Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus

Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus by Joyce Magnin

Book Review

Widow Harriet Beamer is a bastion of responsibility to all who know her.
She is a creature of habit. She runs her life like clockwork.

For fifteen years she has faithfully served as a proud member of the Shake It Up novelty salt-and-pepper shaker club.

Each Christmas, she lovingly bakes over a thousand butter spritz cookies for her neighbors.

She spoils her rescue hound, Humphrey, with sardines and glazed donuts.

She keeps an immaculate house.

She plays Bingo every Thursday night.

She loves to make small wagers now and then – wagers that are easy to honor, especially considering she has never lost a bet.

Yes, Harriet Beamer is a creature of habit. She runs her life like clockwork. She is an extremely honest woman – and an extremely lucky one. But Harriet’s luck – and life – are about to profoundly change.

When Harriet has the misfortune of taking a tumble – her fourth – moments before concerned son, Henry and daughter-in-law, Prudence arrive for their Christmas visit, Harriet is baited into making a high-stakes bet with Prudence:

If Harriet’s ankle is broken, she will sell her house and move to California to live the rest of her days with them.

If Harriet’s ankle is fine, she will remain in Pennsylvania – in her own home – for as long as she wishes.

Three hours later, the hospital confirms that the odds were not with Harriet that day.

So – four months later – Harriet finds herself packing up her belongings and preparing to leave behind the house that her husband Max built – and the only life that she has ever known – to go to Grass Valley, since she would rather honor her bet than be known forever-more as a welsher.

But, as she packs her salt and pepper shakers – collected from exotic places all around the world – she finds a deep melancholy growing within her. At age 72, she finds herself wondering:

Has she outlived her usefulness?
Does God still have a plan for her life?

Then – a lightbulb goes off in her head. She gets a grand idea. She will honor her bet… She will move to California… She will live with Henry and Prudence… But – she will do it her way.

So, she puts Humphrey on the plane as planned… And Harriet Beamer, who has never traveled anywhere except the Jersey shore, makes plans to travel to California and see the country – by bus and any alternative means of transportation available!

And so begin the heartwarming, heart-pounding and hilarous adventures of Harriet Beamer!

In Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus, Joyce Magnin has created a delightful tale with a protagonist that readers will love and root for at every step of her journey! You will not want to put this book down – and you will not want Harriet’s adventure to end! If you are looking for the perfect book to read on your summer vacation – this is it!

On a personal note, I cannot decide whether to share this book with my mother, who I believe would greatly enjoy the story – or to hide it from her, for fear she might be inspired to emulate Harriet!

I cannot wait to read Harriet Beamer Strikes Gold – which is slated for a 2013 release – as announced on Harriet Beamer’s blog!

Harriet Takes The Bus – Promotional Video

If you are reading this book review in a format where you cannot see the video, click here.

Joyce Magnin

Joyce Magnin

Joyce Magnin is a Pennsylvania author, writing instructor and conference speaker whose novels include the popular and quirky Bright’s Pond series and the middle grade novel, Carrying Mason. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys watching American Idol, raising her son Adam, hanging out with her crazy nacho-eating cat Mango, and caring for an eighty-year old onion plant.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from Zondervan via Shelton Interactive for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

34 Responses to “Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Evelyn says:

    What a fun sounding story. I love spunky mature ladies:) Thank you for sharing at Freedom Fridays!

  2. Kelly says:

    Sounds like a great book. Thank you for sharing it with us at NOBH.

  3. Thanks for this review! I’m always on the hunt for a good book. Feel free to stop by my blog anytime- I’m currently hosting my July giveaway and I host a weekly link party called “This Week the Trend” that I’d love for you to join! I hope you’re having a great weekend!


  4. diane says:

    Just joined the Ramblings of a Christian Mom blog hop and hopped by. Love your blog and am following. Check out mine when you have time!
    Look forward to your posts!

  5. Nicole@Show Off Friday Blog Hop says:

    Thanks for another great book review! Thanks for stopping by and linking up. I hope you are having a fantastic weekend.

  6. amy says:

    This looks like a wonderful book! And a great one to add to my summer reading pile. Thank you so much for sharing it. (And for linking up with NOBH!) Smiles –

  7. mel says:

    Aw- sounds like a great book! I am definitely adding it to my summer reading list. Thank you:)

  8. Blond Duck says:

    Popped in from SITS! That sounds like a really fun book!

  9. Winter says:

    This looks like good fun. And I am a little new to videos promoting books, but I love the idea. Thanks for sharing!

    Popping over from SITS!

    • Glad you enjoyed the video! I think they’re a lot of fun and have been including them whenever I find one I like! There are actually a few more for this book on You Tube – one featuring Humphrey the Basset Hound and one featuring Harriet’s Salt and Pepper collection! 🙂

  10. Diane says:

    Sounds like a fun book. Thanks for linking up and sharing your review.

  11. Teresa says:

    That does sound like a wonderful book!

  12. Heather says:

    Sounds like fun!

  13. I read this book! Isn’t she something? Not long afterward, my sister bought me a set of miniature salt and pepper shakers, something nobody had EVER given me before. I laughed and thought, “if I start now, I could have a collection like Harriet’s in 20 years!”

    • How awesome Catherine! I thought of all the salt and pepper shakers I used to buy as gifts when I was a child… wonder if they are worth something now – never knew you could learn so much about a culture through them until I read this book! 🙂

  14. VBR says:

    love to stop by and read your book reviews. this is one that will be read.

  15. anita says:

    sounds like a wonderful book!

  16. Sounds good! What an adventure she must have! I’ll have to look out for it.
    Give it to your mom — let her spread her wings! Maybe she’ll take the train back! 😀

  17. Erika says:

    This sounds like a book I might enjoy. I laughed at the comment about your mom.

    • I hope you check it out – the book was an absolute delight and I cannot wait until she releases her follow up next summer!
      My Mom SO reminds me of Harriet – trust me, she does not need any ideas!
      For all I know, Joyce got the inspiration to write about Harriet from my mom! 🙂

  18. Maureen says:

    Great review! I want to read this book, now.

  19. Trish says:

    Sounds like a nice light read when you just want to relax. 🙂

  20. Oh hooray!

    I’m going to see if I can reserve this book at the library. It sounds EXACTLY like a perfect summer read!

    Thank you!

    And thanks for linking this to the letter ‘H’.



  1. […] I am enjoying delving into great books like Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus! […]

  2. […] Book Of The Week Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus by Joyce Magnin […]

  3. Review: Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus, by Joyce Magnin | Tenacity says:

    […] Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus (create-with-joy.com) Share this:FacebookTwitterPinterestEmailMoreStumbleUponRedditDiggTumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. October 8, 2012 by Janet Sketchley Categories: Reviews | Tags: Christian fiction, contemporary fiction, Reviews | Leave a comment […]

Thanks for visiting Create With Joy! Your comments are greatly appreciated!


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.