A train journey, a journey through time and a journey of discovery, Finding Henry Applebee is a beautifully written story that delightfully enchants and reminds us that it’s never too late to pursue our dreams or right our wrongs.
Henry Applebee at eighty-five years of age and with the help of his niece manages to track down a woman living in Edinburgh who is the daughter of the only person he ever truly loved and lost sixty-five years ago. When he arrives at Kings Cross train station in London to begin his journey, he is helped in a moment of need by a young woman, Ariel. In appreciation, he offers her a spare first-class train ticket beside him for their trip to Edinburgh. When they get settled in their seats, they are joined across the aisle by a young Jazz musician, Travis, also travelling to Edinburgh. The connections have far-reaching consequences. The insights into Jazz music, which I don’t really follow, were very interesting.
Celia Reynolds has formed fascinating characters that are strikingly drawn and have their own motives for travelling to Scotland. The narrative provides a backdrop to each character by providing time shifts into their background. The steady revealing of the circumstances is delicately handled and as the trip progresses, more and more of the fateful adventure becomes apparent. The story paints a warm glow of nostalgia and the exciting anticipation of meeting a lost love, discovering a family secret or reaching an absorbing goal is exquisitely detailed.
This story is following a topical theme involving an older person taking a trip to address some stirring concern before it is finally too late, similar in mood to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. There is something heartening reading a story from an older person’s perspective that looks back at moments in their life, especially when it touches distinguished moments in history.
I would rate this book 4.5 stars and would highly recommend reading it. I would like to thank One More Chapter and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC version in return for an honest review.