Thursday, April 15, 2021

When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister

When the Twin Towers collapsed, Gigi Stanislawski fled her office building and escaped lower Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry. Among the crying, ash-covered and shoeless passengers, Gigi, unbelievably, found someone she recognised - the guy with pink socks and a British accent - from the coffee shop across from her office. Together she and Harry Harrison make their way to her parents' house where they watch the television replay the planes crashing for hours, and she waits for the phone call from her younger brother that never comes. And after Harry has shared the worst day of her life, it's time for him to leave.

Ten years later, Gigi, now a single mother consumed with bills and unfulfilled ambitions, bumps into Harry again and this time they fall deeply in love. When they move to London it feels like a chance for the happy ending she never dared to imagine. But it also highlights the differences in their class and cultures, which was something they laughed about until it wasn't funny anymore; until the traumatic birth of their baby leaves Gigi raw and desperately missing her best friends and her old life in New York. 

As Gigi grieves for her brother and rages at the unspoken pain of motherhood, she realises she must somehow find a way back - not to the woman she was but to the woman she wants to be. 

An unforgettable novel about love - for our partners, our children, our mothers, and ourselves - pushed to its outer limits.

I received a copy of this from the publisher Two Roads Books in return for an honest review.

I loved this book. It made me laugh and cry so many times. 

Gigi is amazing. My heart broke for her so much and I related completely to what she was going through in relation to the Post Natal Depression. I remember thinking I could just hug her, she needs someone and she needs space and time. But she is a brave woman too, she moved from New York to London where she knew no one except her other half Harry (and her son), now that takes some courage. I quite liked Harry, especially at the start, and loved how they met under such sad and bad circumstances, which I can only imagine was horrific, yet years later they just knew they were meant to be together.

The start of the book which focuses on The Twin Towers and the death of Gigi’s brother was so sad. It brought back memories of when it all happened. I remember exactly where I was, and still feel just as much sadness now when I think about it.

This book deserves its 5 stars from me, read it.

Thank you as always to Two Roads Books, and Ilona Bannister.

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