ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – Call of the Penguins by Hazel Prior
Call of the Penguins by Hazel Prior is published by Transworld/Black Swan in paperback, eBook and audiobook. I thought I’d better catch up with my Priors before her next book, Life and Otter Miracles, comes out in May. I’ve previously reviewed Away With the Penguins and Ellie and the Harp Maker, both of which I loved.
Veronica McCreedy can’t resist the promise of adventure . . .
Nine-year-old Daisy and nearly ninety-year-old Veronica make an unlikely pair of friends.
Fiercely independent and impeccably dressed, Veronica has lived an incredible 87 years. Most of them alone, in her huge house by the sea. But with the arrival of brave and resilient Daisy into her life, Veronica finds she has a renewed thirst for adventure – and that they both share a passion for penguins!
So when Veronica and Daisy are invited to travel to the other side of the world together and visit the penguins of the southern hemisphere, they both jump at the chance.
Veronica had thought her days of new friendships, family and love were over, but perhaps it’s never too late for one more adventure?
I loved Away With the Penguins, the first story to feature Veronica McCreedy and her adventures with penguins, so I was really looking forward to reading the sequel, Call of the Penguins, in which Veronica has even more adventures with penguins.
This time she’s not going to Antarctica but to the Falkland Islands to make a television programme with Sir Robert Saddlebow, the fictional equivalent of Sir David Attenborough. She takes Daisy with her, the young daughter of her grandson’s friend, and it’s quite a trip for both of them. Throw into the mix Patrick, Veronica’s grandson, and his girlfriend, Terry, who live and work together on Locket Island, the scene of Veronica’s original encounter with penguins, plus Eileen, Veronica’s long-suffering housekeeper, and all the cast are back together. It’s by no means an easy time for any of them but this is ultimately feel-good fiction and it was an absolute delight to read.
Hazel Prior gets the balance of humour just right against serious issues of illness, family discoveries and environmental issues. I laughed out loud many times at Veronica’s sharp tongue and her very precise way of speaking and thinking. The settings of Veronica’s home in Scotland and the fictional islands in Antarctica and the Falklands are portrayed beautifully and of course, once again, the penguin stars of the story are absolutely charming.
I loved the relationship between Daisy and Veronica, the youngest and oldest characters, and the joy they brought to each other. I also really enjoyed the subplot regarding Patrick and his quest for the truth about his origins and his childhood. All in all, Call of the Penguins gave me a lot of pleasure to read. I’ve now read all three books by this author and I’m very much looking forward to reading more in the future.
HAZEL PRIOR lives on Exmoor with her husband and a huge ginger cat. As well as writing, she works as a freelance harpist. Hazel is the author of Ellie and the Harp-Maker, the #1 ebook and audiobook bestseller Away with the Penguins and its follow-up, Call of the Penguins. Life and Otter Miracles is her fourth novel.