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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2012
I read Run Away in one wet weekend. It is was a good read for this time of year. The setting takes the reader away from grim skies and the constant patter of rain. The story unfolds fairly quickly and you get drawn in to the complexities of family relationships. I guess the clue is in the title anyway, but something happens that makes you want to get on that plane and go to their rescue. It makes you think about your own relationships and want to hug your nearest and dearest. I won't say any more! Have a read...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 2013
Run Away lifts the lid, for me, on the way certain women think and behave. Heroine Julie has a lot of stress in her life: a daughter with whom she has a fraught relationship, who has who has 'gone travelling' to destinations unknown and who won't keep in touch, loneliness after the break-up of her marriage, and the vagaries of her life as a freelance journalist.
We see the story from the two viewpoints of mother Julie, and that of her daughter Lisa.
Life isn't easy for Lisa by any means. Her relationship with her best friend Emma is under strain, especially when a boy they both fancy seems to be playing them off against one another, all set against the backdrop of wild hedonistic partying in Thailand.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, Julie is exposed to the bitchiness of the ghastly Stella Whiting, a rival journalist who is married to the brother of Julie's errant husband Martin, who left her to begin a new life in Australia with young redhead Amy.
However, life takes a turn for the better when Julie goes to Paris on a job and meets handsome perfumier Olivier, with whom she falls in love.
The story moves from Lisa's experiences in Australia, meeting her father Martin and her trials and tribulations with putative boyfriend Dan, and Julie's fast progressing love affair with Olivier, that has its many ups and downs.
There are characters to heartily dislike, such as the awful Stella, who does her best to destroy Julie's happiness, and plenty of people to like and to root for, not least Julie, easy going Martin, whose new life in Australia isn't as idyllic as it seems, and Lisa, who has problems of her own, but who manages to get things together finally. I also liked interesting and enigmatic Olivier, who seems to be a good guy through and through - in fact when I was in Paris last month in a restaurant when I saw a sophisticated man talking to a woman at the next table, I thought 'he is exactly as I imagined Olivier'.
It's an interesting story, and, to me, an insight into how truly vicious and vindictive unpleasant women can behave towards one another. It touches on the difficulties of modern family life, especially the jealousies and rivalries engendered by divorce and new family dynamics. And there are red herring and twists to the plot, whereby misunderstandings become huge problems, until all is finally resolved.
It's a very rewarding, engrossing story that engages you from the first page. A really good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2013
I was totally absorbed in Run Away from the start to the finish. Alex Johnson cleverly manages to expose the tensions of a mother/daughter relationship, looking at it from both sides, as well as how each character plays a part in family dynamics. A well constructed and entertaining story of two women who are both looking for love and adventure at very different ages. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.
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on 28 November 2012
This is a book that keeps you engrossed right to the end. The story is multi-faceted, but is essentially about a girl (Lisa) running away from her apparently self-centred, emotionally wounded mother (Julie) and growing up fast in the course of her gap year. It is also the story of Julie trying to find her old self again after the breakup of her marriage. The former husband Martin now lives in Australia with his new wife Amy, with whom he has a child. Martin seems to be the real aim of Lisa's travels, rather than the self-forgetting antics of most of her gap year companions. Not for her the boozing and drug taking; she is not even interested in the great Full Moon Party on the beach. We soon find her in Australia trying to rekindle her relationship with her father, against many odds: the new wife, a half-brother, and not least some startling truths about her mother's behaviour. Will Lisa succeed? And how does her mother fare, now bereft of her children (there is also a runaway older son Jack) and of a man in her life? Does Lisa care? Is Julie right in thinking that all that is now left for her is her work? As a freelance journalist in cosmetics, even her professional life has many ups and downs, often more downs than ups. In spite of all these complications, the story ends on a positive note, which I will of course not reveal.
The pacey journalistic writing style, with many exquisite images and turns of phrase, is very well suited to the subject of contemporary family life. The gap-year culture is well observed and peppered with authentic-sounding dialogue. So is Julie's professional environment, the cosmetics industry, full of believable, at times shallow, characters, but also holding the key to Julie's ultimate salvation. I think Joanna Trollope would have been proud of having written such a captivating, thoughtful but in many places also amusing novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2012
Run Away is an engaging and exciting novel with some unpredictable plot twists. Julie and Lisa share centre stage and each is transformed and strengthened in different ways by the power of their experiences. I particularly like the book's emphasis on the importance and difficulties of modern family relationships. Whether you're a parent dreading the empty nest, a grown-up child about to fly that nest, or just enjoy a heart-warming tale, well told, I think you'll find a lot for you in this book.
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on 8 July 2015
Run Away is a contemporary family relationships book which deals with the aftermath of a marriage break-up and the fall out of those involved. Julie Whiting is a freelance journalist and struggles to get over the betrayal of her husband leaving her for a younger woman and moving to Australia. Her anger has consumed her life and her relationship with her daughter.

Lisa is 18 and desperate to get away from the fighting with her Mum. She heads off travelling with the sole intention of getting to Australia and facing the father whom abandoned her. Upon arriving in Melbourne, Lisa finds that her Dad has a new family and one her older estranged brother is also aware of as he now lives here too. But the welcome from her Dad's new wife isn't very warm.

Back at home in England, alone, Julie picks up an invite to attend a perfume launch in Paris and meets Frenchman Olivier Chabot whom she falls in love with.

This story reflects much of our everyday lives, where families are fuelled by anger, resentment, regret and errors which multiply into more hurt. I did find the characters hard to relate to because of all their anger issues.

This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author.
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on 7 April 2015
I have a disclaimer first! I have met the author a couple of times and she is in the creative writing group of a very good friend of mine. And, I must admit, that was how I was introduced to her and downloaded Run Away.

However, I didn't promise a review or a good one but this is a great book. I suppose it's classed as "chick lit" these days but the characters were honest and engaging. I could relate to them really easily and was drawn into the story in the first few pages - always a good sign.

I only hesitated on 5 stars as there is a section about 3/4 of the way through the book that was a bit unbelievable, although I could see why it was done. No spoilers here! Also, I don't think the title explains the story. A different title may attract more readers.

Alex has just released her latest book - Perfume Wars - on Kindle and I have downloaded it. Not read it yet but I am looking forward to it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2013
An easy read, with characters I could really relate to. Clearly drawing on the author's experiences, though details were altered, it had a ring of authenticity. I am sure many mothers of teenage children will be able to relate to the characters and the situations in the story. A good first novel. Well done!
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on 28 January 2013
A skilfully written first novel. The main characters, divorced, middle-aged Julie and her daughter Lisa, are authentically portrayed and the author shows how problems in their individual lives develop into tensions in their relationship. When Lisa takes a Gap Year in Australasia the tensions increase further and Julie decides that she has to get her own life in order, which she does with some success following a business trip to Paris. Her new-found happiness is tempered by her motherly instincts and then put on hold when she has to make an emergency trip to Australia where Lisa is staying with her dad and his new, young wife and child. The subsidiary characters are well-penned and the whole is an absorbing, page turner with a number of unexpected twists in the story. It is a very good first novel and I look forward to more from this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2012
The characters suck you in to their lives with all their anxieties that you have to keep reading. You relate to each of them in turn and join their emotional roller coasters as if they were your own and you so want it to work for each of them. An excellent first novel.
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