Friday, July 08, 2016

Book Review -- The Runaway Wife

The Runaway Wife by Elizabeth Birkelund transported me to a world I've never visited, to an oasis high in the Swiss Alps where a woman can be her true self, unworried about the world.
The book begins with Jim, an overworked financial investor who hasn't had a vacation in 8 years taking a vacation with a friend. They hike in the Swiss Alps and at a remote hut, they meet three
sisters who entice them to search for the women's lost mother. The mother was raised in the Alps, but she has never stayed gone so long. They fear for her safety with snow coming. She also happens to be the wife of a man running for the presidency in France. The press recently revealed that man had a mistress and a baby, so the wife disappeared. Every day, the man sent a helicopter into the Alps searching for his wife so he could bring her home.
Jim decides to take up the challenge, and what he finds changes his life and his dreams.
Here's an excerpt:

The melodic singing drew closer but was interrupted by a long, drawn-out cough. Jim had not noticed her coughing yesterday. He looked out the window. She was hanging laundry -- sheets, lingerie, a long white nightgown -- on a clothesline. Her slim body weaved in and out of the laundry so that he could never see more than a part of her at any time.
He could not resist returning to the window for one more glimpse of Calliope's dance among the billowing sheets and clothing. She looked like a woman at sea amid the sails of a ship.
And later, the beauty of the Alps is reiterated.

He'd heard the term Alpenglow,  but this was the first time he'd witnessed it. The enormous bowl of the sky was lit from below by the amber light of the setting sun. The few snowfields nestled inside crevices in distant peaks glowed a deep mauve.
Doesn't that make you want to see it yourself? It does for me.
The entire time that the characters were hiding in the Alps, I wanted to be there to experience it myself. Very beautifully written.

As an author myself, I've been warned about the squishy middle of a book, the part that makes reader drop a novel and not pick it up again, but Birkelund does not have that problem. The middle of her book is enthralling.
The beginning of the book could have been stronger to lure readers into that middle, but I promise that if you stick with it a few chapters, you'll be rewarded.


Jacqueline Brown said...

Looks like one to add to my Amazon list, thank you.

Roz . Russell said...

As you know my dear virtual friend I am not a book reader but the alps always look great on the tour de France and it sure is on my bucket list

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