Friday, December 20, 2013

Review: The Runaway Wife

The Runaway Wife
By Rowan Coleman
Published: November 12, 2013

My review:

Rose has known more than her share of heartache. When she was a young girl her parents divorced and her father left them. Even before he left, he was so absorbed in his work that he often forgot she was there. After he leaves, her mother falls into a deep depression, eventually committing suicide. Then at the tender age of seventeen, Rose meets and falls in love with Richard, a man who is several years her senior but he swoops in like her knight in shining armor. Soon however she realizes that she is trapped in a controlling marriage and when one night Richard takes things too far, she knows she has to take their young daughter and get out.

Rose makes her way to Millthwaite, a small town where Richard would never think to look for her. It is the location depicted in a postcard sent to her years ago by a stranger who showed her kindness one day. She has never been able to forget him and she hopes that if she finds him she will know what to do next. 

At the beginning of the book, Rose is a victim and she doesn't appear to have much sense aside from getting herself and her daughter out of a scary situation. She seems to live in a fairy tale world where she waits to be rescued. If not for her young daughter Maddie who needs her to be strong I think Rose would have fallen apart. Thankfully, Rose grows stronger through the help of friends and most importantly by working through the damage she experienced both through Richard and through her dad's abandonment. It was really nice to see Rose start to stand up for herself towards the end of the book.

I really liked the secondary characters in this book. From Jenny the nosy innkeeper and her flirty son Ted to Frasier the kind and handsome art agent and Shona, Rose's loud-mouthed and big-hearted best friend, the secondary characters all help Rose on her journey to independence.  I loved the village setting and the way that Rose becomes a part of the community. Jenny may have grudgingly helped Rose in the beginning but she does have a soft heart buried deep down. Her son is charming if a little too much and he helps Rose to heal just by being nice and flirting with her. Frasier sometimes annoyed me by his confusing behavior towards Rose but he was a decent guy. Shona is one of my favorite characters and I wished we'd seen more of her towards the end of the story because she sort of disappears from the narrative. I loved the scenes when she was purposely irritating Jenny. So funny!

Rose's daughter Maddy is initially difficult to like but I grew to understand her behavior and to like her a little bit more. I also appreciated Rose's grouchy father and I loved the second chance they had to develop a relationship and family. I liked the descriptions of the art and how his art brought them all together.

What I liked most of all about this novel is that it is not just a story about a woman escaping an abusive relationship. It is about all kinds of relationships and the way that holding on to baggage from the past can damage your present life. Rose has to let go of the pain she has from her childhood and her marriage in order to move on and really live life fully. I really liked being on that journey with her and meeting all the kindhearted and quirky people along the way. I'd suggest this book to fans of Liane Moriarty and women's fiction in general.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of Edelweiss and the publisher


  1. I don't know if I'm interested in reading this at this time but I wonder if my mom would as she tends to read women's fiction and I like looking for recommendations for her. I'm glad it's about more than escaping an abusive relationship and hopefully has some lighter moments to balance the more serious.


Reading Extensively is now an award free blog. Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment. I enjoy receiving feedback! Due to increase in spam, I've enabled comment moderation. Sorry for any inconvenience!