*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Title: The Runaway Daughter
Author: Joanna Rees
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Synopsis from Gooreads:
It’s 1926 and Anna Darton is on the run from a terrible crime. Alone and scared in London, salvation comes in the form of Nancy, a sassy American dancer at the notorious nightclub, The Zip. Re-inventing herself as Vita Casey, Anna becomes part of the line-up and is thrown into a hedonistic world of dancing, parties, flapper girls and fashion. When she meets the dashing Archie Fenwick, Vita buries her guilty conscience and believes him when he says he will love her no matter what. But unbeknown to Vita, her secret past is fast catching up on her, and when the people closest to her start getting hurt, she is forced to confront her past or risk losing everything she holds dear.
The Runaway Daughter was exactly what I was looking for in a book when I picked it up to read. A little bit of romance, a historical setting, a tenacious protagonist, and an smooth writing style make this novel an easy one to pick up and run with. In Anna Darton’s world, everything is against her. Her life is not her own. She has no freedom and no autonomy. When everything is turned on it’s head and she’s presented with the opportunity to escape, she jumps at the chance and for the first time, takes control of her life.
Anna’s experience is one of adventure and turmoil. She discards everything about the life she’s always known to take a leap of faith and to bet on herself. The stars do align for her more often then not, so her story is a bit fanciful. There is much of the story line that I thing abandons historical accuracy in favour of a more thrilling and entertaining plot. However, the reader can’t help but connect with Anna, her struggle, and her entrepreneurial spirit. There is so much to this story that is over the top, indicative of the time period, adding an appealing level of glitz and glamour.
Throughout, book continually returns to themes of the friendship, romance, and relationships. Anna’s bond with Percy was particularly interesting and alluring. Percy is a closeted gay man, hiding his true self as revealing his sexuality could result in his arrest or worse. He is representative of a greater and ongoing struggle taking place during that time period. Anna finds a true partner and an honest friend in Percy. Theirs is a relationship of support and mutual admiration. I would have enjoyed a book entirely about their friendship.
This is truly a story of building and creating one’s own destiny. Rees has explored a beautiful time with characters full of gumption and self-preservation. To the historical fiction lover, here’s one for you.