Review: Miss Benson’s Beetle

Title: Miss Benson’s Beetle
Author: Rachel Joyce
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Dial Press
Source: Once Upon a Book Club VIP
Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 24, 2020
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

She’s going too far to go it alone.

It is 1950. London is still reeling from World War II, and Margery Benson, a schoolteacher and spinster, is trying to get through life, surviving on scraps. One day, she reaches her breaking point, abandoning her job and small existence to set out on an expedition to the other side of the world in search of her childhood obsession: an insect that may or may not exist–the golden beetle of New Caledonia. When she advertises for an assistant to accompany her, the woman she ends up with is the last person she had in mind. Fun-loving Enid Pretty in her tight-fitting pink suit and pom-pom sandals seems to attract trouble wherever she goes. But together these two British women find themselves drawn into a cross-ocean adventure that exceeds all expectations and delivers something neither of them expected to find: the transformative power of friendship.


After an incident of bullying at the school where she teaches, Margery Benson decides to embark on her lifelong dream to find the golden beetle in New Caledonia. She has to find an assistant so she puts an ad in the newspaper. After going through a few different possibilities, she ends up with Enid Pretty, a woman wearing the most colorful clothes and pom-pom sandals. Enid is the opposite of what Margery was looking for in an assistant but she has no other choice. The two women embark on a trip around the world to search for the golden beetle, while also keeping their secrets hidden.

This story was very well plotted. There were a few different plot lines that were all woven together and kept me guessing. Along with the main story of Margery and Enid on their trip, there were a couple of subplots involving people from their pasts. Everything that happened in the story had a purpose and a meaning in the plot.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like the ending. I was loving the story until one thing that happened at the very end. I won’t give any spoilers of what it was, but it was something on the final pages that I don’t think needed to happen for the plot to be completed.

This was a great, original story!

Thank you Once Upon a Book Club for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a subscription box review.

What to read next:

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

Have you read Miss Benson’s Beetle? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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