Escape by Barbara Delinsky
Ever have a day where you wanted to escape from everything? Just needed to get away from it all? That’s the point where the protagonist is at in her life in Barbara Delinsky’s novel, Escape. Many of us have probably wanted to “escape” on some days; the difference in this novel is the main character follows through with her innermost desire and just leaves.
Emily, called Em, is 32 and a lawyer who’s married to a lawyer. Their lives are filled with the law and not much else, although they are trying to get pregnant. Their long, grueling hours at work, and their apparent inability to conceive, put more pressure on Em than she can handle. The three things Em connects most with are her computer, Blackberry and watch. Her husband, James, not so much. It’s not that Em doesn’t love her husband; she just doesn’t see much of him.
One day, Emily gets extremely frustrated while talking with a client. She cuts the call short, gets up, and walks out of her cubicle and the front door of her law firm. At first she doesn’t know where she is going, but the town where she once spent a summer while in college calls to her and soon she is headed for New Hampshire. This town just happens to be the home of her former best friend Vicki who runs the family bed and breakfast there. It’s also the town where she fell in love with Vicki’s brother, Jude. When Jude broke Em’s heart, she left and never went back. She has not been in touch with Vicki for years. Jude writes her letters, which she never answers.
On the run from her life and herself, Em reconnects with Vicki and takes a room at the bed and breakfast. Slowly she starts to calm down and breathe in the fresh air . . . and peace. She no longer lives on New York time. Granted temporary leave from the law firm, Em settles into the gardener’s shed at the B & B and communes with a mother coyote and her litter. While James is not sure what to make of his wife’s sudden defection, he is willing to work on their marriage and to make changes. Just how many changes the couple will make for each other remains to be seen as both examine past and future prospects.
Jude, who had left ten years before, is back in town and Em finds she has to deal with unresolved feelings about him as well.
I liked that the author allows Emily the opportunity to make things right in her life without destroying it. Many authors would have had her jumping into an affair and further complicating a life already complicated. Em is a woman who has been pushed too far by life’s more banal qualities, but she does have a mostly-level head on her shoulders. The other thing I liked was the rebirth of Vicki and Em’s friendship. Once reunited, both prove to be loyal friends. Emily’s participation in the animal refuge the town is famed for adds a nice ingredient.
The stressors that work, family and friends can add to a person’s life are well documented here, but there’s enough hope for all to go around. Delinsky has turned out a number of bestsellers and there’s no reason to think this one will not be just as popular. It’s a satisfying read whether you take it with a muffin and a cup of coffee or tea or just settle down in a comfy chair and read.