EXCERPT: Just before sunrise on a Friday like any other, Bernice Hart decided to run away from home. She’d started mulling over the notion shortly after the occasion of her eighty-first birthday. Now, as she opened her eyes to another day, Bernice discovered the idea had fully taken root in her mind. She would slip away undetected, not in search of one last great adventure, nor as an attention-seeking antic sure to upset her family. Bernice had only one goal: she wanted to live out the remainder of her life on her own terms.
ABOUT ‘BERNICE RUNS AWAY’: Life hasn’t always been easy for Bernice, but she is reasonably content at the ripe age of eighty-one. She has raised two children, buried both her husband and son, and is doing okay despite a few minor health issues. When Bernice’s daughter, Sarah, insists the time has come for Bernice to forfeit her independence and move into her backyard carriage house, Bernice refuses.
“I have a perfectly good house in Arkansas. Why on earth would I move to Atlanta?”
Despite Bernice’s protestations, Sarah moves forward with death cleaning and estate sale planning as though Bernice has no say in the matter.
Bernice has plenty to say about a variety of things.
With Miss Fiona packed stem to stern with only those things that spark joy (thank you, Marie Kondo) and inspired by an old black-and-white photograph of her first true love, Bernice leaves her cozy home in Savage Crossing without a glance in the rearview mirror. And without a word to her family.
Once Bernice decides to run away, there is no telling what might happen next.
MY THOUGHTS: This sounds like a hilarious jaunt. It’s not. It’s a quiet exploration of an elderly woman ‘finding herself’; discovering what is important to her. There are some humorous moments along the way, but that’s not what the book is about.
At the outset, Bernice seems like a pretty dull character. She has fallen into a rut and thinks she is perfectly happy there. But, determined not to be railroaded by her daughter into moving to Atlanta to live with her, she decides to run away – from everyone and everything.
At times I was worried about Bernice, particularly when she loses her cat, Dolly Parton, at a roadside stop. She doesn’t exactly have a lot of life skills and undergoes a steep learning curve.
I really liked Jason’s character. He owns the lakeside cabins where Bernice stays. He’s reeling from a broken engagement – the woman even took his dog when she left! He’s kind and thoughtful and keeps a close eye on Bernice, and helps her in her search for her first love, who had unceremoniously dumped her with no explanation!
I found it easy to empathise with Bernice in many situations. When she needs it, she has spunk and determination.
If you want a story with lots of action and romance, Bernice Runs Away isn’t for you. If you want a delightfully quiet read about an elderly woman looking for a second chance at life – you’ve found it.
I: @gracegrits @onemisspress
T: @GraceGrits @OneMissPress
THE AUTHOR: Talya Tate Boerner is a delta girl who grew up making mudpies on her family’s cotton farm in Northeast Arkansas. After thirty years as a commercial banker in Dallas, she returned to the state she loves and now lives in Fayetteville with her husband, John, and two miniature schnauzers, Gracie and Annabelle. She loves to cook and believes most any dish can be improved with a side of collard greens.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to One Mississippi Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate Boerner for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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