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The fugitive wife : a novel
Peter C. Brown
Adult Fiction BROWN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The 1900 gold rush to Nome, Alaska, sweeps up Esther (Essie) Crummey, the resilient and pragmatic title character of this evocative historical novel, Brown's promising debut. A Minnesota farm girl, Essie marries a drifter named Leonard Crummey, a volatile man burdened by a painful past. They begin a life together on their own fledgling farm, but the birth of a deformed son, Gabriel, and the devastation of their farm by a flood turn Leonard into a "hard husband." His alcoholism and unilateral decision to sell much of their land corrodes their marriage. After further disaster, Essie leaves. Headed for her sister's in Seattle, Essie helps in a dockside accident on a Nome-bound ship, an intervention through which she meets Nate Deaton, the earnest, East Coast-educated young foreman for the Cape Nome Company. He hires her for the Nome venture, and mutual respect and conversation draw them together despite their varied backgrounds. But a beleaguered, die-hard Leonard follows his wife to Nome, where he threatens the budding devotion between Nate and Essie. This is an eloquent, memorable first novel, with high-powered characters whose prickly exteriors, created out of the need to survive, hide affectingly yearning and haunted souls. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In 1900, Nome, AK, looks a whole lot better to adventurous Essie than the Midwest-but what if her husband comes after her? A promising debut. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Esther "Essie" Crummey
Grew up on a farm; has a deformed son; farm was destroyed by a flood; has a troubled marriage with Leonard; leaves her husband; joins up with a band of prospectors; takes care of horses and delivers mail.

Leonard Crummey
Married to Esther; burdened with a painful past; follows his wife after she leaves.

Nate Deaton
Earnest; comes from the East coast; hires Esther.

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