#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Runaway Wife’ by Dee Macdonald #Women’sFiction #BookReview

Today I offer you a review of a hilarious, heart-warming novel about Connie, wife, mother, grandmother, extraordinaire, who at 66 has decided she’s had enough of them all and sets out on a journey of self-discovery!

The Runaway Wife: A laugh out loud feel good novel about second chances by [MacDonald, Dee]

From the Blurb

One evening in early August, while mashing the potatoes for dinner, Connie McColl decides she’s had enough…

Connie is tired of solving one family crisis after another – usually involving her unruly grandchildren – while her husband Roger spends all day at his beloved golf course. Surely it must be time for her to shake off her apron and start living again?

So Connie packs a bag, gets in her little green car and drives off…

As Connie journeys from England to Scotland on an unexpected adventure, she finally begins to rediscover herself. And she starts to wonder, will she ever be ready to return home? Or will this summer change her life forever?

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My Review

There are so many reasons why I loved this book!

It’s hilarious, heart-warming (did I already say that? well that’s because it’s very-heartwarming, indeed!), optimistic, adventurous, interesting, realistic, romantic, sad, and ultimately uplifiting, because Connie reminds us that it’s never too late, for anything!

I’ve had a very eventful Christmas-New Year festivities. catering for my three children and four grandchildren has been fun, but exhausting, and although my husband, fortunately, is nothing like Roger, (and by the way, no-one’s husband should be anything like Roger), there were moments when I felt, just like Connie. I wanted to say, “Look, I’ve had enough of cooking, shopping, advising, counselling, being understanding, playing with the kids, babaysitting, and generally supporting everyone’s family! I want my own life back!”

Connie’s travels from Sussex to Inverness are such fun. I enjoyed all the different types of people she meets and the enriching and diverse awakenings she narrates.

She garners unforgettable experiences and meets some amazing people, who will help her understand her past and embrace her future with renewed optimism. In spite of the last, shocking encounter when she returns home, Connie can cope because she’s become stronger and more assertive than she’s ever been.

Especially for anyone who enjoys reading well-written, humorous, women’s fiction set in the UK. The Runaway Wife is a real gem! A different and exceptional novel.

I’ve discovered a new favourite author. Next on my list is her latest novel, The Silver Ladies of Penny Lane.

The Silver Ladies of Penny Lane: An absolutely hilarious feel good novel by [MacDonald, Dee]

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Dee MacDonald

The Runaway Wife is Dee’s first (published) novel but in fact she wrote her very first book – at around seven years of age! This was a love story which she duly illustrated before sewing all the pages together up one side. Writing was what she ‘was good at’ in school and she won several essay competitions, but then life got in the way and she didn’t pick up a pen again until after retirement.

Dee left Scotland and headed for London at the beginning of the swinging sixties. After typing her way round the West End she became an air stewardess on long haul routes with BA (then BOAC) for eight years. After that she did market research at Heathrow for both the government statistics and for BA, she became a sales rep., and was the receptionist at the Thames Television Studios in Teddington when they had the franchise.

She then ran a small B&B for ten years in Cornwall, where she lives with her husband. Dee has one son and two grandsons who live locally.

Dee’s Amazon UK link

Dee’s Amazon.com link

#FridayFictioneers ‘A Visit to the Loom’ #FlashFiction

It’s Friday, time for another Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction story featuring Alice Pendragon and her family! On this occasion, Alice is telling her mother about a school trip to a loom.

Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting the challenge and to Sandra Crook for this week’s photo prompt.

PHOTO PROMPT© Sandra Crook

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A Visit to the Loom

Alice jumped onto her mother’s lap, squashing a noisy kiss on her cheek.
A pencil held Sharon’s unruly caramel hair on the top of her head as she marked final exams. “How was your school trip, sunshine?” 
“I discovered dad’s a warp and you’re the weft.”
Sharon sighed, hoping Alice wasn’t in one of her moods, or her father would insist on going back to the therapist. 
“Dad’s stationary and stiff and you weave your way round. Together you make cloth.”
Sharon burst out laughing. “Not cloth, we made a magnificent tapestry, which is weft-faced, your warp threads are completely hidden.”
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My ‘Alice’ flash fiction written for the Friday Fictioneers Challenge can be mostly read as standalones, but if you’re interested in reading previous stories of Alice’s adventures, here they are! 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by Emma Healey #Amreading #Bookreviews

Today I’m reviewing Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey.

Blurb

In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging—an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud’s rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?

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My Review

I’d heard a great deal about ‘Elizabeth is Missing’, and I had been meaning to read it for a long time, as I knew it was about an elderly lady who suffered dementia. It’s a subject which interests me personally and I was intrigued about how the author approached this illness in a novel.

I was not disappointed in this poignant, yet humorous novel, which deals with memory, identity and aging.

The narrator, Maud, is 82 and she is suffering from dementia. Maud is moving in with her daughter, Helen, and her granddaughter, whom she often forgets, however her long-term memory is vivid albeit sketchy.

Maud is obsessed with finding her friend and neighbour, Elizabeth, whom she insists is missing. Her obsessive search, including trips to the police station, are some of the most humorous parts of the novel.

However, her confused mind is also still searching for a sister who disappeared when she was a teenager, in 1946. Past and present are entwined in the narration as we see events from her confused point of view.

I enjoyed the first part very much, however the second half dragged for me, as I anxiously waited for the plot to move forward, which didn’t happen until the last two chapters, where the mystery is unveiled.

I enjoyed the originality of the novel and Maud’s first person narration. Many unreliable narrators in contemporary novels are manipulative or downright wicked, but Maud’s confused voice is honest, believable, humourous and heartbreaking.

Readers can expect a slow burn mystery told from the unique perspective of an endearing and unwittingly humorous, main character who is suffering from dementia.

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Elizabeth is Missing is a very special novel. It is Emma Healey’s debut and was named best first novel at the Costa Book Awards 2015. Maud was was inspired by the author’s grandmothers. 
US Buy Link
UK Buy link 
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