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The Women Who Ran Away By Sheila O’Flanagan

The Women Who Ran Away ‘The Women Who Ran Away’ is the latest book by Sheila O’Flanagan and is currently number one in the book charts in Ireland.

Deira isn’t the kind of woman to steal a car. Or drive to France alone with no plan. But then, Deira didn’t expect to be single. Or to suddenly realise that the only way she can get the one thing she wants most is to start breaking every rule she lives by. 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. Brought together by unexpected circumstances, Grace and Deira find that it’s easier to share secrets with a stranger, especially in the shimmering sunny countryside of Spain and France. But they soon find that there’s no escaping the truth, whether you’re running away from it or racing towards it.

This book is currently number one in Ireland and having spent my Saturday reading it, I can understand why.

The story is seen through the perspective of 2 Irish women called Grace and Diera who are travelling around France and Spain on 2 separate adventures. But a chance encounter brings them together and they end up on an adventure.

After her husband died Ken died, he tasked Grace with a treasure hunt. Leaving her children behind, she packs up the car and is determined to solve all the clues. Diera has stolen her partner’s Audi and taken the holiday that was intended for them. After staying in the same hotel, the 2 women become firm friends and Diera ends helping Grace with the hunt.

I really enjoyed this story, the 2 women are really interesting and found their new friendship lovely to read. As they both accompanied each other on this momentous time in each other’s lives and were there to support each other.

The women are interesting characters both with complex situations. Grace is an interesting woman, having been married for 40 years and living in her husband’s shadow. Ken was a traditional man who preferred Grace to be at home and not working. I didn’t particularly like Ken, he used his intelligence to undermine Grace and was quite sexist in his viewpoint. Whilst Deira, is trying to deal with a breakup and has gone on the holiday to clear her head. For me, I felt such a sympathy for her, having invested so many years of her life only for it to thrown back in her face. I didn’t like how people treated her, particularly her older sister, who constantly frowned at Deira with her decisions and life.

Like Sheila’s previous books, this focuses on relationships, not only romantic but also friendships. It was lovely to join the women on the adventure as they get to know each and confide in each other. They helped build each other’s confidence and find strength the hard times. The story is thoroughly researched and especially during these times of a pandemic, the vivid descriptions of the scenery, the locations and the food was a welcome distraction.

Beautifully written, injected with warmth, Irish charm and humour, ‘The Women Who Ran Away’ is a smart and life affirming story about new friendships, adventures and there’s no age limit to starting over.

You can buy ‘The Women Who Ran Away’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.