The Runaway by Claire Wong
Author: Claire Wong
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Lion Fiction
Release Date: April 27, 2017
Goodreads Synopsis: Shortly before her eighteenth birthday, Rhiannon Morgan runs away from the remote Welsh village of Llandymna. Camping out in Dyrys Woods, she starts to make a new life for herself. In the woods she finds space for her active imagination–weaving together the stories she loves and memories of her past, including the mother she lost thirteen years ago.
Back in the village, Rhiannon’s disappearance triggers a series of events that uncover the cracks in Llandymna’s quiet surface. Relationships become frayed as a young police officer is forced to investigate his neighbors, and the village’s elderly storyteller hints at a secret that the older generation has kept for decades. But as painful as the village’s past may be, it may hold the key for hope in the present…
Claire Wong’s strong debut explores how human relationships develop, how we change as we interact with one another, and the role of folktales and mythology in small communities.
Jen’s Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
REVIEW: I was not taken in by this book as I had expected. Although many of it caught my attention, there was a good amount that didn’t. The good parts though, kept me reading and wanting to know a little more about Rhiannon and her life. And it starts off being all about her struggles and her run from home. Willing to live in the wilderness than to be by her Aunt’s side anymore, she becomes aware that there is so much information and town truth she is lacking.
Rhiannon’s way of describing situations and memories of her family, caught a lot of my attention. She describes many things in fairy tale formats or with myths and legends. Such as the way she views her Aunt Di, comparing her to the moon and the dark sides of it, which she reserves for when she is at home behind closed doors.
In her time in the woods she reminisces on the good and bad memories of her life. Rhiannon details her encounters and her triumphs as well as those that have made her feel unheard and unwanted. In running off she hoped to be able to find that love and affection she was searching for. By seeing the ones she knows missing her, she would find reason for her being a part of all of their lives.
She finds herself in the same predicament before she left home, with a lack of resolve. Then others join in her misery, trying to find a way to make it all okay. With Maebh O’Donnell taking lead in much of this story as well. She is the elderly lady, the ones everyone considers like a grandmother, with all the secrets the town holds, and stories that can fill the people of the town with fear. When Rhiannon’s own Aunt doesn’t search for her, the townsfolk turn to Maebh for possible answers.
There were many more characters and stories to tell, but that’s for the reader to delve into. To me, it was an in-between read of YA and a little bit of a younger audience than that. It had enough interesting facets to keep me reading, but possibly not enough to read again. Sometimes I’m surprised though, as time moves along, and I find I might enjoy a read a little more the second time around. I’m caught in the middle with this read because of it. So, I will more than likely give it another go some time from now.
***I received this copy from Lion Fiction via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***