An Accidental Jubilee by Alice Warrender

This is a very brave and inspiring memoir of an extraordinary journey, a working example of Susan Jeffer's exhortation to Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway! On a personal pilgrimage following a horrendous accident, Alice Warrender does not shy at taking the reader deep into the shadows of her own soul as she walks, often in pain, towards her goal of Rome and the self-understanding she knows the journey will reveal. Her tale is well told, frankly written, enlivened by a wonderful clarity in her descriptions of the characters and situations she encounters along the way. A good and very interesting read. - Caro 

I initially bought this book as the author went to the same school as I did, once I started reading it I found it hard to put down. I have always enjoyed reading books about unusual travels and the trials every day brings. This book is written in the style of a diary or daily jounal which makes it easy to read on a train or bus or any short journey where you can follow Alice's travels day by day and read as much or as little as your day allows. I found the observations about other peoples lives interesting and this book shows another side to the countries we think we know, get off the well trodden path and it shines a light on rural life as seen by a traveller. I rate this book up there with Laurie Lee's As I walked out one midsummer morning. It is more concise and it shows you can still walk across Europe in relative obscurity under your own steam and finding goodwill in unusual places 80 years after Laurie Lee walked through Spain. This is a book which will be enjoyed by potential pilgrims, anyone intereted in travel or anyone looking for inspiration to take on a journey of discovery. I was glad I bought the book. - Gavin Longy 

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This is an amazing diary of courage and sheer grit overcoming not only a major trauma but also her personal demons. It is a truly uplifting story which brings out her depth of character and spiritual strength and hopefully enables her to find inner peace. You cannot be anything but spell-bound and full of admiration for Alice. Not to be missed. - Scilla 

This is a brave book about an extraordinary journey on a personal and a spiritual level. Alice plumbs the heights and depths of solo travel, the friendships made and kindnesses received from strangers contrast with the fears of lonliness and the struggle with personal demons. It is her frankness and honesty that make such a revealing and compelling read. Preconceived views of places or the belief that food is always good in France and Italy can no longer be a given. It is a real eye-opener to travel slowly with her off the beaten track and meet life in the raw. I hope her long-suffering feet have recovered from a truely courageous journey. - Anne Coltman

The Via Francigena pilgrimage route from Canterbury to Rome is 2083kms. Alice Warrender walked it alone in search of 'a more fulfilling life' following the trauma of being found sprawled beside her bicycle in a London street and having had surgery for an extradural haematoma - bleeding in the space between the skull and brain. 'I am struggling to find any answers,' she writes despairingly at one point as she crosses France. But still she carries on despite physical pain, exhaustion and, on occasions, fear. For the reader, as for Alice, it turns into a remarkable journey of discovery. - M. Douglas Home 

This book should be read by one and all, particularly by those of us who have yet to go on a pilgrimage. Alice, you take us with you on your journey- which was momentous from every possible point of view. Your descriptions of the "refuges"in which you stayed, are graphic, as are the vignettes of the people whom you met.

The icing on your literary cake was the enigmatic ending. Congratulations. - ALG 

At first I felt this book was too long and repetitive, quite hard going. But by the end I realised that it was just this length and hard going that give the book its strange compelling charm. - David

Alice Warrender's story of her journey from Canterbury to Rome is much more than the usual travelog. It is about her recovery from an horrific bicycle accident to re-discovering her confidence and purpose in life. Towards the end of her 2080 kms journey, she realises 'for the first time ever I want to live, I want to pursue a life that develops the fulfilment of my soul and I no longer feel the pull of suicide.' It is truly a message for today - a story of courage and determination - that gives hope and opitimism in our European culture that is so often content with mediocrity, obedience and 'health & safety.' Read it and be inspired - especially if you are under 30! - Kit

Alice Warrender is an old soul on young shoulders and her journey to Rome is as spiritually uplifting as it is physically gruelling. She reminds us of the simplest pleasures in life - the random kindness of a stranger in some remote village would lift her flagging spirits and send her happily on her way. Sometimes funny and always acutely observed this is a remarkable journey of recovery and discovery. - Suzie

Each night before I close my eyes to sleep I am sharing Alice's journey by turning the pages of her compelling book 'An Accidental Jubilee'. This modest and determined young woman tells the story of her walk from Canterbury to Rome. The tale makes fascinating reading, made all the more endearing by the honesty of her human observations. - Andrea Jones 

A vivid, moving and brave account of Alice's pilgrimage to Rome. Written from the heart, Alice outlines her thoughts, feelings and emotions day by day; it is her shear sense of bravery, religion and determination that help her reach her goal. An inspirational read. - Liz Sebag-Montefiore

A fascinating tale of personal challenges set and overcome, this is a sometimes harrowing but always perceptive story about an unusual journey both physical and mental. I thoroughly recommend it. - C.Balfour

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