Title: How the Penguins Saved Veronica
Author: Hazel Prior
Publish Date: June 16, 2020
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Eighty-five-year-old
Veronica McCreedy is estranged from her family and wants to find a
worthwhile cause to leave her fortune to. When she sees a documentary
about penguins being studied in Antarctica, she tells the scientists
she’s coming to visit—and won’t take no for an answer. Shortly after
arriving, she convinces the reluctant team to rescue an orphaned baby
penguin. He becomes part of life at the base, and Veronica's closed
heart starts to open.
Her grandson, Patrick, comes to Antarctica to make one last attempt to get to know his grandmother. Together, Veronica, Patrick, and even the scientists learn what family, love, and connection are all about."
My Two Cents:
In "How the Penguins Saved Veronica," Veronica is not exactly happy. She is in her mid-eighties and she knows the end is coming near. She has no friends except for her housekeeper, who probably mostly stays around because she gets paid. She has no family (or so she thinks) until she find out that her late son, whom she gave up for adoption, has a son who is now an adult. So Veronica decides she MUST meet him, which sets off of a chain of events that will start with disappointment and end with wonder, love, and the realization that even the grumpy Veronica can find joy!
Oh, this book was such a perfect way to start out 2021 when things still feel very much on fire. I LOVE the trope of a very grumpy character finding joy and that things really aren't that bad (these days, I sometimes feel like one of those grumpy characters). I thought this book was initially going to just be about Veronica meeting her grandson, Patrick, but this book is so much more and yes, there are really penguins. Veronica is the perfect grump: everything must be just so, she does things on her own time, and never seems to think about how others may feel. I loved how we slowly get to find out what turned her into the grump she has been for her entire life. Everything seems to fall into place. The secondary characters like Patrick and Terry, one of the penguin scientists, make for a well-rounded cast.
The best part of the book really starts after Veronica learns about the penguins in Antarctica and decides she MUST go see them. A scientific project in such a desolate place is not the greatest place to visit and definitely not a good place for a holiday. She is enchanted and I loved how we get to see Veronica almost turn giddy seeing the penguins (I cannot blame her one bit).
This is a very warm-hearted book! I loved this sweet story and it's perfect for when you are just looking for a good escape!