Cover Image: Finding Henry Applebee

Finding Henry Applebee

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This is a beautiful story about how one chance encounter can lead you to the love of your life and how they can also lead you to making the biggest mistake of your life. I really liked how Henry and Ariel’s missions coincided on a fateful train journey to Edinburgh and how their stories, seemingly unconnected were very much so. What was charming about this story was just how charming they both were.  Like peas in a pod. As their stories converge and the after effects of that mistake all those years ago come to light, it definitely brought a tear to my eye. Particularly the epilogue.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to #NetGalley, the publisher #OneMoreChapter and the author #Celia Reynolds for providing me with a digital ARC of #FindingHenryApplebee in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. This book was a delight to read and I did not want to put it down.  We follow 85-year-old Henry Applebee as he makes his way to the train station on a quest to put the mistake he made in 1948 right. On his arrival at the train station he has a nosebleed and is helped by the lovely Ariel and they make the journey together.   This book shows the importance of kindness and friendship.  It also shows that there are consequences to decisions that are made and that it is never too late to put things right.  This book comes highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
The story starts in London with an old man packing a suitcase and from the first pages of the book, we are right there, travelling with Henry on the important journey he is about to make. We don’t know where he is going or why he is going there, but we do know that it’s a journey that is very important to him. 
A chance encounter with a teenager who comes to his assistance at Kings Cross, leads to a friendly chat and the two start to share their reasons for making the journey - Henry to try to discover what happened to Francine, the love of his life, and Ariel to deliver a package left by her recently deceased mother, but who is EMH, how did Ariel’s mother know her and what is in the package? 
The train journey is a key part of the story, without it, the fundamental elements of the story would not come together. As the train moves from London to Edinburgh, the story too moves along - a tangle of distant memories and worries about what lies ahead. A discarded child’s toy sparks the interest of photographer Ariel, a glimpse of the sea brings flashbacks to a few days in Blackpool just after the war and when a third passenger joins the conversation, they discover that there is an unexpected connection between two of them …
The characters are well developed & relatable and there is good attention to detail in the descriptions of Blackpool, London, Edinburgh, and South Wales. 
Is this a book about an old man's memories? a book about friendship between unlikely people? a book about the kindness of strangers? a book about consequences? a love story? Yes, and so much more! It is a story that will make you laugh & cry, and one that you will remember.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free from the publisher via NetGalley. Whilst thanks go to the publisher & author for the opportunity to read it, all opinions are my own.
#FindingHenryApplebee #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
We join Henry Applebee as he is heading towards a London train station with a small suitcase in hand. The hustle and bustle is a lot for this 83-year-old but he is a determined soul and will not miss that train for anything. But the universe works in mysterious ways and what follows is a series of events that takes you the reader on an emotional rollercoaster with invaluable life lessons along the way. You will finish the book equipped with a new Joie de vie. 


In full transparency, I did struggle at the beginning to get into the beat of the book. I had read something early this year and I thought that perhaps the plot lines were going to be a little similar. But after I had read a chapter of the book about a character Travis, I felt the writing changed for me. That injection of emotion about the character propelled me forward and I never looked back. So I would warn that if you too struggle a little in the opening chapters, please stick with it. I promise you will have no regrets.

The book covers a whole range of life emotions including family secrets and a lot of figuring out who you are in life. We all have that need in us to feel that we are important in one way or another. That we make a difference to someone’s life. That we matter. 

Times have changed and the goal of having a husband/wife and two kids with a house that has a picket fence. Is deemed so old fashioned and we tell our kids they can be whatever the hell they want to be in life. Which is absolutely awesome but also an incredible pressure too. One of the characters in the book is trying to find her place in life and is very lost with who and what she is meant to be. 


The power this book had over me was insane, I was on that train with Henry and I was listening to every word as he told his story. I felt the bounce of the train as it moved across the tracks and the chill of the cold snow outside. The author sucked me into her world and I loved it. 

I love when I learn from a book and I certainly did with Finding Henry Applebee. I closed the book and had new eyes for my world. What really is important? What do I really want out of life? I certainly want no big regrets.

Music is a huge part of the book both to Henry and Travis. I feel the book should come with its own soundtrack on Spotify. A few hours after typing my review I found out there is a playlist for each character. https://open.spotify.com/user/1q10ydy5wsg2wxk15xe2x9mtv?si=IVgI0VfaRwOB1kEJ2b-YhA


This book is for people who enjoy a good character-driven plot with flip flops back to the past. A book for those a little lost perhaps and who need a few words of encouragement about life.
Was this review helpful?
A beautifully poignant story that demonstrates true love really does exist!
Henry Appleby an 85 year old gentleman living alone with just his dog for company has some unfinished business to attend to relating to his one true love!
An epic train journey from London to Edinburgh sees Henry making friends with a young girl called Ariel who is also on a journey of discovery, and a talented musician Travis, the unlikely trio quickly get to know each other and we begin to learn of their very different reasons for travelling north.
Their story however doesn’t end at Edinburgh, through lots of very coincidental findings they find that they are all intrinsically linked to each other through the actions and choices made many years ago by Henry and the love of his life Francine.
Friendship, love and kindness abound in this book and prove that it’s never too late to make amends and In doing so life can be enhanced and enriched in so many ways.
Thank you net galley for this early read.
Was this review helpful?
This is a very lovely tale of Henry Applebee and his journey to right a past wrong. Along the way he meets the lovely Ariel and Travis and they listen to his tale during a train journey to Edinburgh.

I really enjoyed themes in the book and the story unfolded on a train journey. Although predictable it was fun to follow each of the characters journeys and to see their little acts of kindness and missed chances.

My only criticism is that I felt few parts were a little repetitive< we were told of Henry and Francie's meeting in dreams of Henry's and then told again when he was retelling the story on the train...
Was this review helpful?
Henry Applebee takes the train to Edinburgh in search of his past which he hopes might change his future. From the moment I met Henry, vulnerable, fragile, all alone with his nose gushing blood my heart flooded with love for my latest literary octogenarian. I loved this book, full of lovely characters and real story telling. A train journey is the perfect place for a story to unfold and new friends the perfect audience. Even more magical with snow falling. I used to live in Swansea so the Welsh scenery brought back so many memories. The story is full of references both literary and musical which added a depth to the story and in particular to the characters. The story is so poignant and there is a sadness in a twist of fate but ultimately it is about grabbing life, taking chances and following dreams. A delightful and uplifting read. With thanks to Netgalley, One More Chapter and Harper Collins.
Was this review helpful?
I so enjoyed following Henry Applebee on his journey from London to Edinburgh and also that of his travelling companions, Ariel and Travis. 85 year old Henry is travelling to meet with someone who he hopes will be able to answer some questions which have haunted him for years and possibly to make amends. Ariel is also on a mission, having been tasked by her late mother to deliver a mysterious package to someone she has never heard of in Edinburgh. Travis is a jazz musician from New York, travelling north to meet up with his uncle who is also a performer. 

The thing the struck me throughout the book was that it was all about connections. There were connections to the past whether through people or things that happened. There were the connections of friendship which formed between Henry, Ariel and Travis on the journey. And then there were the deeper connections between the characters which gradually became apparent. I felt a rather personal connection to the story partly since I live in Edinburgh but also because my parents met at a place which is very important in the story and in a way which was very similar to something which happened to a younger Henry. Enigmatic I know but I don't want to give anything away!

I like a book which makes me feel and this one certainly did! It's about making up for past mistakes, forgiveness, second chances, making amends and making sure you take opportunities when you can. It's also about friendship and the importance of being kind, to others and yourself. All these themes are explored sensitively through events in Henry's life and make for a poignant reading experience. It's the kind of charming book you finish with a contented sigh as everything comes together and you are willing to let these characters continue on their personal journeys.
Was this review helpful?
Henry Applebee is waiting for a train when he has a nosebleed. A young woman called Ariel Asks if he is okay. This is the beginning of a delightful friendship.

I loved the back story of each character, both hoping to find a lost love and sharing the journey together to find them.

A beautiful story of cross generation friendship, memory's and finding a lost love. Truly uplifting. There were tender, moving moments and a few laugh out loud moments. I loved this book.
Was this review helpful?
It was an ok read but felt a little disjointed and highly coincidental. I feel as though the author was stretching things a bit. I enjoyed the descriptiveness of the settings though.
Was this review helpful?
Finding Henry Applebee is a beautiful and whimsical story about growth, acceptance, and unlikely friendships. The themes of this story are charming and a true breath of fresh air during a time when the whole world is hurting. 
While I found the storyline beautiful, I also found it to be a little slow. I was engaged because I wanted to know what would happen, but I wish it could have been said with fewer words.
Overall, this is a lovely story.
Was this review helpful?
What a delight of a story!
Finding Henry Applebee is a story about several characters, of which Henry is the main one,
An eighty-five-year-old man on a mission heads to Edinburgh to fulfil his heart's desire, except it was never going to be that simple, was it?
A young woman is also heading to Edinburgh to act out the last of her mother's wishes.
A twenty-something American Jazz musician is on his way to watch a much longed-for performance.
A chance meeting on a train. changes the lives of all three of these characters in a wonderful way.
I enjoyed reading this story, interspersed with flashbacks from the past featuring each of the main characters, adding layer upon layer to the plot.
I wanted to keep Henry Applebee, and look after him in my own home - what a sweetheart!
The story is filled with romance, of a deeper nature. What people do for love...

Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Impulse and Killer Reads for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Actual rating 4.5 

The prologue to Finding Henry Applebee is incredibly well written, almost poetic in tone as this elderly gentleman finds himself on the concourse at Kings Cross station waiting for the Edinburgh train, his suitcase that holds precious mementos at his feet, having of all things a nosebleed. The way in which teenager Ariel comes to his aid, losing most of her coffee in the process is serendipitous and a lovely way to introduce two of the main characters. 

Before our characters alight the train we learn more of Henry and Ariel’s  backgrounds and what has transpired to make them undertake this journey from London to Edinburgh. Henry is 85, a retired language teacher who lives alone in London with just his dog Banjo and his memories for company. His brother Devlin is two years deceased and a ghostly presence Henry sometimes converses with,looking for guidance in this instance over whether or not to revisit the past and endeavour to put right a broken promise.  Ariel on the other hand is only 18, making the long journey from her home in Oystermouth South Wales via  London to Edinburgh to fulfil a promise made to her mother Estelle, also deceased. Ariel’s father Linus and young brother Isaac have no idea of her current whereabouts, her best friend Tumbleweed sworn to secrecy. With just one other character left to meet to complete this unlikely trio bound for Scotland  I was intrigued as what was in store for them all.

Travis, an American jazz loving saxophone player is sitting across the aisle from Henry and Ariel when he makes their acquaintance, the final member of this trio. There is a musical element to the storyline that begins with this introduction and then remains throughout, connecting the three strangers together, the first of many strange coincidences awaiting in the wings. By the end of the journey Travis, Ariel and Henry are more like old friends than strangers, their conversation easily bridging the age gap. What awaits them upon reaching their final destination will undoubtedly surprise you. At the heart of this novel is a love story that will tug at your heartstrings, a story full of regrets, heartache and missed opportunities but through the tears one that will also make you smile.

By far my favourite part of this novel is the train journey to Edinburgh and Henry’s decision to loosen his tongue and divulge his past to Ariel and Travis who are a willing audience. I was spellbound by Henry’s recounting  of his brief love affair with Fran which begins in 1948 when he  is on 48 hour leave from RAF Kirkham. About to be demobbed and returning to his home in London, the way in which Henry describes his first sighting of Fran,in the Blackpool Tower ballroom as a coup de foudre is illuminating, sensing that their story doesn’t have a happy ending but not knowing why. I felt shivers down my spine as he remembers spotting Fran sitting alone on that balcony watching the dancers below,losing herself in the music. It is testament to the author’s ability to conjure up such a vivid atmospheric setting evoking images of a bygone era, that made me feel as if I too were sitting there, watching a budding romance unfold. With the war not long won and national service still in operation, Henry is the epitome of a gentleman, impeccably turned out, his old fashioned way of courting and conducting himself making him a relic of the past. As Henry further reminisces,I fell in love with this elderly man who has spent his life in the shadow of one fateful night in 1948, when an event following his goodbye to Fran has disastrous consequences, overshadowing the rest of his life. That Fran was and is the love of his life and how he has chosen never to forgive himself for breaking a promise is what turns this novel into the emotional read it is. In many ways Henry reminded me of my own father, slighter older but also having completed his national service in Singapore, also a lover of jazz. That he is now in the early stages of dementia made this story all the more poignant for me.

The events that compel Henry and Ariel to travel to Edinburgh, one to listen to a book talk and one to deliver a mysterious brown package only addressed to EMH will forcibly bring the past into the present in the most fortuitous of ways. The author has woven a joyful thread through  these characters lives, joining them together by happenstance. It is a narrative to make your heart sing, utterly delightful, culminating in a beautiful, poignant ending.

The only reason I have chosen to give this charming novel 4.5 stars rather than 5 is purely because it took me a little while to fully immerse myself in the storyline . There’s an element of the magical and mystical in the way all the strange coincidences occur following Henry’s train journey to Edinburgh that are maybe a tiny bit too fanciful. I think if you can set aside your realistic notions and allow yourself to be swept away by the romance and the glamour of the Blackpool Tower ballroom and lose your heart to Henry and Fran and their brief but momentous love affair, then you’ll enjoy this novel all the more. Personally I was caught up in this sorrowful love story that is definitely one to remember and Henry Arthur Applebee, 85 and counting is a character that has left an imprint on my heart. My thanks to One More Chapter for inviting me to read this novel. I highly recommend it.
Was this review helpful?
This book is like a hot water bottle on a cold day and leaves you with such a warm, fuzzy feeling. Perfect for escaping the world as it is right now. Henry Applebee is 85 and is setting off on a journey that he has waited many many years to make. Along the way he meets Ariel and Travis and they share his life story on their train journey from London to Edinburgh. Little do they know how intertwined their stories are to become. 

We flashback to 1948 when Henry meets the love of his life, Francine in the Blackpool Tower. They spend two wonderful days together before he has to move back to London. Despite the distance they share a promise to make it work. But a miscommunication, and an assumption on Henry's part leads him to a rash act that alters the course of their lives forever. Unable to forget her, he searches for Francine, but has no luck. Until a chance article in a local newspaper references her, and a book that her daughter has written. Will he finally get his chance to apologise to her? 

Whilst things may not ultimately turn out the way Henry hopes, he gains so much from his decision to be brave and to right the wrong he did by Francine all those years ago. This is a story about courage and forgiveness, about never giving up and ultimately, it's about love. Just gorgeous.
Was this review helpful?
What a delightful read. Read over two nights. Gorgeous, likeable characters and a narrative filled with a collection of plots all neatlunch woven together. Really enjoyable. You’ll need tissues.
Was this review helpful?
This book focuses on the adventure of Henry Applebee who travels from London to Edinburgh whilst reminiscing about his past. He meets two other travellers on his train journey who also share their stories. It was a bit of a slow start for me but I enjoyed the connection between the main characters and the ending was quite lovely.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to to Netgalley and Harper  for opportunity to read this charming book in exchange for an honest review. This was a very moving, engaging story about an elderly gent on a train journey to Edinburgh and the people he meets and shares stories with en route. I really enjoyed this emotional read.
Was this review helpful?
3,5 Stars

A 85 year old man and a teenager as unlikely journey pals on a train ride to Edinburgh. Each with their own mission to fulfil. And during the long hours of travel, we get to know both their stories...

I found Henry's story the most interesting, and I undestand that Ariel's story was important to the plot as well. But I really could have done without third travel pal Travis. His chapters were only half interesting and slowed down the whole story considerably for me. Although I very much liked him as a person, there was no real need to learn his background story.

"Finding Henry Applebee" is a rather quiet, slow, melancholic book which tells the reader that you can never be too old or too young to go out there and look for answers to your questions. And brings with it a real blast from the past at the end.
Was this review helpful?
Henry Applebee is an old man on his way to Edinburgh.  The journey is passed in the company of 2 other, much younger people, all strangers initially, and they pass the time by each telling their stories.  Of all the people and all the trains, it just had to be this particular one!  It had its good bits and bad bits for all 3 of them but although I mainly liked all of Henry’s and Ariel’s chapters, wasn’t at all interested in Travis, so skim read those.  A very easy to read book with some sad, some funny parts.  Take it on a train journey!
Was this review helpful?
A charming book and definitely more than I was expecting, not at all predictable. I was surprised as I read this story. I think it was very well written, descriptive and emotive. I loved the characters and felt them to be realistic, something that can be difficult. A lovely read .
Was this review helpful?