Book Review: The Runaway

8 Jun

Shortly before her eighteenth birthday, Rhiannon Morgan runs away from the remote Welsh village of Llandymna. Camping out in Dyrys Woods, she starts to make a new life for herself. In the woods she finds space for her active imagination — weaving together the stories she loves and memories of her past, including the mother she lost thirteen years ago.

Back in the village, Rhiannon’s disappearance triggers a series of events that uncover the cracks in Llandymna’s quiet surface. Relationships become frayed as a young police officer is forced to investigate his neighbors, and the village’s elderly storyteller hints at a secret that the older generation has kept for decades. But as painful as the village’s past may be, it may hold the key for hope in the present . . . .

 

 

Claire Wong is a writer originally from Wales, who lives in a two hundred year old stone cottage in Yorkshire.

 

My Impressions:

The power of story is one of the main themes of Claire Wong’s debut novel, The Runaway. Stories can hurt or heal, convict or cover up, bring peace or create turmoil. And as story is the center of her novel, it is only right that she has produced a well-crafted novel with a fairy tale-like essence. Beautiful prose, complex and compelling characters, and a story to make you ponder — all elements in this highly recommended book.

Rhiannon is desparate to escape the village that confines her body and imagination. After a shouting match with her aunt, Rhiannon runs to the forest that borders the town of Llandymna. Dyrys Wood is the place of legends and folklore and the place Rhiannon believes will bring her peace and comfort. But Llandymna is not far enough away for a true escape.

As stated above, Wong’s prose is beautifully articulated with a once upon a time quality, although the time period is contemporary. The confining village of Llandymna and the vastness of the forest can be felt by the reader. Sense of place is very important in The Runaway and is almost a secondary character. Real characters, main and secondary, are well-developed with relatable emotions and motives. Pettiness and nobility are on display within the pages of this novel and certainly mirror real life. The book is told in Rhiannon’s first person perspective, as well as a third person point of view — very effective in bringing about a complete narrative. This book contains several runaways, some new and others from the forgotten past. All bring perspective on the characters’ willingness to see the truth as they want it displayed.

The Runaway is a bit of a coming of age story, for both the main characters and the village itself. Village life is rather simple, yet below the surface, undeniably complex There is much to think about, making this book a good choice for book clubs.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: older teens to adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel and Lion Hudson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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