The Runaway Year (The Runaway Series) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The Cornwall setting is just as much a character as the people - I felt like I'd travelled from the other side of the world, to Cornwall, to participate in this read!
If you're after a great read that will draw you in completely, a book about friendship and love, about changes and striving for more, then 'The Runaway Year' is for you. I can't wait to read more from the author, Shani Struthers.
Cultural differences aside, you won't be taken out of the story; in fact, you'll probably be pulled even further into it, because the characters created are as real as they get. They are beautifully flawed, wonderfully sharp women who are trying to figure out what they want from what they've got.
Love isn't easy, as the only married one, Penny, discovers. Her marriage is derailed after she snogs (that's "makes out" over this side of the Pond) Dylan. She accepts responsibility for it, but also hefts quite a bit of blame onto her husband, Richard, who works some crazy hours and neglects her. They had a hot and steamy romance before they were married...and it takes the entirety of the year for Penny to realize that Richard is in it for the long haul. They have to work hard to prove it to each other, though, and their story is a very well-crafted subplot.
Hannah has a man who is rare indeed - he loves and adores her enough to accept that he's her second-best. She feels guilty about that, but as Jim never makes a big deal out of it, Hannah tries to bury her feelings about her former boyfriend. The evolution of Hannah is drawn out in such a realistic way, that when she finally figures out what she wants from her life, you're cheering (literally out loud, in my case) for her to grab life by the horns and live it.
The main character, Layla, is probably the most flawed. She's in love with her boss, who's callously dumped her for a new intern. He's so slimy - everyone around her can see it, but she keeps her blinders on. He's an older man, and it's suggested by both Penny and Hannah that she looks to older men because of her daddy issues (her father died when she was young). While Layla doesn't blow that notion off completely, she does stand by her actions and decisions as her own - and I can really respect a character like that. When Layla meets Joe, the attraction is instant, and, for Layla, is scary. She's supposed to be getting over her love, but the feelings Joe stirs up make her question quite a bit about herself.
When Layla is (finally) ready to tell Joe how she feels, the poor girl is besieged by outside influences that fall into the story so naturally, even you start to get annoyed with the people around her (who, just pages earlier, you were laughing with and enjoying). The twists involving Joe and Layla, Joe and Hannah,Joe and Penny, Layla and Alex (her boss/ex), Layla and Mick (one of her friends, who's also friends with Joe and Hannah - oh yeah, the secondary characters aren't just fluff in this book!)....the misunderstandings are interesting, they're believable, and they are numerous.
After a just-long-enough ride of emotional ups and downs, obstacles (internal and external) and miscommunications, the ending of this novel - for all characters - is just how it should be. Happy sigh, indeed.
Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased and truthful review. I also lived in England and, by default, am predisposed to loving British women's fiction. :)
I gave The Runaway Year 3.5 leaves! This book was a great summer read. Very light and it went by very quickly. I was so jealous of Layla and her getaway to Trecastle. If it could really be considered a getaway seeing as she was asked to housesit a beach house there for a year. But come on, she gets to live on a beach! With a hot guy next door! And she writes to her heart's content. That is the life. I'll admit, it took a while for me to get into the story, but once Layla goes to Trecastle, I was hooked. I had to see what would happen between her and Joseph!
Well, there's a lot more drama than how I previously described Layla's situation. And I mean a LOT of drama. Actually, I think I threw my iPad at one point while reading. But, It's just so frustrating! So much tension, because Layla can't make up her mind about Joseph. I can't understand for the life of me why she thinks she loves Alex when she has Joseph right in front of her. She is so stubborn, which is a trait I fully understand, but still, she doesn't listen to anyone! And then, her best friend, don't even get me started on her. She drove me insane. Penny cheated on her amazing husband with Dylan, so they're rocky, of course. And then she thinks it's okay to go and get even more attention from him while her husband is cold towards her for cheating?! That has bad idea written all over it, and I am an expert on bad decisions. I was shaking my head every time the story switched to her point of view. I mean I've never been married or anything, but Penny doesn't handle her marriage situation well at all. Another thing about her was her incessant flirting! She even flirted with Joseph. Although Layla and Joseph were not talking more than they were in the book, as a best friend, Penny should have seen that they were into each other and respected that. It's okay though, because Penny gets her stuff together at the end and has a happily ever after. Hannah made me sad at times. She had an amazing relationship with Jim, but it took her forever to realize that she loved him back just as much. It didn't frustrate me as much as the other two did, but that might have been because we spend the least amount of time in her shoes.
All three girls have a bad case of having their head up their butts; yet, by the end we do fall in love with all of them. The Runaway Year has a happy ending all around. The way the story is written just makes it flow and it's all dream-like. I could just imagine it all in my head like a movie. I want to visit Trecastle so bad! Maybe I'll find my Joseph there too. I highly recommend this book as one of your summer reads, especially for those into chick lit! And I'm looking forward to more of Shani Struthers' work!