The Fugitive Wife
By Peter C. Brown
W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393061109, 412pp.
Publication Date: January 2006
List Price: $24.95*
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The year is 1900. Fleeing from a stormy marriage, Essie, a Midwestern farm girl, joins up with prospectors bound for Nome, where the golden sands teem with dreamers, schemers, and high rollers. Feisty and resourceful, Essie soon makes money caring for horses and delivering mail to the miners' beach diggings. Soon, too, Essie is drawn to Nate Deaton, the idealistic foreman of the Cape Nome Company. Nate's Eastern background is in direct contrast to Essie's down-to-earth Minnesota upbringing, but there is a deeper problem: Leonard, Essie's stubborn and volatile husband, is sure to come after her.
"She had lived her life steered by the force of Leonard, against him." And when Leonard does travel north, astonishing scenes of pursuit, sacrifice, and crucial decision rise to a conclusion that is both surprising and inevitable.
Powerfully evoking a past world and the variable territory of the heart, this novel establishes Peter C. Brown as a consummate storyteller.