Title: The Runaway Bride
Author: Mary Jayne Baker
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: February 16th 2018
Publisher: Aria
Finished reading: April 7th 2021
Pages: 272

“Love isn’t obsessive. It heals; it doesn’t break.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Aria in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


I’ve learned to enjoy a good romance read as a break in between my thriller reads especially in the past year. There was just something about The Runaway Bride that caught my eye immediately, and I’m glad that I gave the book a chance as I ended up having an excellent time with it. While heavier than initially expected, this story will take you on a journey that you cannot help but cross your fingers and toes for will end on a high note… Emotional, deep, sometimes even frustrating, but also hopeful, engaging and with just the right dose of humor.

Like I said before, this is not exactly a happy read as it focuses on psychological abuse, grooming, dealing with the death of a loved one, cheating and family issues in general among other things. This might be a lot to pile up in just one story, but strangely enough it actually works as it is well balanced with the lighter elements. The Runaway Bride includes some of my favorite elements too, including traveling, animals (dogs) playing an important role in the story and bookish elements in the plot. I really liked how the dogs were incorporated into the plot and were visible throughout the story… A bookish element is always a bonus, and having a famous children’s book author and illustrator as one of the main characters was without doubt a pleasant surprise. We even got a glimpse behind the scene with the PA angle and bookish events, and I really liked how the interaction with the fans was described.

As for the travel element: I could really appreciate how it wasn’t just the different settings, but the traveling itself also had a deeper meaning for the main characters. The descriptions of the different places they visit in the van are vivid and make it easy to imagine visiting those places along with the main characters… The van itself plays a key role as well of course, and I really liked this travel element and everything it entailed.

I’m still left wondering about the main characters though. While I did like Kitty and Jack in general, I did feel very frustrated at times especially with Kitty. The psychological abuse is well described though and Jack’s struggles are likewise realistic. Some of the other characters can get highly annoying though. While I did wonder if it might have been a bit much in just one story, I still liked how everything came together and if you are looking for a romance read that has more dept and emotions and isn’t just full of fluff, The Runaway Bride is a great choice.

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