Joanna Rees’ novel, The Runaway Daughter, was published by Pan Macmillan on 22 August 2019.
Pan Macmillan have kindly allowed me to share an extract from the book with you.
Underneath the wooden carriage door, she could see an inch of the world outside. It was late February and the tracks flashed by with tufts of frosty grass.
She got to her feet, hobbling as they were so numb with the cold. She stretched her arms up with difficulty, the full sleeves of her mother’s best Sunday woollen coat stiff with the layers of clothes beneath it. Her breath steamed in front of her face as she stamped her feet, pressing her hands into her armpits and shivering again. Then she rubbed her face and felt the indent of the machinery’s steel stamp on her skin from where she’d been leaning against it. ‘Casey,’ she read now on the brown-grey iron.
That could be her name.
Miss Casey. It was good to make a new decision for a new day. Like the decision to hide on this train. Fast and life-changing. Where there’d only been despair, this was a whole new way of living. Impetuously. Impulsively. The opposite of who she’d been until now – pushed down, trodden upon, so suppressed that life had been an agonizingly slow grey. But not any more. Because now that she’d run away from Darton Hall, she – Anna Darton – could be anyone. Anyone at all.
Casey . . . yes.
She’d take it. Isn’t that what she’d decided? That she would reinvent as she went along. Because that was the only way she could cope with this terrifying descent into her future. Like she was sand pouring through an hourglass.
Verity. It came quite suddenly. She didn’t know why. She’d certainly never known a Verity before. Not apart from the mill worker who’d once danced around the maypole on that holiday long ago. The full-breasted girl’s smile flashed in her mind’s eye.
Verity. Yes. That worked, she decided. Because, as of this very moment, for the first time in her life, she was free to be the truest version of herself. And, since this was 1926, she could be as modern as she dared to be. As modern as those brave suffragettes who made her father furious.
‘Verity Casey,’ she said aloud. Around her, the rhythm of the train sounded like the start of a song. Verity Casey didn’t have to be scared. She could be fearless.
She would be fearless.
About the book
It’s 1926 and Anna Darton is on the run from a terrible crime she was forced into committing. 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 she believes him when he says he will love her no matter what. But unbeknown to Vita, her secret past is fast catching up with 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.
About the author
Joanna Rees, aka Josie Lloyd and Jo Rees, is a bestselling writer of numerous novels, including rom-coms, blockbusters and big-hearted adventures such as Come Together, Platinum and A Twist of Fate. With nearly twenty years’ writing experience, Joanna regularly teaches creative writing in schools and libraries and runs a successful novel-editing business. She also records regularly for Radio Gorgeous. Based in Brighton, Joanna is married to the author Emlyn Rees with whom she has three daughters. They have co-written several novels, including the Sunday Times number one bestseller Come Together, which was translated into twenty-seven languages and made into a film. They have written three bestselling parodies of their favourite children’s books, including We’re Going On A Bar Hunt and The Teenager Who Came To Tea as well as a light-hearted activity book encouraging people to stop being addicted to their technology called Switch It Off. Joanna is always delighted to hear from readers.
*I was asked to host this extract in order to promote The Runaway Daughter. I did not receive a copy of the book, or any other payment, for doing so.*