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Away with the Penguins

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  15,864 ratings  ·  1,852 reviews
Eighty-five-year-old Veronica McCreedy is estranged from her family and wants to find a worthwhile cause to leave her fortune to.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 19th 2020 by Bantam Press (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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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,864 ratings  ·  1,852 reviews

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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
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
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
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
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Diane Barnes
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brenda by: marlin1
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
Carolyn Walsh
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
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!
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
this title is literally the best thing ever

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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
Seema Rao
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.
Alice (Married To Books)
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
May 18, 2020 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
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.
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Kaye McSpadden
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.
Rachel Rawson
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I had seen of people say how much they had enjoyed this book and I was in a book slump. I am so glad I decided to pick up this book it made me laugh, cry, giggle and ponder. I adored the main character Veronica as she was so different to how most elderly characters are portrayed in books. But the main stars of the show were the penguins they capture your soul. From this book I would love to go and see them in the wild.
away with the penguins

Visit the locations in the novel

First of all a warning – there is a cute overload of penguins. At the same time, this novel is very poignant and may end up with you shedding a tear or two.

Veronica has to be one of the funniest, misunderstood and charming characters in fiction. I warned to her wit and moans about life immediately. Snippets include mutterings about how people who throw litter on the beach should be shot for example. Don’t drink orange juice when reading unless you want it coming
Nabilah Firdaus
Dec 23, 2020 rated it liked it
I have a weakness for stories about the elders, which was the ultimate reason why I chose to pick this one up. What is not to love about a tale of a curmudgeon who is obsessed with penguins and a little adventure in Antarctica?

“You can’t ever have too many penguins. They’ve got a different sort of energy to humans. It’s more fundamental and earthy. They don’t agonize over things. They don’t have issues.”

A meditation on love and loss, Away With the Penguin follows Veronica McCreedy, a wealthy ei
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
T. Rosado

4 Stars

I loved Hazel Prior’s first novel, Ellie and the Harpmaker (4.5 stars) and had excitedly waited for another one. I’ll be honest and say that the premise of this book didn’t initially appeal to me. It took some promising reviews to urge me to give it a shot and I discovered that this author is truly a delightful and consistent writer.

I also wasn’t sure when I actually started reading the book. The elderly Veronica was much too brusque and opinionated. While I assumed there would be some c
This book has to be one of my top reads of 2020! It’s charming, witty, humorous and filled with amazing characters that I fell in love with! And those penguins are adorable! The author took me on a fun-filled and informative trip to Antarctica where a group of scientists study Penguins and their habitat. Due to funding their project may be cut short. Along comes 85 year old Veronica to save the day. She is a force to deal with, stuck in her ways and doesn’t take no for an answer. She also has a ...more
Aug 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit-read
This is a story about an eighty-five year old Scottish woman trying to find some meaning to her life and who decides to join a penguin research team in Antartica. It was a pleasant read but I felt that there was something missing. It took about half the book to get on with the story as it was rather slow. Antarctica was a creative setting and the story even taught you a thing or two about penguins. Still, I was hoping it would be like A Man Called Ove, but the writing was not quite as good. Over ...more
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Hazel Prior is the author of ELLIE AND THE HARP MAKER and AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS (UK title)/HOW THE PENGUINS SAVED VERONICA (US title). She is also a freelance harpist. She lives in Exmoor, in England, with her husband and a huge, ginger cat.

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