The Women Who Ran Away by Sheila O’Flanagan #BookReview #Review #4.5*

The stunning NUMBER ONE bestselling book by Sheila O’Flanagan, and your perfect summer read!

Deira is setting out on the holiday she’d planned with her long-term partner Gavin… only she’s on her own.

Gavin will not be amused when he finds out she’s ‘borrowed’ his car, but since their brutal break-up Deira’s not been acting rationally. Maybe a drive through beautiful France will help her see things differently…

Grace is also travelling alone, each stage of her journey outlined in advance by her late husband. Ken was head of the household when he was alive, and it seems he’s still in charge. His last decision was a surprise – could there be more surprises to come? There’s only one way to find out, galling though it is to dance again to Ken’s tune…

Thrown together by chance, Deira and Grace are soon motoring down the French highways, sharing intriguing stories of their pasts, as they each consider the future…

Enthralling & Delightful!

Move over Thelma and Louise!

Deira and her partner Gavin planned a driving holiday on the continent, then he left her. Deira hasn’t been herself since, and badly needs the break so decides to head off on the holiday on her own – with his car. Grace is also driving towards the ferry which will take her to France; while she is on her own her late husband has organised every moment of her trip and she is just a tad resentful. He has controlled too much of her life – how much more interference is to come?

Sheila O’Flanagan is another Irish author whose writing I absolutely adore. She never fails to get inside my head and completely immerse me in the story, nor does she shy away from flawed characters. Deira and Grace are beautifully developed characters, each of them strong women in their own way. This is a delight to read; everything about the story flows easily and it is flawless. Again, I find myself thinking I must get the couple of novels I’ve missed over the years and get caught up with this author’s work as I enjoy her books so much. Enthralling, delightful and definitely worth 4.5 sparkling stars!

I purchased this novel; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.

Tags: women’s fiction

Author Details

I’ve always loved reading and when I was a child I used to write stories for my younger sisters as a bribe to make them do my share of the housework. It usually worked!

Ireland is famed for its writers, but for me growing up most of the novels were rural in both their settings and their points of view. I wanted to read books about people like me, who lived in the city and struggled with the chaotic bus timetable and had dreams and ambitions that had nothing to do with the farm. I also wanted to read novels in which the women were the heroes of their own stories and not simply there because they were someone’s wife, mother or daughter.

Although I was constantly writing, the idea of being a novelist was a bit of a pipe dream. I had to earn a living and so I got a job in finance. It was the complete opposite of anything I’d ever expected to do but – at least for a time – I enjoyed it and I did well.

But the dream wouldn’t go away and in my thirties I decided that I would make a real effort to write my novel. Eventually, after a couple of false starts, Dreaming of A Stranger was written and published and became an Irish bestseller.

Since then I’ve written more than 25 novels as well as 3 collections of short stories and 2 novels for children all of which have been bestsellers both in Ireland and overseas. They include The Hideaway, What Happened That Night, Isobel’s Wedding and Suddenly Single and my sales have topped 9 million copies around the world.

In most of my books, I put women in situations where they have to dig deep inside themselves to find their inner strength even though sometimes they struggle to realise it’s there. Readers often ask who my favourite characters are, but every one of the women in my books is as close to me as a member of my family. (For the time when I’m writing a book they’re even closer because they’re in my head 24/7. At least with the family I can put the phone down!)

Regardless of who my readers are, I always try to do three things when I’m writing:

Tell a good story
Make the reader feel like they know the characters
Make each book better than the last

I’ve been very lucky in having so many books published and hearing from readers all around the world. And I’m glad that, when times were tough, I remembered the quote that ‘a professional writer is an amateur who wouldn’t quit”

I’m a passionate advocate for increasing literacy and helping people who have come to reading late in life so that they can find the same pleasure in reading as I’ve had. I’ve taken part in a number of different televised projects to help people who’ve struggled with reading and writing and I’ve contributed to both the Quick Reads and Open Doors series of novellas for new readers. I’m also a board member of Fighting Words, the creative writing centre set up by Booker prize-winner Roddy Doyle where I’ve worked with teenagers to write their own published stories and retired people who are working on their memoirs.

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