Book Review

MISS BENSON’S BEETLE by Rachel Joyce

Rating: 3.5 / 5

MISS BENSON’S BEETLE by Rachel Joyce was an adult Once Upon a Book Club book box pick. This is another book that hadn’t been on my radar before I got it in the box!

MISS BENSON’S BEETLE is set in 1950 in a world still recovering from World War II. Margery Benson is making way through life as a school teacher, though she doesn’t love the work. One day she makes a very impulsive move and runs away from her job and with no other concrete prospects on the horizon. Continuing on with the impulsive behavior, Miss Margery decides to set off on an expedition to New Caledonia to track down a beetle she once saw in a book of creatures that may or may not exist.

After selling nearly everything she has to fund the expedition and advertising for an assistant to help her in her quest, Margery winds up with Enid, a woman who seems entirely inappropriate. Still, they set off by ship on their adventure full of misadventures.

While this book provided for some good entertainment, it wound up missing the mark a bit for me. There are a lot of good elements to the story. Miss Benson is a little older, a bit prim and proper. Growing up, she was a witness to tragedy that left her certainly scarred and traumatized. This is touched on in the book, but I don’t know that it was fully dealt with enough for me. As further tragedies strike throughout the novel, I wanted a bit more follow through on the impact as well.

I enjoyed the over the top character of Enid. She’s colorful and everything that Margery is not, though she too is not without her own tragedies. That said, the way she was voiced in the audiobook took a bit to get used to. There was another character who pops up here and there through the narrative, a man who has been scarred by his time at war and is obsessed by Margery’s expedition. This sub-plot felt a bit disjointed from the rest of the story for me.

Overall, this isn’t a book I would highly recommend, but it was an entertaining read!

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