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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful story; incredible illustrations
A children's novel originally published in 1872, and reprinted in 1936 with over sixty wood-cuts specially made by the sublime Gwen Raverat, The Runaway has become one of my very favourite Persephones.

Both text and illustrations are quite, quite wonderful. It's impossible to imagine them separated, and I pity the children between 1872 and 1936 who had to make...
Published on 28 Aug 2009 by Simon Thomas

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Nesbit
I guess you need to be a fan of books for the older girl to immerse yourself in this fluff. The pictures are gorgeous, but they have a tension, a wryness, a sense of mild Thirties mockery that the text inevitably lacks. I'm a boy. I'm more a Mr Leakey kinda guy (though NOT with the generic Quentin Blake illustrations, thank you)
Published 22 months ago by Simon Barrett


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful story; incredible illustrations, 28 Aug 2009
By 
Simon Thomas "bookaholic" (Oxford/Somerset, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Runaway (Paperback)
A children's novel originally published in 1872, and reprinted in 1936 with over sixty wood-cuts specially made by the sublime Gwen Raverat, The Runaway has become one of my very favourite Persephones.

Both text and illustrations are quite, quite wonderful. It's impossible to imagine them separated, and I pity the children between 1872 and 1936 who had to make do without - but more do I pity myself and all other children who didn't get this read aloud to them in their infancy. The protagonist is Clarice, an imaginative fifteen year old (who acts more like a modern day ten year old - whether that is a sign of the times, or simply Clarice alone, I'm not sure) who regrets that her father is not the army, and in the opening line, redolent of Emma, is described: 'Clarice Clavering - young, ardent, and happy -'. Longing for adventure, she finds it in the form of Olga, hidden amongst the thicket. The eponymous Runaway, she persuades Clarice to allow her to hide in the house. The plot is about whether or not Olga will be discovered; whether or not she is telling the truth about her origins; what the consequences of her running away will be for all.

But, for me, the plot is less significant than the lively characters. Clarice is a fairly typical good, obedient Victorian child, but without the slightly sickening edge that certain members of the March family have for me(...) Her spirited eagerness for adventure set her apart from her less attractive compatriots. And then there is Olga! What a delight - airy, impetuous, irrepressible, and vibrant, she reminded of nothing so much as Clarissa from Edith Olivier's The Love Child.

Had the text been printed alone, this would be a lovely book - but Gwen Raverat's wood-cuts take it to the next level. I didn't really know what wood-cuts were before I started reading Persephone Books six years ago, but now I love them. Often featured in the early Persephone Quarterlies, an article by Pat Jaffe in PQ 4 speaks of the 'bookish, talented, visual twentieth-century women [who] have taken such delight in the intimate, intricate craft they were at last allowed to learn.' Each of Raverat's must have taken so long, and they are enchanting. Not twee (though personally I never find a touch of twee goes amiss) but as spirited as Olga herself.

Any parents or grandparents out there, I do encourage you to get a copy of this for your child. If you catch them at the right age, I suspect The Runaway will become a favourite for years to come. And, like all the very best children's books, it's one which you'll have to buy a copy of for yourself too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mistaken Identity?, 2 Nov 2005
This review is from: The Runaway (Paperback)
What a fun story. My sixth Persephone book and I have yet to be disappointed. I flew through this in one sitting. It is an extremely fast-paced story, originally intended for children, but quite appropriate for adults as well. The narrator is a young girl itching for adventure and has her wish come true with the sudden arrival of a lively teen girl who has allegedly run away from school and wants to hide in her new friend's house. What follows is a surprising tale with the runaway girl keeping things interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Nesbit, 24 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Runaway (Paperback)
I guess you need to be a fan of books for the older girl to immerse yourself in this fluff. The pictures are gorgeous, but they have a tension, a wryness, a sense of mild Thirties mockery that the text inevitably lacks. I'm a boy. I'm more a Mr Leakey kinda guy (though NOT with the generic Quentin Blake illustrations, thank you)
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The Runaway
The Runaway by Elizabeth Anna Hart (Paperback - 6 Nov 2002)
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