Author: Dee MacDonald
Published: April 2018 by Bookouture
Category: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Book Review
One evening in early August, while mashing the potatoes for dinner, Connie McColl decides she’s had enough…
Connie McColl is tired of solving one family crisis after another – usually involving her unruly grandchildren – while her husband Roger spends all day at his beloved golf course. Surely it must be time for her to shake off her apron and start living again?
Sixty six year old Connie McColl loves her children and grandchildren but is tired of being taken for granted.
Tired of her husband spending every waking hour at the golf club. Tired of ferrying him to and fro at all hours. The final straw came when no-one, except her dear friend, remembered the anniversary of their son Ben’s death. It should have been an unforgettable date for them all and no-one had even mentioned it.
Connie pondered and deliberated then made up her mind. The next day she packed a bag and set off in Kermit, her little green car, leaving a note for her husband and emails for her children. She felt she had to rediscover the Connie she used to be, the one who wasn’t chief cook and bottle washer, wife, mother, babysitter, taxi service and solver of problems, before it was too late.
Roger wasn’t a bad man, just a bit boring, predictable, dull; most likely she was too, so it was probably high time they both had some space.
This was such a delightful read. I liked Connie from the start and more so as the story went on. She’s a very sympathetic, relatable character and it was a joy to share her adventures. With no specific destinations in mind Connie meanders through England and into Scotland. The weather is kind and, taking back roads, the countryside looks just perfect to Connie.
As she drove, her feelings ranged from exhilaration that she’d actually done it, that she’d finally had the courage to up and leave, to fear of the unknown.
Written realistically and very well (I hadn’t realised this was a debut novel) with much humour, poignancy, some soul-searching and self discovery, and in such a way I couldn’t help but be behind Connie all the way. Her family was mostly only concerned about how Connie’s absence affected their own lifestyles, with one noticeable exception. Thought provoking and perceptive, it just shows how much can be hidden by those we think we know well. And also, it’s never too late to make changes.
On her travels Connie meets up with old friends, makes several new ones and has a few fun, or in one case quite unsettling, adventures, gaining some notoriety along the way. It was an enjoyable experience seeing places and people from Connie’s perspective—the sights, the food, people she meets and, most of all, her excitement and appreciation of it all.
Connie’s gradual growth and self-awareness as a person in her own right is evident as the story progresses, something I was very glad to witness. The communications between Connie and her family throughout her travels reveal much about the family dynamics and how they are slowly changing. I was quite sad when Connie’s journey came to an end—but what a corker of a twist! Looking forward to reading Dee MacDonald’s next book.
The Runaway Wife is Dee’s first (published) novel but in fact she wrote her very first book – at around seven years of age! This was a love story which she duly illustrated before sewing all the pages together up one side. Writing was what she ‘was good at’ in school and she won several essay competitions, but then life got in the way and she didn’t pick up a pen again until after retirement.
Dee left Scotland and headed for London at the beginning of the swinging sixties. After typing her way round the West End she became an air stewardess on long haul routes with BA (then BOAC) for eight years. After that she did market research at Heathrow for both the government statistics and for BA, she became a sales rep., and was the receptionist at the Thames Television Studios in Teddington when they had the franchise.
She then ran a small B&B for ten years in Cornwall, where she lives with her husband. Dee has one son and two grandsons who live locally.
Her second book, The Getaway Girls, will be published in August.