Title: Finding Henry Applebee
Author: Celia Reynolds
Published on: 4 October 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Eighty-five-year-old Henry Applebee has lead a fairly good life. But one regret has haunted him for the past sixty-five years. He embarks on a train journey to Edinburgh, in search of Francine, the woman he fell in love with six decades ago. Meanwhile, young Ariel’s late mother asked her to deliver an envelope to someone at Edinburg. Ariel and Henry end up sitting in the same compartment. Travis, a young musician from the States is their fellow passenger. As the train starts to move, the trio start to recollect the events that brought them here.
Finding Henry Applebee is an enchanting and beautifully written story. I really loved the slow and steady revelation of Henry’s past. Travis and Ariel also have a share of flashbacks. Since her mum’s death, Ariel’s dad has trouble keeping an eye on his family – bills go unpaid, he’s found crying at night… Travis is interested in Jazz but his dad discourages him to pursue music as a career. Going against his dad’s wishes, Travis is now a wandering musician – and has strained relationship with his parents.
Meanwhile, Henry thinks of the times he spent with a young woman named Francine. The war might have torn families apart but for Henry, it turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to find true love. But sadly, it didn’t last longer. After years of searching for Francine, Henry learns of Francine’s daughter – her book event is being hosted at a bookstore in Edinburgh.
This story has a lot of takeaways – from keeping faith that things work out for the best to having second chances in living the life of our dreams. There’s something special about Henry’s love story – sweet, innocent and warm kind of love we hardly get to see in the modern times. The characters are lovely and the storytelling is excellent. Finding Henry Applebee is the kind of story you want to read on a rainy day – or on days when your mood-o-meter points to low.
The only reason for not rating this book higher is, I found the ending predictable. As the story unravels, it was easy to see the ‘missing link’ and this dampened the mood a tad. Overall, Finding Henry Applebee is a warm and enchanting story and I recommend you to give this book a try.
I received a copy of the book from One More Chapter and Netgalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.