His recommendations are always ones to take seriously. He warned me the main character would not be very likeable and he was right. It took a while to warm to Veronica, 86 year old woman who hates almost everyone and everything.
By chance she discovers a penguin research project in the Antarctica that all of a sudden gives her the sense of purpose.
Her recently discovered long lost grand son Patrick was a disappointment when she met him so she decides to check out said research station to see if they are more worthy to inherit her millions.
Once in the Antarctica she is challenged in many ways, physically and emotionally and more than the outside ice gets a crack and starts to melt.
As we discover more about Veronica’s past and background we see a different side to her. Old diaries and changing narrators cast extra light on to the story, then and now.
The book is quirky, well written and has a variety of odd and memorable characters. While some parts of the story are predictable, others aren’t, and they all are moving, heart warming and delightful.
I listened to this on audio book and enjoyed it much more than I had hoped for.
If you were to ask Veronica McCreedy at the start of Hazel Prior’s (Ellie and the Harp Maker) charmingly redemptive novel Away With the Penguins, you would likely receive a snappy, tart reply that “Of course it is! How could you think otherwise?”
The abrasive 86-year-old millionaire occupant of stately seaside mansion the Ballahays, Aryshire, Scotland, is a woman of stentorianly articulated firm opinions who knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to say what she thinks.
Alone in the world after the death of her husband many years earlier and with no family to speak of and with only her assistant Eileen for company, Veronica is a woman who has fallen into some rather pronounced life habits than she is loathe to break.
Fastidious about her appearance to the point where she instructs Eileen to take down all the mirrors in the house, an instruction she revokes the next day when she forgets her orders from the day before – she is nimble and with it but her mind doesn’t always keep pace with her active body – Veronica is happiest munching on ginger thins and watching documentaries such as those on penguins with which she becomes obsessed (once she gets over the fact that they have supplanted her usual TV program of choice).
Her life is a very well-worn one that brooks no change and which seems destined to keep shuffling along without much to distinguish it until the day Veronica shuffles off this mortal coil.”
“The clock strikes seven. Eileen has gone and I am alone in the house. 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 always irksome one way or another.” (P. 5)