Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Fugitive Wife” as Want to Read:
The Fugitive Wife
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Fugitive Wife

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  294 ratings  ·  54 reviews
The year is 1900 in gold-prospecting Alaska. Essie, a Midwestern farm girl fleeing from a stormy marriage, joins up with prospectors bound for Nome, where the golden sands teem with dreamers, schemers, and high rollers. When Leonard, Essie's stubborn and volatile husband, travels north, astonishing scenes of pursuit, sacrifice, and crucial decision rise to a conclusion tha ...more
Paperback, 414 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Fugitive Wife, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Fugitive Wife

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 507)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I struggled with this. It was good - but the language seemed a bit flowery - like the author was trying to sound upity.
It read like a story about a woman that was written by a man - a bit of a stretch. Interesting - but a bit lacking in historical information to be a historical novel and missing in romance to be a romance.
Wonderful book- well researched, beautifully written. The characters think, act, and speak like people of their time, and the story unfolds with an emotional richness and compelling detail that invites the reader into a complicated and non-romanticized past.
Jan 06, 2008 Kaye rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2006
I had a difficult time slogging through this book. Overall I didn't enjoy the characters or feel their plights.
I really liked this novel. It's interesting for me to see that reviews and ratings of this book are all over the map.

The Fugitive Wife started out slow (the first 40 or so pages), and I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it. However, as Essie's and Leonard's background stories are told and the plot in Nome develops, the story becomes very engaging. I loved the diverse cast of characters, and appreciated that they were all complex. (view spoiler)
really struggled to get into The Fugitive Wife, the story of one woman’s journey to gold-mining Nome, Alaska to escape her abusive husband, Leonard, after the death of their son, Gabriel. The novel is divided into four sections with the first discussing the trail to Nome, the second Essie’s son, the third about Leonard’s journey to Nome, and the fourth the end to this very weak story. It’s a very slow read, and a difficult one to slog through at that.

The story does pick up once The Fugitive Wif
My local library featured a display of books associated with Jack London, wolves, Alaska and etc. during its "Big Read" campaign and the title and cover of this book caught my attention. I picked it up and read the blurb and decided to give it a shot.

I really enjoyed the novel and I would recommend it. I immediately liked the main male character, Nate, from the start and I also liked the main female character, Essie. The only negative thing I have to say about it is I always hate it when I'm rea
Annette LeBox
The Fugitive Wife
Unforgettable characters, adventure, and powerful symbolism makes The Fugitive Wife a must read. Although the story is slow to start, after about fifty pages, I found the book impossible to put down. You’ll never forget Essie, the farm girl from the American Midwest, who flees to Alaska to escape from her creepy husband, Leonard, who comes after her. When she finds herself attracted to Nate Deacon, she must choose between what she considers her duty as Leonard’s wife, and her l
Shin Machine
Sep 14, 2011 Shin Machine rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: none
Shelves: boring-books

--Shin's Book Review--

Title: The Fugitive Wife

Author: Peter C. Brown

Rating: 1.02 star over 5


i did not like this book.
and frankly i am wondering if anybody ever did.

i mean, this is one of those books who does not belong to any genre at all (
in a bad way. i mean, The Wind-Up Chronicle cant be put in a single genre, yet i found it amazing)
this, i think, is NOT a romance novel (not romantic at all. except the love scenes. and the way Essie contemplated over Leonard's dea

Kayla Tornello
I loved the different settings in this story. Esther, the main character, starts out life on a Minnesota farm at the turn of the century. Then she ends up running away from her life with the gold miners heading to Alaska. The details of early Alaskan gold mining were fascinating.

Other than Esther, the characters weren't particularly well-developed, but I was able to overlook that in my enjoyment of the setting.
This one started out slowly for me and I wasn't sure I'd like it, but after the first couple of chapters I was hooked. I'm not a big fan of historical fiction, but something about the settings in this book was very appealing to me - the stark Midwest, Alaska - neither of which was made very attractive by the author. The main character, Esther, is strong and brave, and it's impossible not to care what happens to her. The dialogue in the first 3/4 of the book was very annoying - abbreviated senten ...more
I made it through. And during the second reading I actually was able to get into the story. I was able to picture the farms surrounded by woods, the 1900 look of Seattle's waterfront, and imagine the vastness (and dirtiness) of Nome as a mining town thrown together.
I enjoyed the story of it. It was written about so many things I was unfamiliar with, so I found myself skimming some of the pages. This woman, Esther, head strong and intelligent got sucked into a life that changed when her husbands
We recently traveled to Alaska so when I picked up this book about Nome, it sparked my interest. I was surprised at how much I liked it and how well written it is. I'd never heard of the author before and discovered that this is his first work of fiction. It's really a love story following the protagonist as she leaves her husband in the "lower 48" and signs up with a gold mining company headed for Nome in 1900. It describes the tough life miners had and how few of them actually found a signific ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, thought it was a great story and the author created really likable characters. The setting was particularly well drawn, her description of Essie's first glimpse of Nome was perfect
a “jumble of white rectangles spilled down the coast like cubed sugar, crawling with life” A perfect setting for someone tough and tenacious like Essie.

The dilemmas faced by Essie near the end seemed real to me and I like the way the author let her resolve them : real life is complicate
An outline of this story would be interesting. The characters began with potential but didn't really take off. It was as if the author were trying to add the unknown details but couldn't quite imagine them fully, and the story/characters lack because of it. The note at the end tells that the story is based on family history and shows that the time and place were well researched, both of which add some historical significance. However, the story itself -people looking for meaning, love, place- wa ...more
A very well-written novel about a woman who leaves her Minnesota home to head west and ends up in Alaska during the gold rush days. She cares for the horses and delivers mail and supplies to the miners as she discovers providing these services is more lucrative than gold mining. It's a story of leaving the past to build a new future, until the past returns and demands a final accounting. Wonderful details about Alaska and the lives of those who sought riches during the gold rush years.
I liked Esther's story the best. I think the novel would have been stronger focusing only on her and not telling the other points of view. We got just as good a picture of the other characters from Esther's point of view. weak ending. started slow with all kinds of junk about setting out for Alaska. got better when the author started focusing on the characters. Then he could throw in all the historical detail he wanted without it getting in the way as it sometimes did.
I found the first 1/3 of this book interesting and the last 1/3 was great but the middle focused so much on her husband - who is just a gross character - that it kind of dragged the book down for me. I really liked the book and the main character was so great. I really want to give the book four stars because it was interesting and a good read and I can't stop thinking about it, but that middle part of the book was disappointing.
In 1900, north MN farm wife leaves a disappointing marriage to go live in Washington state with her sister. Instead, she winds up on a freighter bound for Alaska and the Gold Rush. Interesting character studies of both the husband and wife outlining their strengths and weaknesses. Leaves you never liking the husband but not hating him and rooting for her but angry with her decisions and sense of duty.
I liked reading about the time period, the gold rush in Alaska, and the main characters. But the second half gets slow and drawn out and it looses its momentum. You feel their courage and strength, the wilderness and the adventure all in the beginning and then it looses that in the end. The characters loose their fight and conviction and so does the book.
This is an unusual story of a woman who grows up in Minnesota, but ends up fleeing her husband and going to Alaska. Full of details about sea travel and mining - almost as vivid as a movie. Some disturbing scenes around her family, I'm not sure I would enjoy it so much now that I'm a mom, but at the time I read it I found it very absorbing.
Jane Petermeier
An interesting tale about gold mining in the Alaskan territory. It involves a young woman who moves west, escaping her husband, and making a way for her self. (strong female character, love that!) Leonard, the husband she left behind, he's a real snake. The snake???, well he's a real "leonard"! If that doesn't intrigue you, well...
Little misleading - I was expecting a story of the north with a love story thrown in, but it was really a love story. Good when the author was story-telling... little disappointed in the ending, almost anti-climatic. Different look at the "bad guy" who was really trying his best, in his own to be good. Overall not a bad book.
Anh Diem
While reading this book, I sailed from Seatlle to Alaska, I lived the hard life of farmers in Minesota, and i did some bird watching in remote Alaska. The main character is a formidable woman, i liked her a lot. She was in two hot romances with two guys.

This is a first-book effort. I will read this author again.
This is a wonderful 1900's journey from the farmlands of Minnesota, to Seattle, then onto Nome Alaska during the height of the "Gold Rush". Story of love, commitment, courage, strength and wisdom. I found the dialogue and narration intriguing and powerful as the image of this time in history reeled me in.
An interesting tale about life in Alaska--and the Midwest--in the late 1800s and early 1900s written by a St. Paul author. Great details in sections on the gold rush in Nome, travel to the gold fields by ship, and life on a hard-scrabble farm in western Minnesota.
This is a historical fiction book about life in Nome, Alaska during the start of the gold rush (1900). I enjoyed this book, but if I was not reading it while in Alaska, it probably would have been a little slow and not as interesting to me.
Interesting historical fiction about the Alaskan Gold rush, very complex and interesting main character. The plot is o.k., but sometimes not believable.
Overall I enjoyed this book, but not on my "must read" list.
Good historical fiction about gold prospecting in Alaska in 1900. You can tell that a man was the author; too much information about the process of gold mining to suit me; but still a book worth reading!
Laura Evenson
This story is not what I was expecting based on the title. I found it interesting, but somewhat dreary. I liked the history the book and would like to know more about the gold rush in Alaska.
Loved this! The main character is a woman who heads to Alaska during the gold rush years and is really appealing and strong. I love stories like this, and this one was really engaging and well done.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 16 17 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Book covers 1 3 Apr 01, 2010 05:03PM  
  • The Tory Widow
  • Leaving Ireland
  • Tomahawk
  • Vanity Fair's Tales of Hollywood: Rebels, Reds, and Graduates and the Wild Stories Behind theMaking of 13 Iconic Films
  • The Priest's Madonna
  • The Cape Ann
  • The Chestnut Tree
  • Letters of a Portuguese Nun: Uncovering the Mystery Behind a 17th Century Forbidden Love
  • Too Great a Lady: The Notorious, Glorious Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton
  • The Color Of Lightning
  • The Gardens of the Dead (Father Anselm, #2)
  • The Doublet Affair (Ursula Blanchard, #2)
  • The Lost Souls of Angelkov
  • Shadow of the Swords: An Epic Novel of the Crusades
  • The Blind Contessa's New Machine
  • She-Rain:  A Story of Hope
  • Passing by Samaria
  • Mother of Sorrows
Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning Jumping the Job Track: Security, Satisfaction, and Success as an Independent Consultant Edinburgh Airport Through Time Southend Airport Through Time The Complete Guide to Money-Making Ventures for Nonprofit Organizations

Share This Book