Book Review: A Single Journey by Frankie McGowan

My latest review is of A Single Journey by Frankie McGowan.

Harriet has begun to despair of her life.

A failed relationship, a business in trouble and a flat that’s falling apart. Oh, and her only friend is an aging and eccentric Russian woman, Elena.

When Elena unexpectedly dies and leaves everything to Harriet, the young woman is thrown into a whole new dilemma as she finds herself in a bitter court case against Elena’s family for her inheritance.

Against the advice of her friends, family and lawyers, Harriet sets off on her own, very singular journey to Berlin.

She knows she has to fight for justice. But when she meets Neil, who is struggling with a complicated marriage, she must also decide if she’ll also fight for love.

A Single Journey is yet another book that I have had for a long time and not read.  It was therefore another book that surprised me! I literally had no idea what this book was about (yes, I know there is blurb for a reason, but the fact that I’ve read it once and added it to my TBR list must mean I wanted to read it at some point!).

This is a novel about Harriet, a young woman who has a number of issues in her life; bad choice in men, a business making very little money and a falling apart flat.  She feels responsible for her elderly (and very eccentric) Russian landlady, Elena, who seems to have no friends or family around her.  When Elena dies suddenly, Harriet discovers that actually, she knows very little about the women she has shared a building with.  Finding herself Elena’s sole heir, Harriet becomes embroiled in a legal battle with Elena’s long lost family.  With nothing left to lose, Harriet takes it upon herself to journey to Berlin, and find out everything she can about her elderly landlady who was seemingly all alone in the world until she was dead.  Harriet decides to take the single journey that Elena never seemed to be able to take in her lifetime.

This is a novel about love, loss, regret and justice.  When all seems lost, Harriet can do nothing but push forward, fighting for a woman she realises that she barely knew.  It’s about fighting for justice and what is right, no matter what the cost.  By learning everything she can about Elena, Harriet also learns more about herself; what she really wants from life, and what she is willing to risk to get it.

I love a novel set abroad, and this was no exception.  Frankie McGowan’s descriptions of Berlin were vivid.  It is a city that I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting, but the writing really brought it to life – both the dark and vibrant sides of the city.  I really felt I was there with Harriet, struggling in an unknown city unable to speak the language.

There is an underlying love story in this novel, but don’t read this novel if you are purely looking for romance.  I would say that the romance element of the story is a minor plot line – and rightly so.  I would not have wanted it to detract from learning about Elena and her intricate past.

This was an intriguing read – I loved learning more about Elena, the eccentric Russian lady; a woman who proudly held her head high and did not believe in settling for anything less than what you really want.  Her life was full of twists and turns, and I enjoyed following Harriet as she endeavoured to ensure that in death, Elena could finally  rest in peace.

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Alice Rees at Endeavour Press for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

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