It is 1950. In a devastating moment of clarity, Margery Benson abandons her dead-end job and advertises for an assistant to accompany her on an expedition. She is going to travel to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist.
Enid Pretty, in her unlikely pink travel suit, is not the companion Margery had in mind. And yet together they will be drawn into an adventure that will exceed every expectation. They will risk everything, break all the rules, and at the top of a red mountain, discover their best selves.
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 but it is also about what it means to be a woman and a tender exploration of a friendship that defies all boundaries.
Praise for Miss Benson’s Beetle
‘A joy of a novel’ Guardian
‘A girl’s own adventure.. surely this is the one that will propel the intrepid Joyce off the long and shortlists into prizewinning territory.’ The Times
‘[Miss Benson’s Beetle] feels larger than Joyce’s other books—more expansive, swashbuckling, a wild adventure. It is the best so far of her novels, and the most inspiring. . . . At the heart of the story is the slow, unlikely friendship that builds between the two women and how that friendship enables them both to grow stronger, more capable and more self-reliant. . . . There is resilience, there is redemption, and there is beauty—great beauty.’ Minneapolis Star Tribune
‘Joyce’s characters are so charmingly eccentric that they could have leapt straight from the pages of a Dickens novel. Enid is a comedic masterpiece, effervescent and brimming with life. This exhilarating story will scoop you up and carry you along to a dizzying crescendo. But it is also a story of an unlikely friendship and of women who refuse to be defined by the labels cast upon them in drab 1950s Britain. Funny, wise, and utterly life-affirming.’ Daily Express