etc but she’s the fountain of all knowledge, full of wisdom and love, but just very lonely.Come Away with the Penguins to Antarctica and Hazel PriorVeronica could teach us all a thing or two about love, loss, life and everything in between. There’s an environmental message, one about the importance of caring for others, animals included. What I found refreshing is that Veronica is the kind of person that has to get stuff done and she is often called bossy or forceful by others.So, when the whole world is against you, or if just feels that way, Veronica wants to do something and so goes to Antarctica to save the penguins. It’s whether she saves them or they save her that is the question. She’s on a very personal quest here and it’s ;lovely to read about her internal journey and the one she takes to the coldest place on earth.Despite the cold in the outside setting, there is so much warmth and hugable moments in this book that I was surprised to find the antarctic ice inside and on the cover hadn’t melted and that there wasn’t a puddle underneath it.
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  • Nen & Jen
    January 1, 1970
    I wasnt entirely sure that I would enjoy this story. Cantankerous old ladies arent usually the characters I connect with but I requested this as I had previously loved Hazel Priors debut novel Ellie and the Harp Maker and hoped that this story would have the same hopeful, character-driven plot. I was not disappointed.Veronica McCreedy was a hard character to crack. From the beginning she was utterly unlikeable, unnecessarily feisty and inconsiderate. That said, she wore me down. Like sandpaper I wasn’t entirely sure that I would enjoy this story. Cantankerous old ladies aren’t usually the characters I connect with but I requested this as I had previously loved Hazel Prior’s debut novel Ellie and the Harp Maker and hoped that this story would have the same hopeful, character-driven plot. I was not disappointed.Veronica McCreedy was a hard character to crack. From the beginning she was utterly unlikeable, unnecessarily feisty and inconsiderate. That said, she wore me down. Like sandpaper on a stone. This book is not what I’d consider a breezy, comfortable reading experience that could blissfully fill up a lazy Sunday afternoon. Not at all. Instead, I spent my time chipping away at this book over a month. In the beginning I could only get through a few chapters at a time before Veronica got on my nerves and drove me away.But after I reached the middle of the book…. something magical happened. Although Veronica didn’t quite change and was as unrelentingly grumpy and pushy as ever, she started to make more sense. Gifted with a view of her younger years, read through the POV of her estranged grandson, Veronica’s reluctance to make connections with others, compromise or apologise for her strength of personality were no longer annoying. Rather they were a badge of honour signifying her inner strength and growth. After surviving a difficult past, her strength and conviction to be her own person (screw anybody else) became a trait that I no longer disliked but rather… admired. What a difference some perspective can make!Despite all of this, Prior’s writing was strong, sure and beautifully done. The Antarctic wilderness and penguin colonies came to life and made me wish I was the adventurous sort. If a stubborn octogenarian can survive a holiday there – why can’t I?The aspect that brought my rating down from a 4-Star to a 3.5-Star was the clumsiness in the change between POVs. Often the POV would change with little-to-no warning and I was caught off-guard. It made the reading experience more cumbersome than needed and this story would have benefitted from clear headings outlining the changes in POV. That said, I received an ARC copy so the formatting could change.3.5 Stars.*ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • ftnrsnn
    January 1, 1970
    Im quite indecisive at first whether to pick this book or not, afraid not going to like it since the blurb not quite appealing. The mellowing of a grumpy old lady isn't exactly a fun idea to invest my time into, but thanks to a funny tone and some clever narrative, I ended up loving it. If you find the synopsis from UK edition is not so convincing, please dont dodge it straight away. Try to look for the US Edition; How the Penguins Saved Veronica. That one sounds more promising and I’m quite indecisive at first whether to pick this book or not, afraid not going to like it since the blurb not quite appealing. The mellowing of a grumpy old lady isn't exactly a fun idea to invest my time into, but thanks to a funny tone and some clever narrative, I ended up loving it. If you find the synopsis from UK edition is not so convincing, please don’t dodge it straight away. Try to look for the US Edition; How the Penguins Saved Veronica. That one sounds more promising and straightforward in reflecting what to expect from this book. 86 year-old Veronica McCreedy is a very wealthy old lady, living in a big mansion by the sea. Having reached the mid-octogenarian status, she spends most of her day isolating from the outside world, enjoying a good life documentary while sipping her favorite Darjeeling tea. She is aware of the fact that she’s alone and has no relative, but when an old wooden box from the past resurfaces back into her life, it demands her to seek for one final answer. That path has brought Veronica to her long-lost grandson and her journey to Antarctica to save the penguins.I think it’s uncommon to have favorite chapters when you’re reading a lengthy novel, but I can clearly remember what Chapter 35 (my favorite chapter) is all about. It is so heart-wrenching to go through that chapter without bursting into tears.This book featuring mental illness topic that involves trauma and its effects. Although it’s not pointed out directly towards it, but what I can learn from Veronica’s story is how suppressing the feeling is never done any good to people suffering it, in fact it will thwart you from living your life. (I can relate to that!) Being in touch with your feeling and acknowledging the pain will make you a better person for you’re able to be authentic. (And I’m still learning to do this!) Veronica’s past was tragic, but afraid not because you will experience penguin's love along the way. I love how the author chooses to highlight not only the urgency of the climate crisis that accelerating species extinction, but the opportunity we still have to seize the solutions right in front of us and turn things around. The execution of this book was brilliantly well done. All the facts about the penguins that being included clearly show that the author really did her research thoroughly. Trust me, all the facts in here are really informative and not the type of boring facts that will ship you to zzz land. I think this book is already out the moment my review is up. I’m not trying to hard sell this book, but I think you’re going to enjoy it. Recommended!INSTAGRAM | TWITTER
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  • Jenn Webley
    January 1, 1970
    A delightful read that will tug on heart strings. I didnt know what to expect at all but I was surprised by how emotional the book made me. We are presented with such an interesting and completely unique character in Veronica. It took me a little while to get accustomed to her eccentricity; she is your typical cantankerous old woman who is determined and wont let anything get in the way. Everything starts with the rediscovery of old diaries, from this we learn the sentimental, special story of A delightful read that will tug on heart strings. I didn’t know what to expect at all but I was surprised by how emotional the book made me. We are presented with such an interesting and completely unique character in Veronica. It took me a little while to get accustomed to her eccentricity; she is your typical cantankerous old woman who is determined and won’t let anything get in the way. Everything starts with the rediscovery of old diaries, from this we learn the sentimental, special story of Veronica and learn what made her become the stoic lady she is. We learn of the losses she has endured, the hard times that she has lived through and was hardened by. I think this really cements our love for her and makes her journey to discovering friends and family even better. Veronica stumbles upon a TV programme about penguins, and after learning about those who want to save them she starts to look at her own life and the lack of relationships within it. Veronica discovers a grandson, Patrick, who at first meeting is not interested in her and she most definitely is not impressed by him especially after he learns of her wealth. When we meet Patrick he doesn’t have much going for him, he doesn’t like people and doesn’t seem bothered by that. I admit I was not at all fond of him at all. His boring life trundles on as we see Veronica’s head in a very interesting direction. Veronica decides that she will leave her money to those researchers looking out for the penguins but first she will be going to stay with them, and of course this isn’t a request. I loved the penguins. I’ve always quite liked them but now I think I’m a bit in love. How clever of this author to raise awareness through her work. This book is so well written, very engaging and I read this very quickly because I felt so involved with their adventures. A very charming read that I recommend wholeheartedly.
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  • marlin1
    January 1, 1970
    Veronica McCreedy is a lonely and quite misunderstood woman, who despite great wealth only has her cleaning lady Eileen for company.After watching a documentary on penguins, she decides that it is her mission to help save them and on another whim she decides to find a long lost family member. I did find some of the story line a bit far fetched, for example the seemly way of ease Veronica ended up with the research group but some how all the characters just snuck up on you, so in the end you just Veronica McCreedy is a lonely and quite misunderstood woman, who despite great wealth only has her cleaning lady Eileen for company.After watching a documentary on penguins, she decides that it is her mission to help save them and on another whim she decides to find a long lost family member. I did find some of the story line a bit far fetched, for example the seemly way of ease Veronica ended up with the research group but some how all the characters just snuck up on you, so in the end you just wanted everything to work out.Really, it was a delightful story that swept me away gently.Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy to read.
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  • Kate Grace
    January 1, 1970
    This quirky, smart & heartfelt story was a joy to lose myself in for a few days. I loved the characters voices - from the resilient and reluctantly loveable 86-year-old Veronica, to the passionate penguin scientist and blogger Terry. Thank you to Hazel Prior, Berkley (Penguin Random House) and Goodreads Giveaways for my copy. This quirky, smart & heartfelt story was a joy to lose myself in for a few days. I loved the characters’ voices - from the resilient and reluctantly loveable 86-year-old Veronica, to the passionate penguin scientist and blogger Terry. Thank you to Hazel Prior, Berkley (Penguin Random House) and Goodreads Giveaways for my copy.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you @annecater14 for inviting me on the tour and providing me with a copy of Away With The Penguins by Hazel Prior.Away With The Penguins features the spunky and brave Victoria. Victoria is 85 but just fine, thank you very much. When she sets her mind to something, she works until she gets it, and what she wants is to save the penguins. Not content to just send her money to a conservationist group, she arranges a three week trip to Antarctica herself, not taking no for an answer.Before she Thank you @annecater14 for inviting me on the tour and providing me with a copy of Away With The Penguins by Hazel Prior.Away With The Penguins features the spunky and brave Victoria. Victoria is 85 but just fine, thank you very much. When she sets her mind to something, she works until she gets it, and what she wants is to save the penguins. Not content to just send her money to a conservationist group, she arranges a three week trip to Antarctica herself, not taking no for an answer.Before she embarks on her journey, Victoria finds her estranged grandson and hands over her diary for safe keeping. Parts of the novel are also set in the past where we learn exactly how brave and strong Victoria really is!Away With The Penguins was such a lovely book. Heartwarming, sad, and definitely makes you want to spend a few weeks amongst the penguins!!!
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  • Jeanie
    January 1, 1970
    NetGalleyMember ReviewAway with the Penguinsby Hazel PriorPub Date: 19 Mar 2020Review byjeanie m, ReviewerLast updated on 22 Feb 2020My Recommendation With thanks to random house UK and netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest review.Well this is not my normal reading material but I was delighted to read it I've never laughed so much Veronica is one amazing lady so full on at times I was totally captivated and exhausted by the works of her brain and her love of Penguins was just so NetGalleyMember ReviewAway with the Penguinsby Hazel PriorPub Date: 19 Mar 2020Review byjeanie m, ReviewerLast updated on 22 Feb 2020My Recommendation With thanks to random house UK and netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest review.Well this is not my normal reading material but I was delighted to read it I've never laughed so much Veronica is one amazing lady so full on at times I was totally captivated and exhausted by the works of her brain and her love of Penguins was just so bizarre and sweet. I loved every minute of this fabulous books.
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  • Susan Hampson
    January 1, 1970
    Veronica's mind, at nearly 86, isn't what it use to be but she constantly assures herself that it is as sharp as it ever was. She lives in a rambling mansion and is extremely comfortable but she knows that she must start to make provisions of what will happen to her fortune after she dies. When she sees a random message on her mirror made with the colour of lipstick that she always carries with her, it intrigues her. Just one-word, Penguins. Then seeing a documentary with the renowned Robert Veronica's mind, at nearly 86, isn't what it use to be but she constantly assures herself that it is as sharp as it ever was. She lives in a rambling mansion and is extremely comfortable but she knows that she must start to make provisions of what will happen to her fortune after she dies. When she sees a random message on her mirror made with the colour of lipstick that she always carries with her, it intrigues her. Just one-word, Penguins. Then seeing a documentary with the renowned Robert Saddleworth about the demise of the penguins in Antarctica she feels she must do something about it. Of course, it isn't the first time she has had this thought.Veronica asks her assistant Eileen to look into how to find long lost family members in a last attempt to discover if she has any living relatives anywhere to leave her fortune to and a door opens for her that she had never thought possible.Oh wow! just wow! I have been blown away with this story, from first meeting grumpy old Veronica to the gutsy lady that I found out about through the pages. Her past, her family and tragic war years, the terrible things that were taken from her control and the love she had known. Veronica's life had been moulded from a young girl with cruelness but this lady would melt faster than any global warming could produce while she was away with the penguins.There aren't many characters in the story to remember, each group belonging to a certain era. There is one thing for sure, it is never too late to change. I laughed at so many chapters with a lady that knew all the tricks in the book of how to get her own way. Being old does have its benefits when you know how to play a situation. I am bursting with the characters and story that I really hope you go on to read as it gave me that feeling in my tummy of going over a bridge. I have whooped and cheered. Just fabulous!I wish to thank the publisher for inviting me to read and review this book through NetGalley via an e-copy, which I have reviewed honestly.
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  • Louise
    January 1, 1970
    From the start, I loved the feisty octogenarian, Veronica McCreedy. Although she wasnt 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 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.
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  • Dani
    January 1, 1970
    Charming and uplifting, a sweet story about lifes challenges and human foibles, and how nature can inspire us to redemption. Charming and uplifting, a sweet story about life’s challenges and human foibles, and how nature can inspire us to redemption.
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  • SS
    January 1, 1970
    4 1/2 starsI will start this review by saying that theres great advice in this book, at least from my perspective, for dealing with our current Coronavirus situation. Here are a few quotes: Being alone is supposed to be an issue for people such as me, but I have to say I find it deeply satisfying. Human company is necessary at times, I admit, but it is almost irksome in one way or another. Because at this moment there IS pain, intense and merciless. It seeps in and out of my bodys pores, claws 4 1/2 starsI will start this review by saying that there’s great advice in this book, at least from my perspective, for dealing with our current Coronavirus situation. Here are a few quotes: Being alone is supposed to be an issue for people such as me, but I have to say I find it deeply satisfying. Human company is necessary at times, I admit, but it is almost irksome in one way or another. Because at this moment there IS pain, intense and merciless. It seeps in and out of my body’s pores, claws at my lungs and sears into every pocket of my heart like burning acid. Grief’s a weird animal at the best of times. It’s even weirder when you think it’s a dead certainty (pardon the pun), but then it disappears only to come hurtling right back at you. It’s like this bungee jump of emotions. You get jolted all over the place. It gives you this sick feeling in your stomach, makes you jittery and wobbly, plays havoc with your sleep patterns. While the book has absolutely nothing to do with a pandemic, it’s almost as if the author knew what was coming and inserted bits to comfort and provoke thought. It did for me, anyway. How the Penguins Saved Veronica is a sweet tale of a cantankerous 86 year old woman, Veronica, who decides that she must and will go to Antarctica to visit the penguins . . . and she does. It’s wonderful to see the changes that occur to her and to the scientists with whom she stays on Locket Island.Veronica is really something. While she’s wealthy, money doesn’t make up for the very difficult and hurt-filled life she’s led. The years of unacknowledged pain have led Veronica to become hard and unforgiving of others, unwilling to tolerate in others any bit of variance from her wishes and desires.Eileen, who helps her tend Veronica's large house, bears the brunt of Veronica’s disapproval, but she does so with kindness and concern. She’s also always looking for gossip, always curious to know everything and anything about Veronica’s past. She doesn’t push much to find out, she’s just curious. She’s also willing to go out of her way to assist Veronica, and in that capacity, she facilitates Veronica’s trip to the penguin research center on Locket Island.Once there, Veronica finds one scientist who doesn’t like her/resents her, one who is cordial but not welcoming, and one who is kind and instructive. It’s interesting to watch how their attitudes change toward Veronica over her weeks’ long visit. As we get to know Veronica, both in Scotland and in Antarctica, she finds and meets a grandson that she didn’t know existed. She’s not impressed with the young man she meets, but time might just change that as well.This book wasn’t what I expected. I assumed, wrongly, that this would be a funny, keep ‘em laughing tale. To some extent, it is, but it also provoked so much more. It’s a bittersweet story of a young girl whose happiness is stolen from her over and over and over again. Lucky we readers who get to watch her as an elderly woman slowly gain it back.The book does start off slowly, with a rather unpleasant Veronica, but stick with it. You’ll find that there’s a wonderful story and a woman who is so much better than you might have guessed at first meeting.The book is filled with droll, dry humor but slowly transforms into a warm, heart-touching story. It’s full of surprises and comfort, making it a perfect read for the times in which we currently live, or any other time.I won an advance reader's copy of this book in a Goodread's giveaway. I thank them, the author, and the publisher for their generosity, but it had no impact on this review. All opinions in this review reflect my true and honest reactions to reading this book.
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  • Agi
    January 1, 1970
    Veronica McCreedy is 86, wealthy, living in a mansion in Ayrshire. She's divorced and except for Eileen, her housekeeper, she has no - one. But she loves her Darjeeling tea, hates doors being left open and adores wildlife documentaries on TV. She has built a wall around herself but now, contemplating her life and wondering what to do with her money, she discovers there is a grandson, Patrick, living in Bolton. But as the first contact is rather disappointing, Veronica sets her mind on saving Veronica McCreedy is 86, wealthy, living in a mansion in Ayrshire. She's divorced and except for Eileen, her housekeeper, she has no - one. But she loves her Darjeeling tea, hates doors being left open and adores wildlife documentaries on TV. She has built a wall around herself but now, contemplating her life and wondering what to do with her money, she discovers there is a grandson, Patrick, living in Bolton. But as the first contact is rather disappointing, Veronica sets her mind on saving penguins and travel to Antarctica. But who is going to save whom? Veronica penguins or penguins Veronica?I wanted to read this book so much not because - like so many of the other reviewers - of the penguins, though I must admit that it was also a very catchy angle, and if you think that the penguins are used as a metaphor or something, well, no, there are cute penguins overload, and I think it's a brilliant idea! - so yes, maybe because of the penguins as well, but I also loved Hazel's debut novel. I actually rated it with 5 stars, so am not sure what to do with this book as I enjoyed it even more than "Ellie and the Harpmaker". The story is told through Veronica and Patrick's points of view, and the characters slowly but steadily grew on me, especially Patrick that, I must admit, probably misjudged a bit. Veronica was a brilliant character, a woman who really knew what she wanted. She was feisty, determined, persistent and actually very stubborn but in a way that was not so obvious. I mean, it was obvious that she's stubborn, and she always got what she wanted, but she accomplished those things with a lot of charm. Oh well, OK then, she did whatever it took to get ahead but she didn't hurt anybody, even if she took no notice of others' opinions. It was simply somehow funny.Throughout the story we also learn about Veronica's past and see what it was that shaped her and made her the person she is now - lonely and harsh in judging. But she used to be so full of life and joy, and it was heart - breaking to see what has happened to her. However, deep down I always thought that she was always a good person at heart, it was life that simply stopped her believing in people, and she proved me right, giving the relationship with Patrick a chance, with the little help of Pip the penguin and the lovely Terry. It's very easy to make assumptions about Patrick, just like Veronica, and me too, but if you give him a chance, you'll see there is so much more to him that meets the eye.The writing style is so easy and chatty, and I liked it even better than in the first book - it simply seemed gentler and was so pleasant, as if the author has found her real voice this time, or felt more confident. It is vivid and warm, bringing the places and characters to life. The story is so well researched, the hard work that author put into it is evident and it paid off, as I truly enjoyed every single word and the descriptions of Antarctica, the conditions and the penguins were exquisite.You actually don't have to love penguins to adore this novel. This whole story oozes with charm and warmth and it was a lovely, warm and uplifting book about celebrating life and second chances, about love and loss and life altogether. It's full of humour, but it is also poignant, so be prepared that you may shed a tear or two. There is also an environmental message in the book that I, as an animal lover, enjoyed very much, and I was truly quickly sold on Veronica because of her approach to animals. It is, without a doubt, one of the most delightful and cheerful and clever books I have read in a long time. Highly recommended!Copy provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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  • Caroline Kerdouci
    January 1, 1970
    Away with the Penguins is a charming and uplifting read that is food for the soul. Apart from simply loving the title (as well as being recommended by author Clare Mackintosh) the themes of this novel will resonate with many.85 year old Veronica McCreedy is our heroine of this tale and lives alone, quite cantankerous, loves her Darjeeling tea and abhors doors being left open. I could immediately sense that beyond her rather gruff exterior lay the true Veronica and that there were events in her Away with the Penguins is a charming and uplifting read that is food for the soul. Apart from simply loving the title (as well as being recommended by author Clare Mackintosh) the themes of this novel will resonate with many.85 year old Veronica McCreedy is our heroine of this tale and lives alone, quite cantankerous, loves her Darjeeling tea and abhors doors being left open. I could immediately sense that beyond her rather gruff exterior lay the true Veronica and that there were events in her past that would reveal reasons for distancing herself from the rest of the world, mistrustful of others. I fell in love with this character very quickly recognising similar traits in myself. Over the years she’s built a wall around herself to prevent any further heartache but as the storyline unfolds it’s evident that it’s never too late to change. Discovering she has a grandson Patrick and watching a tv wildlife documentary about the plight of penguins proves to be life changing for Veronica. She’s determined to finally make a mark on this world and help save the species.Written in an easy style, from the perspective of Veronica and Patrick, this a gentle yet captivating read about love and loss and friendship and reconnecting with our fellow human beings through nature. Who would realise that you can learn so much from penguins, least of all Veronica? She is a wily character as well as adventurous, slightly eccentric and of a hardy disposition who finds herself on a trip of a lifetime to the fictional Locket island, home to the Adelie penguins. I loved the author’s use of penguins, and one in particular, as a metaphor for all that Veronica has encountered and lost in life, which we learn about through the voice of Patrick, reading her long ago written journals. At the same time the author is conveying a timely and topical message about climate change and how humans are continuing to destroy the natural world.It’s easy to make assumptions about Patrick, as does Veronica, but the further you’re drawn into the storyline the more you realise he has plenty of redeeming qualities and that maybe he too hasn’t had the easiest of times. Perhaps Patrick and Veronica have more in common than either of them initially thought. It’s hard to decide which are my favourite parts of this novel but if I had to it would probably be those revealing Veronica’s life as a young girl. Plus we all need someone like Granny Veronica in our lives!All the characters including the scientists examining penguin life and Eileen, Veronica’s long suffering carer are likeable and have something to offer Veronica,coaxing her out of her carefully constructed shell.There is much humour in this novel too and the writing throughout is suffused with warmth and compassion. Away with the Penguins might be a tale to melt even the hardest of hearts (excuse the pun!) and I highly recommend.My thanks as always to the publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Emma Shaw
    January 1, 1970
    Oh how I loved this absolute gem of a book. Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, it had me transfixed. I got lost in the pages and totally immersed in Veronicas story. Veronica McCreedy is an eccentric, feisty, cantankerous, witty and unstoppable old lady. I just couldnt help but love her and she quickly found a place in my heart. Her bad-tempered idiosyncrasies became endearing and I was sure she had a heart of gold hidden behind it all. When a locked wooden box containing her teenage diaries Oh how I loved this absolute gem of a book. Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, it had me transfixed. I got lost in the pages and totally immersed in Veronica’s story. Veronica McCreedy is an eccentric, feisty, cantankerous, witty and unstoppable old lady. I just couldn’t help but love her and she quickly found a place in my heart. Her bad-tempered idiosyncrasies became endearing and I was sure she had a heart of gold hidden behind it all. When a locked wooden box containing her teenage diaries is found, Veronica’s poignant story is slowly unveiled and we finally learn what lies underneath those brusque layers she uses to protect herself. Running parallel to Veronica’s story is her daring adventure to Antarctica to see the Adélie penguins. She became obsessed with them after watching a nature programme and decided she wanted to leave her vast wealth to the research programme. But she needs to make sure they are worthy of it, so she books a trip to see the penguins for herself; refusing to heed to frantic warnings of her assistant Eileen and the trio of scientists that it is too dangerous. I adored this part of the story - the different sides we see to Veronica's personality, her blossoming friendship with young scientist Terry, and the adorable rescued chick, Pip. I found myself in awe of Eileen’s spriteliness and determination, overcoming her age and the bracing conditions to have the adventure of a lifetime. But behind the cuteness of this storyline is a serious commentary on climate change and our responsibility to save the environment and a number of earth’s most beloved species that are facing extinction in the near future. It is peppered with blog posts by Terry which are informative as well as entertaining. The author has clearly done her research and I know a lot more about climate change and penguins after reading this book. The story is narrated by two very distinct voices and is filled with a rich, colourful and fascinating cast of characters. The cutest of these is without a doubt little Pip, and I now blame the author for the fact I really want a pet penguin! The investment, hard work and love that the author has put into this book is evident in the exquisite writing and attention to detail. I savoured every word, devouring this book while also trying to make it last as I dreaded parting with Veronica and the penguins.Away with the Penguins is without a doubt the most delightful, joyous and uplifting book I’ve read so far this year, if not in a long time, and I have no doubt it will have a place in my top reads of the year. A lush blend of characters and storylines that is immersive and reaches into your soul and serves as a great reminder that it is never too late to have an adventure, try new things or make changes in your life. Whatever your reading preferences, I highly recommend this book. Just make sure to have lots of tissues and be prepared to fall in love.
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  • Emma Shaw
    January 1, 1970
    Oh how I loved this absolute gem of a book. Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, it had me transfixed. I got lost in the pages and totally immersed in Veronicas story. Veronica McCreedy is an eccentric, feisty, cantankerous, witty and unstoppable old lady. I just couldnt help but love her and she quickly found a place in my heart. Her bad-tempered idiosyncrasies became endearing and I was sure she had a heart of gold hidden behind it all. When a locked wooden box containing her teenage diaries Oh how I loved this absolute gem of a book. Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, it had me transfixed. I got lost in the pages and totally immersed in Veronica’s story. Veronica McCreedy is an eccentric, feisty, cantankerous, witty and unstoppable old lady. I just couldn’t help but love her and she quickly found a place in my heart. Her bad-tempered idiosyncrasies became endearing and I was sure she had a heart of gold hidden behind it all. When a locked wooden box containing her teenage diaries is found, Veronica’s poignant story is slowly unveiled and we finally learn what lies underneath those brusque layers she uses to protect herself. Running parallel to Veronica’s story is her daring adventure to Antarctica to see the Adélie penguins. She became obsessed with them after watching a nature programme and decided she wanted to leave her vast wealth to the research programme. But she needs to make sure they are worthy of it, so she books a trip to see the penguins for herself; refusing to heed to frantic warnings of her assistant Eileen and the trio of scientists that it is too dangerous. I adored this part of the story - the different sides we see to Veronica's personality, her blossoming friendship with young scientist Terry, and the adorable rescued chick, Pip. I found myself in awe of Eileen’s spriteliness and determination, overcoming her age and the bracing conditions to have the adventure of a lifetime. But behind the cuteness of this storyline is a serious commentary on climate change and our responsibility to save the environment and a number of earth’s most beloved species that are facing extinction in the near future. It is peppered with blog posts by Terry which are informative as well as entertaining. The author has clearly done her research and I know a lot more about climate change and penguins after reading this book. The story is narrated by two very distinct voices and is filled with a rich, colourful and fascinating cast of characters. The cutest of these is without a doubt little Pip, and I now blame the author for the fact I really want a pet penguin! The investment, hard work and love that the author has put into this book is evident in the exquisite writing and attention to detail. I savoured every word, devouring this book while also trying to make it last as I dreaded parting with Veronica and the penguins.Away with the Penguins is without a doubt the most delightful, joyous and uplifting book I’ve read so far this year, if not in a long time, and I have no doubt it will have a place in my top reads of the year. A lush blend of characters and storylines that is immersive and reaches into your soul and serves as a great reminder that it is never too late to have an adventure, try new things or make changes in your life. Whatever your reading preferences, I highly recommend this book. Just make sure to have lots of tissues and be prepared to fall in love.Thank you to Bantam Press and Netgalley.
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  • Ruth
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley and penguin random house for a pre publication copy. In return for an honest review! #awaywiththepenguins #netgalleyVeronica McCreedy is an 86 year old millionaire who lives in Ayrshire, Scotland. She has no known family or friends but spends her day watching wildlife programmes and talking to her housekeeper, certainly not her carer, Eileen. Until one day her wildlife programme is not on and instead has been replaced with a Robert Saddlebow programme on penguins. This Thank you to Netgalley and penguin random house for a pre publication copy. In return for an honest review! #awaywiththepenguins #netgalleyVeronica McCreedy is an 86 year old millionaire who lives in Ayrshire, Scotland. She has no known family or friends but spends her day watching wildlife programmes and talking to her housekeeper, certainly not her carer, Eileen. Until one day her wildlife programme is not on and instead has been replaced with a Robert Saddlebow programme on penguins. This programme changes Veronica's life in her personal life and family life. Will she be able to make a once in a lifetime trip to Antarica? and Is she really alone with no living relatives?Penguin random house came to me, based on my other reviews, to see if I would be able to review this book. After reading the description i felt i would try it out. Something i certainly don't regret. Once opening the book it is a page turner. You are also learning something about each character or have a cliff hanger making you want to know more. I read this book in 48 hours. Any spare time i had i felt myself wanting to pick this book up.I love how delicately the author has put this book together merging romance, womens fiction, non fiction and historical fiction together. Making a fabulously holistic book. That makes you cry, laugh and give empathy to all the characters. This book is a great cosy read and you never feel that you are missing anything from the story line allowing you to follow it through until the end with confidence.Although their are some emotional subjects included in this book such as parents death WW2, adoption, drugs, climate change and teenage pregnancies. I do not feel this takes away from the cosy feel of the book and actually adda to much to Veronicas character. without her past diaries where a lot of the emotional subjects are i feel that the book would leave you and veronicas character lacking dimenson. Therefore it is a much needed part of the story.Looking through goodreads i have noted that this book may have started life with the title "How the peguins saved Veronica." I feel this author made a good editing decision to change it to rhe current title which leaves more for the story to tell. Otherwise the ending is pretty much shown in the title. Great decision.Furthermore this appears to be Hazel's second book. Wow for a author to ooze so much confidence through their writing Hazel is very talented. As well as being able to merge so many genres into one and doing it so well. The author and publisher should be very proud.I would love a sequel to this finding out how Veronicas new life and thoughts carry her through her octogenarian years, how patrick and Terry get on and of course the Penguins. As well as to follow Daisy and family further hopefully to remission.One last thing I would love Hazel to get facebook so i can interact with her and look out for any book signings further up the South West. Maybe she may even do a video for us.
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  • Elite Group
    January 1, 1970
    An unexpected delight! Imagine a feisty 86 year old widow with an iron will but unaware that she is starting to lose her short-term memory, and living alone in a large old house in Scotland. She has more prickles than a saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert and more fortifications around her heart than the vaults at Fort Knox. Meet Veronica McCreedy. From watching a TV series on penguins she develops a fixation about Adelie Penguins and sees, in the ongoing research into their demise, a deserving An unexpected delight! Imagine a feisty 86 year old widow with an iron will but unaware that she is starting to lose her short-term memory, and living alone in a large old house in Scotland. She has more prickles than a saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert and more fortifications around her heart than the vaults at Fort Knox. Meet Veronica McCreedy. From watching a TV series on penguins she develops a fixation about Adelie Penguins and sees, in the ongoing research into their demise, a deserving recipient for her, not-inconsiderable, fortune after her death. However, at the same time she uncovers the existence of a grandson she never even knew existed; her only living relative and also a contender, she hopes, for her inheritance. She tracks him down and is horrified to find a down-and-out weed-smoking, bad-mannered and uncouth young man completely lacking in social skills. Penguins 1, grandson nil. She determines instead to travel to a very small island on the edge of Antarctica where the penguin research centre is situated and, being the unstoppable force of nature that she is, even at her age, she brooks no argument from her long-suffering daily, Eileen, and the horrified researchers living in less-than-luxurious accommodation on the island. She refuses to be put off. And so starts Veronica’s amazing odyssey to Locket Island where she falls head over heels in love with the penguin colony. This unlikely story of Veronica can be compared to those presents one is given at Christmas or on birthdays, which when unwrapped reveal layer upon layer of wrapping paper, with more layers underneath, until eventually one gets to the actual gift. As the story progresses, more and more details of Veronica’s life emerge through the clever use of flash-backs, not always in date order, from her less-than-happy childhood through to her solitary life in Scotland, where the past is securely locked away in her heart. Intertwined with her story, we get to know the three penguin researchers and more about the grandson and his life and, of course, we meet the stars of the show, the penguins, whose daily life can be compared to a soap opera … This was a delightful read, full of surprises, well written and well worth its four stars. I can recommend it. Bennie Bookworm. The Elite Reviewing Group received a copy of the book to review.
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  • Eshita
    January 1, 1970
    When I first got into this novel, I was deeply put off by Veronica, our main character. In fact, I pretty much disliked her until the end. I didn't like the grandson, Patrick, either. All the same, I felt invested in the characters and read through. I'm glad I did! It doesn't fully "pick up" until the middle of the book, but once it did, I was rooting for everyone. The penguins did truly save Veronica, and Patrick, and many other characters in the book. It was rather heartwarming to see some of When I first got into this novel, I was deeply put off by Veronica, our main character. In fact, I pretty much disliked her until the end. I didn't like the grandson, Patrick, either. All the same, I felt invested in the characters and read through. I'm glad I did! It doesn't fully "pick up" until the middle of the book, but once it did, I was rooting for everyone. The penguins did truly save Veronica, and Patrick, and many other characters in the book. It was rather heartwarming to see some of the walls come down around both main characters, and sort of see how they grew as people. And quite frankly, I think I disliked the characters more than I typically would because they reminded me of myself in some way. In any case, the read was quick and generally well paced. I enjoyed hearing about the penguins and imagining a life in Antarctica. I think most all, I enjoyed the moral behind the novel. It makes you think of your own family and your own footprint on this Earth. While I wouldn't call it utterly inspiring, it does sort of nudge you in the direction of "make your mark on the world." I particularly loved how the author showed Veronica "succumbing" to her old age in terms of her actions and references to memory. I thought it made the novel a little bit more realistic, and a little close to home. It shows that despite what you think of yourself, it's hard to truly trust your own brain or body as you age. Which is actually quite sad, but pretty true to life. It made the read tug a bit more at your heartstrings, than if this detail wasn't added. Overall, well written and quite enjoyable! As I read this while in a coronavirus shelter-in-place, I think it made me appreciate people a whole lot more than I would have typically.
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  • Jane Hunt
    January 1, 1970
    I was drawn to this book initially because my son has always loved penguins. This story has so much to recommend it.The star of the show is, Veronica McCreedy, a virtual recluse, who feels at 85 years she still hasn't made her mark on the world and has lots to offer. She dislikes how she looks because inside she is vibrant and young. Her life is steeped in tragedy, which has contributed to her current reclusive state.Patrick is at a particularly low ebb in his life, and he becomes introverted I was drawn to this book initially because my son has always loved penguins. This story has so much to recommend it.The star of the show is, Veronica McCreedy, a virtual recluse, who feels at 85 years she still hasn't made her mark on the world and has lots to offer. She dislikes how she looks because inside she is vibrant and young. Her life is steeped in tragedy, which has contributed to her current reclusive state.Patrick is at a particularly low ebb in his life, and he becomes introverted and prickly with others. The story unfolds from Veronica and Patrick's viewpoints, as they get to know each other. Through journals, we learn of Veronica's past life and find it has some similarities with Patrick's. Then there is a great adventure, which proves more significant than the geographical miles travelled.The characters are believable and for the most part lovely. Everyone has their flaws but its this humanity that makes them relatable. Veronica's relationship with Patrick and the people she encounters on her journey of self-discovery are humorous, poignant and uplifting.The plot flows and the storytelling is engaging. The conservation message is implicit in Veronica's quest for the penguins, Like so much in life, Veronica's life is enriched as she works tirelessly in helping the penguins and Patrick. This is an original, story which entertains, informs and motivates, It gives hope to those of us, firmly on the wrong side of fifty, that we are still important, and can make a difference.I received a copy of this book from Random House UK - Transworld Books in return for an honest review.
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  • Gail
    January 1, 1970
    I had no idea what to expect when I started this book. This author had a unique style of exposing the underlying complexities of the characters. She made me want to learn more about them. This is a very enjoyable look at relationships, love, and loss. Veronica is an interesting octogenarian who on first meeting appears to be very cranky and unhappy. There are also fears voiced by her caregiver that she may be experiencing some dementia. She lives in a mansion in Scotland. She becomes very I had no idea what to expect when I started this book. This author had a unique style of exposing the underlying complexities of the characters. She made me want to learn more about them. This is a very enjoyable look at relationships, love, and loss. Veronica is an interesting octogenarian who on first meeting appears to be very cranky and unhappy. There are also fears voiced by her caregiver that she may be experiencing some dementia. She lives in a mansion in Scotland. She becomes very interested in penquins after watching a documentary describing a research project on Locket Island in Antarctica. Veronica is searching for something to inspire her...a mission...a place where she could make a difference. But before giving any of her money to the project she wants to make a three week visit to the island. The three scientists on the island try unsuccessfully to dissuade her from visiting....due to the living conditions being very primitive. Veronica also discovers she has a grandson just prior to her trip to the island. She is very disappointed in Patrick, her grandson who appears to be on drugs, unemployed, and unrefined. To Patrick his grandmother appears stuffy, formal, and grumpy. Veronica does decide to send Patrick her teenage diaries. This gives Patrick and the reader a glimpse of Victoria’s tragic past. During her trip to the island life changes for her, the three scientists, Patrick and a penguin named Pip. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this for an honest review.
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