Title: The Women Who Ran Away
Author: Sheila O’Flanagan
Published: May 26th 2020
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 3 stars
The intriguing and life-affirming new novel from the author of the No. 1 bestsellers HER HUSBAND’S MISTAKE, THE MISSING WIFE and THE HIDEAWAY.
In Sheila O’Flanagan’s engrossing new novel, two women form an unlikely friendship as they face up to shocking truths about the men they’ve loved – and start to make their own decisions about what to do next…
‘One of my favourite authors’ Marian Keyes
Deira is setting out on the holiday she’d planned with her long-term partner Gavin… only she’s on her own. Gavin will not be amused when he finds out she’s ‘borrowed’ his car, but since their brutal break-up Deira’s not been acting rationally. Maybe a drive through beautiful France will help her see things differently…
Grace has been sent on a journey by her late husband, Ken. She doesn’t really want to be on it but she’s following his instructions as always. She can only hope that the trip will help her to forgive him. And then – finally – she’ll be able to let him go.
Thrown together by chance, Deira and Grace are soon motoring down the French highways, sharing intriguing stories of their pasts, as they each consider the future…
The Women Who Ran Away is established author Sheila O’Flanagan’s new novel. A story of fateful connections, friendship, grief, loss and acceptance, O’Flanagan’s latest will be sure to appeal to contemporary fiction fans.
In The Women Who Ran Away we meet two very different women who forge an unexpected relationship that spans an eventful trip across Europe. While exploring some of Europe’s most sought after destinations Deira and Grace learn a great deal about themselves on this epic adventure. It leads them to make some difficult choices about what they want in life, as well as how they should proceed with their future. For Deira, life has issued her with a huge curve ball. Deira’s husband has left her in quite spectacular circumstances. In an act of ultimate revenge, Deira takes her ex’s beloved sports car and sets off on a cross country sojourn across Europe. Deira hopes that this trip will allow her to make some alternative life plans. While Grace is sent on a scavenger hunt, thanks to her deceased husband. With strict instructions to complete a set treasure hunt from her late husband, Grace knows that she owes her husband this one last promise. But Grace is struggling to come to terms with her husband’s shock death and she hopes that this trip will help her to finally say goodbye. With the past, the present and the future all converging, each woman must make a decision about who they want to be once the trip comes to an end.
It feels like some time since I last picked up a Sheila O’Flanagan novel. I was a big fan of O’Flanagan’s work in my early twenties, when women’s fiction was the only genre I would read! I was drawn The Women Who Ran Away by the very inviting cover. The breezy, summer feel with an open gate signifying plenty of possibly seem to call to me. Sheila O’Flanagan’s latest was a quick read that I raced through in no time at all.
The locations featured in The Women Who Ran Away was the most enjoyable aspect of this story. O’Flanagan’s new novel covers a cosmopolitan trip across some of Europe’s most beautiful and picture perfect cities. The scenario of two very different women crossing paths and coming together on an unexpected road trip appealed to me. O’Flanagan’s descriptions of the destinations featured in the travel aspects of the novel were well realised. It was a nice feeling to be invited along on this European escapade.
Deira and Grace are the central characters of The Women Who Ran Away. Both have their own past histories and personal baggage, which the reader works to unpack as the novel progresses. Each woman is haunted by their own separate issues. These personal problems include grief, loss, suicide, infidelity, infertility and marriage breakdown. These are common problems that will be sure to strike a chord with a wide audience. I do have to be honest though and confess that I struggled to connect with both women and the overall storyline arc.
There are some different touches to this novel, including the treasure hunt issued by Grace’s late husband which involves quite a few literary references. I am a fan of some of the literary figures mentioned, this aspect of the story did offer an interesting side distraction. I also appreciated the coordinate references that headed each chapter opening, I think this was a good strategy to situate the reader in the different location interchanges that occur during the novel.
All in all, The Women Who Ran Away was just an okay read for me, it was a light enough to carry me through a few weeknight reading sessions. Fans of O’Flanagan’s work will no doubt appreciate this one.
The Women Who Ran Away by Sheila O’Flanagan was published by Hachette Australia on May 26th 2020. $29.99.
To learn more about the author of The Women Who Ran Away, Sheila O’Flanagan, visit here.
*Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.