Literary Fiction Romance

Finding Henry Applebee – Celia Reynolds

1 November 2019
Being Henry Applebee Book Cover Being Henry Applebee
December 12, 2019

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 a troubled teen, Ariel. And when the two strangers collide, what began as one humble journey will catapult them both into a whole new world…


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.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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