The hedonism of London in the roaring ’20’s is a world away from Annabel Tarleton’s ordinary country existence. Until a chance meeting with the charming Richard Fortescue at a society ball changes her life forever.
Swept off her feet by the dashing Richard, and his renowned fortune, Annabel soon realises all that all that glitters isn’t gold. Her bid for freedom has come at a terrible price and she finds herself trapped inside a marriage that behind closed doors is cruel and brutal.
Annabel has no choice but to flee, and will do everything to save herself, and her unborn baby, from destitution. But the very rich and very powerful expect to get what they want – and Richard wants only one thing – Annabel…
The Runaway Wife by Rosie Clarke attracted my attention because of the setting and time period. I enjoy historical fiction and the theme of marriage in books. The story is set in the 1920s. Readers are introduced to Annabel, a young single woman of what is was then known as ‘marriageable age’. Annabel’s mother is keen to have her get married soon and is specific to the fact that she needs a wealthy suitor. Richard seems to possess this attribute and is also described as being quite attractive. However, it soon becomes apparent that he wasn’t all that he seemed at first.
As I already mentioned, the time period really interested me. I like reading about life as it was in the past. In this book, gender inequality was a predominant theme. Sex before marriage was treated quite differently between men and women. It seemed that women had to remain chaste if they wished to get married in future but men didn’t have to meet this requirement. Women with children outside wedlock were treated as outcasts. The different portrayals of women and men were sad though eye-opening.
Apart from the gender inequities, there were also themes of marriage and in particular abuse. Annabel is a likeable character and I kept turning the pages because of her. I was curious to know whether she would get out of the abusive marriage and how she would do it especially given the kind of society she was in.
Though I do enjoy a good historical fiction, this one wasn’t for me. Romance as portrayed in the book didn’t interest me much and I ended up skimming through a few sections. Love triangles are also a pet-peeve of mine and so that didn’t help my connection to the story. However, the writing of this book is great so I think readers who don’t mind romance in their historical fiction will love The Runaway Wife by Rosie Clarke.