The Kennedy curse struck early and hard, with Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy. Kick was the fourth child and favorite daughter of her father Joe. At 24, Kick married Billy Hartington, future Duke of Devonshire, very much against her family’s wishes. Billy was a Protestant, and Kick – Irish Catholic. Her brother Joe was the only family member to attend her wedding. But marital bliss was short lived when Billy was killed in action in France, shortly after D-Day. Kick later began an affair with Earl Peter Wentworth Fitzwilliam, also a Protestant, married man, gambler and drinker. She was on her way to Cannes with Peter when he insisted the plane take off in turbulent weather. The plane crashed and both Kick and Peter were killed. Her father identified her remains, and she was buried in England.
Barbara Leaming writes a very detailed account of the glamour, wealth and tragedy that seems to follow the Kennedy family.
It’s always fun to read about someone starting over in life. That’s one of the reasons we love books, to escape from the world we live in. Not saying that we are dissatisfied with the life we live, but reading offers opportunities to learn about other locations, lifestyles, and feelings. Hopefully we learn something from the adventures that our characters take.
In the Runaway Midwife, the main character is Clara. She is a caring midwife who enjoys her work but everything goes wrong at exactly the same time. Her marriage is sour, a pregnant friend she is caring for dies from a rare disease and Clara is blamed, and her daughter is basically out of touch on the other side of the world.
Clara reacts by escaping to Canada, our neighbor to the north. Because we live in Michigan, I saw several discrepancies in the novel that perhaps those who do not live adjacent might not see. It did not detract from the main story but compels me to note, out of awareness.
The island in Canada that Clara snowmobiles to is inclusive, and the people who live there year-round are an eclectic group of independent souls, friendly but not necessarily welcoming. That’s fine because Clara is hesitant to allow anyone to discover her true identity. Clara takes on a new name and rents a cottage with cash, first for the spring and summer, later extending through the year.
Interspersed throughout the novel is Clara’s awakening to nature and herself, you can sense the beauty and solitude of the island. Clara has a journal where she notes birds arriving back after their long sojourn of winter vacation in the south. There is her tentative attempt at friend-making at the hippie camp. There is caring and birth and dying. There is flirtation, mystery, crime and yes, love. The author does a good job of character development and dialogue and this allows the reader to flow along with the story. This book has a feel-good ending as well. In my opinion, readers will enjoy this book.