Miss Benson's Beetle

Miss Benson's Beetle

Book - 2020
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"It is 1950. London is still reeling from World War II, and Margery Benson--a sensible schoolmarm and lonely spinster--is just trying to get through life. But one day, she reaches her breaking point, abandoning her job and her tidy, circumscribed life, to set out on an expedition to the other side of the world in search of an insect that may or may not exist: the golden beetle of New Caledonia, Margery's childhood obsession ever since her father gave her a book on cryptozoology right before he killed himself. The assistant Margery hires to accompany her, Enid Pretty, in her pink hat and pompom sandals, is not the companion she had in mind. But together they will find themselves drawn into an adventure that exceeds all expectations: a cross-ocean voyage to a remote island covered with dense jungle--the last place two proper British ladies would expect to find themselves. They must risk everything and break all the rules, but at the top of a mountain deep in the South Pacific they will discover their best selves. This is a charming, uplifting story about the power of belief in all its forms; it is an intoxicating adventure that explores what it means to be a woman; and it is a tender exploration of the transformative power of friendship"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Dial Press, 2020
Edition: Dial Press trade paperback edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780812996708
Characteristics: 353 pages : illustration ; 21 cm
Call Number: JOYCE, R


From Library Staff

From New & Noteworthy Fiction. Two friends, Margery Benson and Enid Pretty, are on a quest to find the mythical Golden Beetle of New Caledonia. Life holds many surprises for the two proper British ladies. A charming story about life, adventure and friendship.

DCLadults Oct 07, 2020

A New & Noteworthy staff pick 2020. The core of this uplifting book is an unusual quest and an unlikely friendship between two very different women. It’s the 1950s and they head off to New Caledonia in search of a rare golden beetle. The characters are unique and the setting is magical.

From the critics

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May 18, 2021

For some reason when I read the name of this book I thought it was about a Volkswagen. It turned out it was about a real beetle. I have no interest whatsoever in beetles so when Margery Benson sets out to find a Golden Beetle in New Caledonia I was quite sure I would be bored. Much to my surprise I was charmed ad delighted by this story of Margery and her spirited Assistant and their delightful adventures. Some of it was really poignant while some sections kept me in stitches. Suffice it to say I couldn't put the book down till I had finished it.

May 11, 2021

Didn't expect to love this book as much as I did. Very sweet and heartfelt, but interesting too.

STPL_JessH May 10, 2021

I found this book absolutely delightful! Quite different from what I expected but I enjoyed the characters and their absolutely bizarre quest. It was a nice bit of armchair travel without boring details like hotel bookings. Highly recommend this book for people who enjoy Fredrik Backman.

May 06, 2021

Fun and wacky. For those who love stories of 'stuck' people who journey (literally and figuratively) outside their comfort zone. You may also enjoy The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick.

Apr 18, 2021

i enjoyed the story of miss benson's beetle. the story is set in the 50s. HOWEVER, the pervasive use of an ethnic slur common at the time was jarring, off putting, and offensive.

Hazelnut Apr 01, 2021

Such an enjoyable lighthearted read. If you liked The hundred year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared you’ll enjoy this one.
Never give up on your dream! Now 47 Miss Benson abruptly decides to find that beetle her father showed her in a book when she was only 12. Off to New Caledonia with a spirited eccentric young woman as her assistant the adventure abounds.
Margery finds her dreams take on a path of their own and the treasure you find isn’t always what you think you are looking for.
A funny and charming adventure full of friendship and love.

Mar 18, 2021

An enjoyable book from the author of one of my favourite books The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. I found aspects of this book a bit unrealistic which made the impact of it less profound, but great characters and a fun adventure nonetheless.

Mar 13, 2021

I really wanted to like this book but I was frustrated about the dark tone throughout the story. I thought the unique topic was interesting and the book is well written but I was anxious to finish and be done with it. While the friendship between the two women (compared to Thelma and Louise) was tight by the end of the book, to get there you had to read through a journey of depressing and downhearted experiences with almost every character. I was disappointed that the women were on an extraordinary expedition and yet it was filled with angst and uncertainty. After the story ends there is an explanation of how the author based the book on a photo of two women and that was nice.

Feb 16, 2021

2020 Book Club

Feb 14, 2021

I have read several other books by this author and have enjoyed them all. Her characters are quirky and far from ordinary. Great story of friendship between two very different women who are on an adventure to find the golden beetle. On the way they find out things about each other and themselves that changes each one of them forever. Very interesting and entertaining read,

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