Monday, July 1, 2013

REVIEW: THE RUNAWAY YEAR BY SHANI STRUTHERS



To see other stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts, and excerpt click here. 

Dumped by her hotshot boyfriend and boss, Layla Lewis quits her job and heads to Trecastle to house-sit for a friend. Trecastle isn’t new to her; it’s a place where she holidayed regularly with her now-estranged mother. It’s also the home of Hannah McKenzie,her childhood friend. Hannah has tempted her with a place to live and a job in the local pub. Needing time to nurse her battered heart and escape her "real life" for a year, Layla accepts.

Hannah is a talented artist as well as a barmaid. She lives in the village center with her boyfriend Jim, a singer in a local band. They are happy together, or as happy they can be, considering. Hannah loves Jim, but there is someone she loves more: her old boyfriend Joseph Scott, who is also Jim’s best friend and soon to be Layla’s neighbor.


Meanwhile, Layla's fiery yet loyal friend Penny seeks revenge on her behalf, sending a forged email that could damage her ex's business prospects. Penny wonders if she has gone too far but is soon preoccupied with her own problems: the sizzle has fizzled in her marriage, and she feels neglected. After getting frisky with Dylan one night, she confesses all to her husband—and he’s been like ice ever since.

Over the course of a year, there is laughter and heartache as all three endeavor to reign in their love lives—discovering you can run all you like, but you just can’t hide.


Title: The Runaway Year
Author: Shani Struthers
Release date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary romance
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours
Source: ARC provided for an honest review

Find the Book:


About the Author:

One of those rare creatures—a true Brightonian—Shani was born and bred in the sunny seaside town of Brighton on the UK’s south-coast. One of the first literary conundrums she had to deal with was her own name: Shani can be pronounced in a variety of ways, but in this instance, it’s Shay-nee not Shar-ney or Shan-ni, although she does indeed know a Shanni—just to confuse matters further! Hobbies include reading, writing, eating, and drinking—all four of which keep her busy enough. After graduating from Sussex University with a degree in English and American Literature, Shani landed a job at a well-known holiday company. Although employed as a Brochure Production Executive, she promptly reinvented herself as a Copywriter, a new position they were happy (if a tad bewildered) to concede to. At twenty-four, Shani became a freelance copywriter and has been one ever since, in-between writing novels, that is. Contemporary romance The Runaway Year is her first book and set between Brighton and North Cornwall, the latter a home-from-home for Shani, her husband, and three lovely kids. She also has a penchant for Glastonbury, another magical place, and don’t even get her started on Scotland—we’d be here all day!

Where to Find Shani:

Our Review:

This novel is British chicklit and the only reason I make this distinction is because some of the British phrases make it distinctively, well, British. And, of course, the quaint and cozy English cottages and landscape add to the delightfully British flavor of the novel...otherwise, though, these ladies are experiencing the same crazy roller coaster ride of relationships that women all over the globe are.

I found this fun! I loved the descriptions of all of the places, and since I take a lot of pride in where I come from, I felt like there was a lot of love for this area of England that showed through. The memories of this place set for a great journey through Layla's past and present that connected all of these people and it made the story all the more interesting! 

This novel offers us three different viewpoints: Layla, Hannah, and Penny. Layla's narrative is the most prominent and she's the glue that holds the other two stories together. The plot really starts when Hannah offers Layla a chance to escape the disaster zone of her last relationship and Layla takes it. Brilliant move. If only we could all be so lucky. And lucky it is. By taking this chance to sort herself, she allows herself a chance to figure out who she is and what she wants for her life. If only it could be that easy....lust, love, and misconceptions complicate things for Layla and her friends in her runaway year.

I was a little bit worried that all of the different viewpoints and stories was going to be an issue. It definitely wasn't...well, I personally could have done with less Penny...but that is my personal preference and she redeemed herself by the end. I thought the writing was really great...with it being more on the chick lit side there was a lot of detail...and that could be very, very boring...but I enjoyed The Runaway Year very much. 

Once the drama that is Layla's love life is established Hannah and Penny's stories begin to filter in from the background. Hannah owns the pub that will employ Layla and Penny is Layla's Brighton BFF. Both of these ladies have their own relationship woes: one pines for someone who doesn't pine for her (all while she's dating his best friend) and one seeks attention outside of her marriage because she's lonely. So between the three of them, they are a hot mess! 

Oh. Em. Gee. Hot mess might be an understatement even for us drama/angst lovers. They were seriously on their way to forming England's newest reality show, for real. They were very, very frustrating...but I wanted to know a heck of a lot where they all ended up. The age old lack of communication strikes again...with every one of our heroines...and for once there are some good guys not causing all of the drama in the relationships...that was refreshing...and Alex is still a douchebag. 

At various times of this yearlong journey I wanted to strangle each of these women for being so blind to the situations they were in--situations that each of them willingly engaged in. Thankfully, though, Layla's mom enters the scene and helps get things progressing in a positive direction and by the end of the novel things are as they should be.

Even though this wasn't necessarily a mother/daughter story in any way...I feel like you provided a worthy mention of Layla's mother. Things were getting a little crazy and she brought everything back to earth with her wisdom and motherly advice. She and Layla finally talked through things that they had avoided for a terribly long time and it brought a deeper element to the story that I enjoyed alot. 

Shelley: 3 1/2 Stars
Courtney: 3 Stars



4 comments:

  1. Thank you Shelley and Courtney for hosting me today and your wonderful review - I really enjoyed reading both your points of view on the book (as you can tell from the book, I like multi POV!) and I love how you say my girls are on their way to forming England's newest reality show - I laughed out loud at that one! Yes, I do adore Cornwall and I'm glad that shone through, for me, it really is the star of the show! Once again, thank you so much.

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  2. Very thorough review, ladies! I tend to enjoy several plots at once so I look forward to reading this.

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    1. Thanks! I personally found it very clear to follow....aka no change of POV in the middle of a paragraph!...which can be annoying, it was always clear changes at chapter changes.

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