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About the book
  • Published: 21 July 2020
  • ISBN: 9780857521996
  • Imprint: Doubleday
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $37.00
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Miss Benson's Beetle




A story about the smallest insect and the deepest friendship from the author of THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY and THE MUSIC SHOP

Margery Benson’s life ended the day her father walked out of his study and never came back. Forty years later, abandoning a dull job, she advertises for an assistant. The successful candidate is to accompany Margery on an expedition to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist. Enid Pretty is not who she had in mind. But together they will find themselves drawn into an adventure that exceeds all Margery’s expectations, eventually finding new life at the top of a red mountain.


This is a story that is less about what can be found than the belief it might be found; it is an intoxicating adventure story and it is also a tender exploration of a friendship between two unforgettable women that defies all boundaries.

  • Pub date: 21 July 2020
  • ISBN: 9780857521996
  • Imprint: Doubleday
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $37.00

About the Author

Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, The Music Shop and a collection of interlinked short stories, A Snow Garden & Other Stories. Her books have been translated into thirty-six languages and two are in development for film.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Rachel was awarded the Specsavers National Book Awards ‘New Writer of the Year’ in December 2012 and shortlisted for the ‘UK Author of the Year’ 2014.

Rachel has also written over twenty original afternoon plays and adaptations of the classics for BBC Radio 4, including all the Bronte novels. She moved to writing after a long career as an actor, performing leading roles for the RSC, the National Theatre and Cheek by Jowl.

She lives with her family in Gloucestershire.

Also by Rachel Joyce

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Praise for Miss Benson's Beetle

“Editor's Choice: A gorgeous story about friendship, adventure and the importance of taking risks.”

Alice O'Keefe, Bookseller

“I fell in love with the unlikely friendship between two wildly different women, Enid Pretty and Margery Benson—their devotion to each other as they trek up and down mountains in someplace called New Caledonia is a hysterical delight. This novel made me realize how hungry I am for stories about women loving each other into being their best selves. Many thanks to Rachel Joyce for writing one.”

Ann Napolitano, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Edward

“A beautifully written, extraordinary quest in which two ordinary, overlooked women embark on an unlikely scientific expedition to the South Seas. A classic tale of gripping adventure and friendship, told from the subversive and often hilarious female view.”

Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

“Whatever you may look for in a novel—adventure, fully realized characters, humor, poignancy, a chance to learn something new—is all here in Miss Benson’s Beetle. What’s also here is the particular grace and humanity that Rachel Joyce brings to her work. She reminds us that we all are broken in one way or another, but that we are capable—oftentimes in unexpected ways—of helping to make ourselves and others whole. This beautifully written novel is an absolute delight.”

Elizabeth Berg, author of The Story of Arthur Truluv

“Any reader accompanying Rachel Joyce on this exhilarating expedition into the far reaches of the imagination is destined to be rewarded with the richest pleasure....An enthralling, amazing expedition into the mysteries of the human heart.”

David Park, Author of The Light of Amsterdam

“Rachel Joyce is a masterful storyteller. She has written the perfect book for these times. Funny, perceptive and life-enhancing. I urge you to read it.”

Sarah Winman, Author of Tin Man

“Wonderful characters that I will not forget in a hurry...This book will take you on the adventure of a lifetime. I loved every second!”

Favel Parrett, Author of Past the Shallows

“Bursting with the irrepressible wonder that is quintessential Rachel Joyce. Miss Benson’s Beetle is about the courage to say YES! Yes, I will. Yes, I can. Radiant, transporting, idiosyncratic, tender and shimmeringly alive (and dead!) The master of charm and delight.”

Keggie Carew, Author of Dadland

“As ever, Rachel Joyce made me laugh out loud, then weep for the battered majesty of ordinary human beings. Two unlikely heroines, their strange love, a pitiful villain and a life-affirming search for miraculous beauty… all combine in a wild, hopeful picaresque journey into the soul.”

Bel Mooney, Daily Mail


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