"Miss Benson's Beetle," by Rachel Joyce

In Rachel Joyce's novel "Miss Benson's Beetle," two women of very different backgrounds leave the hardship of postwar Britain for New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Their ambitious journey centers on locating a rare insect which may or may not exist — the golden beetle.

Margery and her assistant, Enid, come from entirely different backgrounds and would never have become colleagues, much less friends, in other circumstances. The expedition transforms both women in astonishing ways that result in laugh-out-loud episodes as well as passages that will find you cheering them on and admiring their determination.

If your spirits need a lift, this book will deliver. Now, if I'm discouraged, I just think of Margery and Enid.

Penelope Johnson, Hopkins

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