Good morning bookworms! I read this one with my IRL book club! We have our meeting next week, but I’ve finished the book, so here’s a review. Miss Benson’s Beetle started off really sad. Miss Margery Benson is a 47-year-old spinster in 1950’s England. She has no family left and she is very lonely. When she was younger, she was very interested in beetles and learned how to collect them and correctly preserve them. She always dreamed of finding the elusive golden beetle of New Caledonia. But then life and wars got in the way. After an incident at her job she finally snaps and decides to go to New Caledonia. She empties her life savings, hires a quirky young French speaking assistant named Enid and hops on a boat.
Enid and Marge spend 5 weeks on a ship on the way to Australia where they will then take a plane to New Caledonia. They learn a lot about each other, and despite their age difference become friends. Margery is struggling with her identity but so is Enid. These two women end up saving each other. Enid and Marge are both running from disaster but they still have so many problems, including a stalker. Major trigger warning for pregnancy loss in this book okay? But there is a happy ending.
I started out not really liking this book, there is so much sadness at the beginning, but the resilience of these women kept me reading and I ended up loving it. This book will make you sad, but it will also make you really happy. I liked the unlikely friendship that forms between these two very different women. I liked Enid’s spirit and I liked Margery’s bravery. I didn’t like how slow it started and sometimes the way Enid avoids questions really frustrated me as a reader. Maybe it would have helped to have an inner monologue from Enid so I could understand her better. Overall this one gets 4 stars from me!