Monday, April 19, 2021

"When I Ran Away"

Ilona Bannister grew up on Staten Island and lived in New York City until she married a Brit and moved to London. A dual qualified U.S. attorney and UK solicitor, Bannister practiced immigration law in the UK before taking a career break to raise her two young sons and unexpectedly found herself writing fiction.

She applied the Page 69 Test to When I Ran Away, her first novel, and reported the following:
From page 69:
How long is a heartbeat? How long is a breath? A fraction of a second to choose a different life. Before I can stop myself, before I can even think of the words, I've said them.

"If it's with you then it's right." Harry pulls me to him. I breathe him in. I'm not sure what I'm doing.

I do it anyway.
Reader, I’m so pleased that at page 69 of When I Ran Away, which is only a few lines long, you’ll find one of my favourite moments in the love story of Gigi and Harry, a very unlikely couple who understand each other better than anyone else ever could. It's a turning point in Gigi's life, a moment of pure happiness when she decides to make her life with Harry. And she very much deserves this moment after many years of loneliness, struggling as the single mother to an adopted son, and grieving the loss of her brother on 9/11. But deciding to stay with Harry means leaving New York and moving to London. It's a move she thinks will solve her problems and assuage her grief, but she'll soon learn that life in London only changes the location of her sadness and the things she hasn't dealt with. It doesn’t take them away. And while she hopes this drastic move away from New York will somehow break the cycles of dysfunction for her children that she grew up with in her own family, it also leaves her feeling isolated and raw, especially after the birth of her baby. But don’t worry reader, there will be other moments of happiness for Gigi. It will just take her some time to find them.
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Q&A with Ilona Bannister.

--Marshal Zeringue