By Alexis Mercer
Because this is my first book review for Near North Now, I’ll start with a little background.
I love to read.
My major in college was English for Secondary Education. And with that came a whole lot of reading a wide variety of literature. Some of which I loved. Some of which I despised.
And I’ve always read for pleasure.
There is nothing quite like being transported into a story that is so unlike your own life and yet being able to feel the characters and feel alive in the scene.
Having children meant a long pause in my ability to read books in a ravenous fashion. Though I did get to rediscover my love for children’s literature and all the magic that comes in those pages.
But this last year I joined a book club.
Yup, a book club. It’s small. Only five of us. And I’d like to think this isn’t your mom’s book club. We are a tight group and usually talk more about social issues than books.
Just this act of joining the book club, however, has led to my reading for pleasure increasing to a level I don’t remember ever attaining.
And I love it. I’ll often read two or three novels in addition to the monthly suggestion from my friends.
Hence the title I am reviewing today. The book for May is in the mail (Amazon Prime couldn’t come through for me on this one...weird, I know.) so I picked up a book that has been on my bedside table for a few months.
The Runaway Wife by Elizabeth Birkelund.
I got a few strange looks from my husband as I buried myself in the book so If you’re going to read this title and you’re married, be sure to let your spouse know that it is not a self-help book.
It’s fiction. A wonderful, enchanting, enthralling piece of fiction I finished in two days despite having a job, three kids, a husband, a dog, and eating three square meals a day.
It was just that good.
My second warning before you read the book is to prepare yourself for the wanderlust that will follow.
The main character, John Olsen, was recently fired from his job in New York in the world of finance. So he and his friend, Ambrose, from Paris, set out on what is supposed to be a short adventure in the Swiss Alps.
On their first night at a lodge in the mountains, they meet three sisters who are searching for their mother, who has disappeared somewhere in the mountain range.
What follows is a tale of Olsen setting off on his own to find Calliope Castellane, the mother of the women he met that first night, in a search that soon finds him well over his head.
Birkelund weaves a beautiful tale of finding oneself in an unfamiliar setting, far from comfort.
Thanks to the imagery of the words on the pages I found myself longing to hike.
I craved the solidarity and fresh reality of nature, far from the hustle and bustle of daily routine.
So once you’ve prepared yourself mentally for the wanderlust that you’ll inevitably experience?
Pick up this novel and enjoy the magic of the story.
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