What a fun book! At the age of 10 in 1914, Margery Benson’s father introduces her to the “mythical” golden beetle of New Caledonia, an island in the South Pacific. She is determined one day to find specimens for the Natural History Museum in London. Margery does not give up her quest and in 1950 decides to take the expedition. She needs adequate funds, equipment, and an assistant. Her assistant, Enid Pretty, is an energetic young counterpart to Margery and they have little in common. Also Enid is hiding something in her red valise that no one can touch.
Enid’s outgoing nonstop personality is good for Margery, and Margery’s solid well thought-out plans are good for Enid. As the weeks go by family histories and secrets are revealed. Eventually the two women become friends sharing the ups and the downs on the expedition.
I thoroughly recommend this novel. It will make my list of top ten for the year.