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How the Penguins Saved Veronica

(Veronica McCreedy #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  26,397 ratings  ·  3,107 reviews
A curmudgeonly but charming old woman, her estranged grandson, and a colony of penguins proves it's never too late to be the person you want to be in this rich, heartwarming story from the acclaimed author of Ellie and the Harpmaker.

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 see
Paperback, 355 pages
Published June 16th 2020 by Berkley (first published March 5th 2020)
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Babs You definitely didn’t imagine it - I just finished reading it on Kindle & it was wonderful! It’s at the very end, after the epilogue, the acknowledgme…moreYou definitely didn’t imagine it - I just finished reading it on Kindle & it was wonderful! It’s at the very end, after the epilogue, the acknowledgments & a snippet about Hazel Prior’s novel ‘Ellie & the Harpmaker’. It’s called ‘Mrs McCreedy’s Christmas’ & is billed as ‘A bonus story exclusively for ebook readers!’. It’s a ‘feel-good short story full of festive fun, surprises, ... and perhaps a penguin or two’! I absolutely loved it too!(less)

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If, like me, you adore penguins, then Hazel Prior's moving and hopeful novel will be the perfect read, it has oodles of charm which had me dissolving into a gooey puddle with its joyous penguins and one special baby penguin in particular that manages to knit together the humans that take care of him. 86 year old Veronica McCreedy is a very wealthy woman living in a coastal mansion, The Ballahays, in Ayrshire. She has been lonely and alone for a long time, with no family, divorced from a serial p ...more
Melissa ~ Bantering Books
Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews.

First things first –

I just can’t get over all the penguin cuteness in Hazel Prior’s new novel, How the Penguins Saved Veronica. OMG.

I think I want one. My very own penguin, I mean. I can just see her now, waddling around the house. A perfect little black-and-white weeble wobble dressed in a tuxedo.

Waddle, waddle. Waddle, waddle.

I know! I know! A pet penguin named Petunia is not very realistic. (Perfect name, right?) But hey, a girl
Miranda Reads
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

New month, New Booktube Reading Vlog - tier-listing all the books read in July!
The Written Review

Being alone is supposed to be an issue for people such as me, but I have to say I find it deeply satisfying.
Veronica McCreedy is rich, old and to be honest, she's expecting to die (somewhat) soon.

So, now's the time to get a lot of those end-of-life things out of the way. Like where her vast fortune would go.

At first, she tries to meet her grandson for the first time...but much to he
Apr 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Octogenarian Veronica McCreedy doesn’t like mirrors, open doors, or bad tea.
She also finds most human company irksome, and deplores stupid questions so she pretends to be hard of hearing when it’s suits her.

When her “helper” Eileen finds an old wooden box, containing secrets have been safely locked away from prying eyes for over seventy years, memories resurface causing Veronica, who is quite alone in the World, to wonder who to leave her millions to. She wistfully removes the locket contained i
At first glance, this is not the type of book I usually read but I love penguins so took a chance and I'm so glad I did. The main character is just wonderful and the plot a delightful surprise.

Veronica McCreedy is a stubborn, curmudgeonly old woman living in Ayrshire. After a difficult upbringing in Britain during the war and then a childless marriage and divorce to a philanderer, she has kept to herself and made a lot of money but few friends. Although she has recently discovered a grandson ca
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Veronica McCreedy had reached "mid-octogenarian status". She lived in Ayrshire, Scotland in her mansion by the sea. Irregardless of the weather, she took a daily walk along the rugged Ayrshire coast, having a "particular liking for rocks, waves, and wilderness...[the] landscape empty of human beings". At age fifteen, ..."all my dreams evaporated into thin air...Life is now a trail of insignificant events..." "Human company is necessary at times, I admit, but it is almost irksome in one way or an ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drtbr2
Hazel Prior has a knack for spinning heartwarming, charming stories and How the Penguins Saved Veronica is another example. Plus, the main character is eighty-five; how special is that?!

Veronica no longer speaks to her family, and she’s searching for a worthy cause to which she will bequeath her fortune. A documentary about penguins in Antarctica inspires her to visit. Yes, Antarctica! I’d love to visit there, too, by the way.

While there, Veronica convinces the scientists they must save a baby p
Apr 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-reads, 2021
5 Adelie Penguin Stars

This one was a wonderful surprise! Veronica is in her eighties and used to doing things her way. She thinks she has no family to leave her considerable estate to but does some research just in case. They find her grandson Patrick and soon Veronica is setting up a meeting to see if he’s worthy.

Patrick has hit a rough patch in life after breaking up with a girlfriend, not working full-time, and he’s not quite sure what to make of Granny V! He and Veronica have an awkward firs
Diane Barnes
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
"There are three types of people in this world, Very. There are those who make the world worse, those who make no difference, and those who make the world better. Be one who makes the world better, Very, if you can."

Veronica McCreedy has always remembered this advice from her father, and looking back on things at the age of 85, decided she has made no difference at all. She's a very wealthy woman with no living relatives (she thinks), and wants to make things better for someone or something, bu
Eighty-five-year-old Veronica McCreedy had no one in her life, until she decided to set the right authorities on a search. Veronica lived in an old mansion called The Ballahays, in Ayrshire, was quite wealthy and had no idea who she would leave her considerable fortune to. She’d had a harsh childhood in the war years, and not all her memories were fond ones. But when a grandson was discovered, a young man by the name of Patrick, Veronica decided to meet him. Patrick lived in Bolton, and when she ...more
Renegade ♥
Aug 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars

Baby Penguin GIFs | Tenor

Kaye McSpadden
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
A light, feel-good book, but somewhat predictable and even tedious at times. The story is told (in 1st person) by two characters who are fairly unlikable for the first 2/3 of the story (Veronica: selfish, arrogant, judgmental; Patrick: immature, irresponsible, self-centered), but then -- as you, the reader, predicted -- *things* happen, their hearts are melted and they transform into sweet, kind people. Looking for a feel-good book? Look for a better one.
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Charming! This book is like a big mug of hot chocolate! Comforting and warms the cockles! A 86yr old lady goes to Antarctica to see the decline of the Adelie Penguin colony. This is a real easy read, occasionally it dips into cheesy and sentimentality but it’s an enjoyable read especially if you’re looking for a feel-good Christmas book.
Carolyn Walsh
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, rereading
I want to express my sincere thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for this wonderful, heartfelt ARC. This delightful gem of a book will take its place high on my favourite list. This is my second reading of this enjoyable book which also has an alternate title, Away With the Penguins. The author writes with compassion and insight into the human heart, especially its good and kind parts in human nature that are redeemable. I loved the characters and its setting. There were sections ...more
Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
Veronica McCreedy is in her mid-eighties and lives alone in Scotland. She has been divorced for many years and has not maintained any ties to her family. Her days are spent conversing with her small staff who tend to her personal needs while tending her home. She is lonely and isolated and often unpleasant. Recently, she decided that it’s time to select a beneficiary for her sizable fortune.

Veronica has been spending her evenings watching a television series about penguins in Antarctica. She dec
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-2
This is my second Hazel Prior book and I really enjoy her quirky character driven stories. Veronica is in her seventies, living on her own, and has lived a life marked by stark loneliness and tragedy. She has no one left. No family. Except… she discovers, she does. A long lost grandson she never knew about is discovered, and the book delves into his life, into her past coming of age during WW2, and a mission to Antarctica to be with the penguins (which was my favorite part of the book—penguins, ...more
4.5 stars. I loved every minute of this from start to finish. From cranky old Veronica to kinder Veronica with her new lease on life. From the baby penguin, Patrick, that the crew and V take in on their remote frozen island, to the grandson Patrick who comes into Veronica's life unexpectedly. A sheer delight of a story and one that will tug at the heartstrings.

It sounds like a light read but it also gently nudges into your stream of thoughts that we are ruining our environment and making many of
Seema Rao
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Here’s the thing...I get why people enjoy a feel good book like this one about finding new bonds with family and breaking old emotional habits. But it wasn’t the best, there are so many better ones.
Dec 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elderly Veronica McCreedy is such a grumpy but charming 85 year old lady who soon becomes enthused into visiting a scientific study of penguins in Antarctic having watched a documentary about them on TV.
The truth is that she's unsure what to do with her wealthy once she dies and even through she's asked her day carer Eileen to seek if she has any living relatives, Veronica lives quite an isolated life.

I really loved Veronica's determination to undertake the trip, with the added humour of her car
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such a cute book that had me literally laughing out loud! Veronica is probably one of my favourite characters this year for sure!

This deals with family ties, how your past defines you, and our environment. With a side of crazy and penguins!

A light and easy read, that will have you smiling and gasping in shock. There are som dark moments that are heart wrenching, but it’s needed to understand a certain 85 year old! What a hoot Veronica is!

Patrick didn’t seem like a 27 year old though - he is writ
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
this title is literally the best thing ever

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Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This is not a Christmas story but I particularly enjoyed reading it at this time of year as it works really well with Christmas themes; family, friendship, love, penguins and a small amount of cheese...loved it!
Aug 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Veronica is 85 years old and very set in her ways.
Eileen the lady who comes daily to take care of her has her work cut out because Veronica is not a people person.
When she watches a television programme about Amelie Penguins, Veronica decides that she must make a journey to Antarctica to see them for herself.
I loved this book it made me laugh and it made me cry. I just couldn’t put it down.
Lisa Wolf
Veronica McCreedy is a fussy, unfriendly, skeptical 85-year-old woman, living in her huge house in Scotland. She likes to be left alone, is sure that her memory is perfect (it’s not), and is, in general, fed up with the world, her housekeeper Eileen, and the hand life has dealt her.

While watching a nature program one evening, she stumbles across a documentary series focusing on penguins, and is instantly smitten. At the same time, Veronica’s memories of her ancient past are reawoken when Eileen
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Away With The Penguins (also titled How The Penguins Saved Veronica) is the second novel by British harpist and author, Hazel Prior. When home help, Eileen Turner brings forth from Veronica McCreedy’s back room a padlocked wooden box, she unwittingly sets in motion a series of events no seer could have predicted.

On seeing the box, Veronica (please call me Mrs McCreedy) is taken back some seventy years, not that she has any intention of divulging the private contents to a very curious Eileen. Bu
May 18, 2020 marked it as dnf
Shelves: arc-copy
I really tried to get into this book, but I just could not. I do not think it was a bad book, but I think this book was just not a book for me. I won an arc copy of this book for a goodreads giveaway.
Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice)
4.5 stars!

First of all, I’ve seen a ton of hype for Away With The Penguins on various online book groups, so that worried me a little bit. With the growing love for the story (and penguins!) how would I be feeling after the last chapter ended? The good news is that this book is a new favourite! Our main protagonist Veronica is eighty-five and one very sassy lady. She’s determined, obsessed with Penguins after watching a TV documentary on them and has Eileen looking after her. Except there’s two
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Away With the Penguins is a charming tale of family, second chances, and well...penguins, from Hazel Prior.

“I must try to do something before it’s too late. Not just something with my money but something with my life, whatever dregs are left of it.”

Veronica McCreedy is a brusque, eccentric, and wealthy old woman who lives alone in a large house on the south west coast of Scotland, with only her ‘daily’, Eileen, and a part-time gardener for company. One evening her favourite television programme
Penguins, life regrets, second chances - the brittle, brusque Veronica McCreedy who suddenly at age eighty-six abruptly heads off to Antarctica uninvited to visit imperilled penguins and whose life story we embrace on her crazy adventure. She suddenly finds her long lost great grandson, having been formerly bereft of any surviving family - and is quite miffed at the loser she comes upon when she goes to meet him for the first time. As a widow with substantial wealth, she’s decided to stop moping ...more
Susan Peterson
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love a book that makes me laugh, makes me cry—sometimes at the same time! This delightful and poignant story takes us to a penguin colony in Antarctica, where the penguins are able to bring peace and purpose to the lives of an elderly woman and her recently-discovered grandson. This is a novel of discovery, as we learn about the things in Veronica’s past that led her to this desolate location among thousands of Adelie penguins. The penguins steal the show, though, and the author places us righ ...more
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Hazel Prior is the author of ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER and Richard & Judy Book Club number one bestseller AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS (UK title)/HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA (US title). Her third book, CALL OF THE PENGUINS, will be out in the UK this November and is available to pre-order. Hazel is also a freelance harpist. She lives in Exmoor, in England, with her husband and a huge, ginger cat.

Other books in the series

Veronica McCreedy (2 books)
  • Call of the Penguins (Veronica McCreedy #2)

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