How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior ★★★★★ #BookReview #BookBlog

Primary Genre(s): Fiction, Adult Contemporary
Published: 16 June 2020 by Berkley (U.S.)  
Page count: 368 (paperback)
My Format: eBook via Overdrive
Cover: Cute
Pacing: Good  
Ending: Satisfying
Do I Recommend: Yes!
Commission Link (U.S.): Buy How the Penguins Saved Veronica

My rating: ★★★★★

Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick. Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.

She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).

Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway . . . And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.

But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this.

My Thoughts
I absolutely loved this author’s first novel Ellie and the Harpmaker and I was really excited to read her second book. Here are my pros and cons for How the Penguins Saved Veronica:


  1. The author has a wonderful ability to create an atmosphere and I love how the characters in her books learn to really appreciate the wonderful world around them. This story will take you to Antarctica and you will feel like you are there! Make sure you have some warm clothes handy while reading this book!
  2. Veronica is a solid character. I got upset with her behavior and actions more than once, and I realized that was because I cared about her! I wanted her to improve her disposition, update her outlook, adjust her expectations, and soften her opinions about so many things! She became a real person rather than just a character in a book. And thankfully, she made me love her in the end.
  3. The secondary characters were incredible as well. I particularly liked Patrick (Veronica’s recently found grandson) and Terry (the female researcher in Antarctica).
  4. It may not seem like it on the surface, but this is most assuredly a love story. Veronica learns to love both others and herself. It was a joy to read and experience her transition from a cantankerous old woman to a much kinder and more caring person. Everyone around Veronica seems to soften and change right along with her.
  5. PENGUINS! Need I say more?
  6. I loved how Veronica told Patrick about her life via her old journal. I tend to think that using a “found journal” to tell a backstory is overused and often ill-conceived. In this case I think it worked beautifully, because Veronica wasn’t the type of person to tell her story herself and she had a story that needed to be shared. Kudos to the author for doing this well!
  7. The ending was perfect.


  1. In the UK this book is known as Away with the Penguins. That is an awesome title and I don’t understand why the name had to change for the US audience. This isn’t a nitpick on the book itself, just something that don’t understand.

Veronica will steal your heart and you will love her adventure! This story is a great reminder to all of us that it is never too late to learn something new, never too late to change, and never too late to love. Veronica’s journey of self-discovery and love was moving, hopeful, heartwarming, and a joy to read.

Hazel Prior writes delightful stories with quirky, unique, and wonderful characters and I can’t wait for her to write another book!

If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy How the Penguins Saved Veronica. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Click here for a description of my rating scale.

(image from Goodreads)

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