The Runaway Wife, by Rowan Coleman (2013)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Interest Level: Adult
The Runaway WifeRose Pritchard makes the drastic, life-changing decision to leave her abusive husband, Richard. Leaving with the clothes on her back and little else, she drives off with her daughter, Maddie, to the Lake District of northern England. She clings desperately to the memory of Fraser McCleod, a stranger who once showed her a kindness. A postcard of Millthwaite is the only link Rose has to this man, and with nowhere else to turn, she heads north. Rose and Maddie settle at a bed and breakfast, run by the irascible Jenny and kind Brian. From there, Rose begins to explore her options and face the truths and lies that kept her trapped in her loveless marriage. Rose tentatively uncovers her past and her present, and begins to build hopes for the future as she finds both Frasier and the fun-loving Ted. She also, unexpectedly, finds the father who abandoned her at age nine. From trying on new clothes to new ways of looking at the world, Rose explores her new self and begins to imagine a future without fear. It’s no surprise she behaves erratically – giddy and reckless, repressed, untrusting and ill-tempered. Rose’s awkward fumbles with her emotions for all the new men in her life ring true, and Coleman paints an honest portrait of a woman adjusting every single aspect of her life, as she learns to question her long-held assumptions about love, family, and her future. Best friend Shona serves as a terrific counterpoint, a sexy, smart-mouthed and occasionally foul-mouthed delight, offering laugh-out-loud moments in contrast to the Richard’s looming menace. I particularly enjoyed Maddie’s character – her awkwardness and lack of social skills never quite explained but simply accepted. The romance was a little heavy-handed at times, and inconvenient partners are too easily managed, but overall a bit of chick-lit that wasn’t too sweet. Thanks to NetGalley for providing an advance reading copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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