Finding Henry Applebee

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Pub Date 04 Oct 2019 | Archive Date 18 Mar 2021


‘An absolute delight. It’s beautiful and elegiac and written with such a good heart’ BAFTA award-winning screenwriter and producer Russell T. Davies OBE

‘A simply heart-string tugging book that offers a ready escape route from these testing time’ Jon Gower, Nation Cymru

Here Henry was, once again in a bustling train station, ready to resume where he had left off all those years ago…

Finding Henry Applebee is a charming, tender and uplifting story about unlikely friendships, the power of love – and how it’s never too late to change your life.

Perfect for fans of The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Eighty-five-year-old Henry Arthur Applebee has had a pretty good life. But one regret has haunted him for the last sixty-five years.
And so, on an ordinary December morning, he boards a train from London to Edinburgh. His goal is simple: to find the woman who disappeared from his life decades earlier.

But Henry isn’t the only person on a mission. Also bound for Edinburgh is troubled teen, Ariel. And when the two strangers collide, what began as one humble journey will catapult them both into a whole new world…

What readers are saying:

'A great book … I highly recommend it to those interested in a narrative that touches one's heart and soul' Peter Thabit Jones

‘Beautifully written, wonderfully warm’ bestselling author Zara Stoneley

‘An uplifting read … tender, beautiful writing and wonderful observations’ bestselling author Tracy Rees

‘An intricate, absorbing, sliding puzzle of a story about friendship, family and love’ bestselling author Iona Grey

‘Just wonderful’ Goodreads reviewer

‘This book will warm the cockles of your heart’ Goodreads reviewer

‘A moving portrait of the power of human kindness’ Goodreads reviewer

‘An absolute delight. It’s beautiful and elegiac and written with such a good heart’ BAFTA award-winning screenwriter and producer Russell T. Davies OBE

‘A simply heart-string tugging...

Available Editions

ISBN 9780008336318
PRICE A$10.99 (AUD)

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Average rating from 103 members

Featured Reviews

Harold Fry set on a train! That's what I first though, but then that doesn't do the book justice in its own right. It's unique, lovingly written and emotional. Delightful and charming and just a tiny bit teary. Oh yes. Set on a train that travels from London to Edinburgh, but it really is the journey that shines and matters here. Who does Henry meet on the train and who impacts his life. Whose life does he make an impression on? Two people meet on a train and get chatting. It happens every day to many people, but who could imagine that this person could have such an impact on them? There's several characters in the book and each comes into contact with each other at some point. Their stories intertwine, their voices carry over from one chapter to the next so you feel as if you're on that train and meeting these people for yourself. It's people watching booktrail style. How many times do you look at someone on a train and imagine who they are, what they do, where they are going and why? A train is the ideal place for a study of life itself, of life's microcosms, of lives ups and downs. And then there's the delightful flashbacks - like the scenery flickering past the windows, it comes and goes and stays in your vision throughout the novel. We learn of Henry's early life and his time in Blackpool, why he is on the train and who he's going to meet. The lovely girl he meets, the trouble teen Ariel is an interesting one. Their relationship between this two is a delight to read but you really have to discover this for yourself, and meet the others as the joy of this novel is to be a fellow passenger on the train yourself. This is an emotional read - there's time for laughter, tears, shivers, warm hugs and more. Next time I'm on a train, I'm going to look for an Henry Applebee, Ariel and the others. I'm sure I'll see a flicker of them in the windows as we rush through the English countryside Delightfully emotional.

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Through NetGalley, I received a free copy of FINDING HENRY APPLEBEE by Celia Reynolds in exchange for an honest review. At eighty-five, Henry Applebee finally receives a clue that may help him resolve a mistake he made in 1948. Excited and nervous, Henry embarks on a journey from London to Edinburgh. Henry’s chance encounter at King’s Cross Station with Ariel Bliss, a teenager on her own covert mission to Edinburgh, results in an unlikely friendship formed over an unexpected kindness reciprocated. When a fellow passenger introduces himself to the pair, the circle of two widens to three. Before the trio can complete their business in Scotland, they’ll discover they’re more connected than they ever dreamed. I really enjoyed this book. It’s a poignant tale of loves lost and found. I recommend this book to fans of nostalgic literary fiction set in Europe.

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A sweet story of the entwined lives of three people who meet on a train trip from london to Scotland. The characters were well developed and relatable and their stories beautifully woven. A quick read, and a memorable one.

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I always like mixing up genres and read a good contemporary every once in a while... As soon as I read the blurb of Finding Henry Applebee, I knew I was most likely going to enjoy this story. My instincts turned out to be right, because I had a great time getting to know the main characters and learning about their journey. It is without doubt a heartwarming and poignant read! The power of Finding Henry Applebee is above all in its main characters. The story is told with the help of three different POVs: Henry, Ariel and Travis. What would one eighty-five-year-old man and two young characters have in common, would you say? That's for you to discover as the plot and its twists are revealed in due course (I don't want to spoil the surprises), but it all starts with a train ride from London to Edinburgh. Each character is thoroughly and realistically developed, and are very easy to connect to. First up we have the eighty-five-year-old Henry, the star of this story and one with a heartbreaking past and quest. We get a glimpse of his past through flashbacks set mostly in 1948 Blackpool, and the present chapters are wonderfully developed as well. Next is Ariel, a troubled teenager weighted down by grief and currently on a very important mission. I liked how her character was developed as well, and how we slowly learn a little more about her past as well as why she is currently on the train to Edinburgh. The last POV belongs to Travis, an American musician on his way to see his uncle. His character is very easy to like and brings a little light to balance the more heavy themes. I really liked the idea of the train journey and the three characters meeting this way. I love travel themed stories and this was without doubt a nice touch! The train advancing can also been seen in the corresponding progress in the development of both the characters and the plot itself... The three different POVs and flashbacks are woven together into a coherent and moving story and the connection between the different storylines makes it really easy to just keep turning those pages. The main mystery is of course around Henry's past and what happened to Francine, but we also have the question of the package Ariel was sent to deliver by her deceased mother. More heavy themes as the post-war era, regret, cancer and grief are contrasted with moments of lightness and even humor, turning Finding Henry Applebee into a well balanced read. There is some romance involved as well, but not distractingly so and I personally didn't like a little dose of happiness added to the plot. This story will both make you laugh and make you cry before you reach the final page and is without doubt a beautifully written and poignant read.

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