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The Runaway Daughter by Joanna Rees | book tour

When I read the blurb of The Runaway Daughter, I was aware this isn’t the sort of fiction I usually pick up. But, as the lovely people from Macmillan sent it to be to review, I set aside my preconceptions and started reading.

I was very pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was hooked. I would categorise The Runaway Daughter as an easy summer read – it’s part romance, part coming of age story and part self-discovery for the protagonist. It feels fast-paced, mainly due to the short chapters that switch between scenes. But for a new girl caught up in the hectic world of London, this seems entirely appropriate.

The characters are likeable, if at times a little predictable. Yet, as Anna grows into her new persona, Vita, she becomes a girl with guts, after all, working your way through 1920’s London society is no easy feat. After a somewhat bumpy start, Vita soon has a job, a bed to sleep in and a selection of friends.

There are, of course, hiccups along the way. Anna leaves her Lancashire roots behind her, and with them her brother. But unbeknown to Anna, Lancashire’s grip over her never truly disappears, leaving a shadow over her otherwise glamourous lifestyle. Vita is also naïve to a lot of the world; she gets taken advantage of, she also presumes too much from others. She even seems scared of herself at times.

At least there are plenty of strong female characters to learn from. Nancy shows Vita how a woman can be independent and self-sufficient in a society that still expects a woman’s place to be that of a wife and mother. The other show girls, put their own enjoyment and happiness above society’s expectations. And Vita, too, manages to make it – she’s eventually confident in London, happy to explore life through her flapper-girl persona. For a novel set in the 20’s, when women didn’t even have the vote – I think that’s pretty impressive.

Published by Macmillan, The Runaway Daughter is the first novel of A Stitch in Time trilogy. Follow the book tour by visiting these wonderful blogs:

The details:

Published: 22 August 2019

RRP: £7.99

Blog tour · book review · books · reading · review

The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber | Blog tour

I don’t often read historical fiction, I’m even less likely to read American historical fictions – it’s just something I don’t know very much about. However, it’s always liberating to read a book I wouldn’t normally pick up and find out that I enjoy a new category of fiction. So when The Glovemaker came my way, I was intrigued.

Low in the canyon, a tiny town called Junction is home to a collection of families. It should be a place of relative safety. But this place attracts those hiding from the state’s Marshal and his deputies, those people who practise polygamy – and when the those people arrive Junction is no longer safe.

We follow the arrival of one such man in the late hours of a January evening. The snow is deep in Utah and it’s unusual for a Saint – as the Mormons call themselves –  to arrive at this time of year asking for refuge. This is where we follow Sister Deborah and her neighbour Brother Nel as they attempt to pass the Saint to a safe place. However, it’s not long until the Marshal turns up…

It took me a few chapters to get into the rhythm of Weisgarber’s writing, but her style soon gripped me into following the life of this tiny town. I was pulled into the description of canyon country; of the deep snow and harsh land. Weisgarber’s strong characters are driven by resilience and determination – but they must answer their own moral questions along the way.

There’s a clear depiction of the hardship women face; Sister Deborah’s character is as obedient as you’d expect to find in 1888. And it makes you realise how far women (and feminists) have come from the days of doing what you’re told. It’s clear Deborah doesn’t want the risk of a man on the run hidden in her shed, but because her husband is away from home for work (does that sound familiar?) she’s unable to say no. She has no spokesperson and she’s unable to give her opinion – something I think Weisgarber portrays well. 

The majority of the novel takes place in a 48-hour time period and the urgency of the events makes for a pressing read. It took me a week to make my way through the 290 pages (and it would have been quicker if a hardback book was more commuter-friendly). The novel switches between narrators – Sister Deborah and Brother Nel take turns telling their own version of events alongside their internal struggles of self, religion, and righteousness.

In Weisgarber’s author notes I got a snippet of the research that went into The Glovemaker – Junction was real, as was the passage to Floral Range where the on-the-run Saints looked for safety. The end result is a work of fiction that cleverly intertwines history to make this story not only believable but feel real too.

This review is part of The Glovemaker‘s blog tour. The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber was published on the 22 February 2019 by Mantle an imprint of Pan Macmillian. To see more thoughts from bloggers, take a look below: