Bernice Runs Away
by Talya Tate Boerner
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Pub Date 01 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 15 Oct 2022
One Mississippi Press LLC, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles
Have you ever dreamed of running away?
Life hasn’t always been easy for Bernice, but she is reasonably content at the ripe age of eighty-one. She has raised two children, buried both her husband and son, and is doing okay despite a few minor health issues. When Bernice’s daughter, Sarah, insists the time has come for Bernice to forfeit her independence and move into her backyard carriage house, Bernice refuses.
“I have a perfectly good house in Arkansas. Why on earth would I move to Atlanta?”
Despite Bernice’s protestations, Sarah moves forward with death cleaning and estate sale planning as though Bernice has no say in the matter.
Bernice has plenty to say about a variety of things.
With Miss Fiona packed stem to stern with only those things that spark joy (thank you, Marie Kondo) and inspired by an old black-and-white photograph of her first true love, Bernice leaves her cozy home in Savage Crossing without a glance in the rearview mirror. And without a word to her family.
Once Bernice decides to run away, there is no telling what might happen next.
A charming story of second chances and the transcendent power of love, Bernice Runs Away clears away life’s clutter and gets to the truth of what is essential in life.
A Note From the Publisher
ISBN-13: 978-1-951418-08-3 Adobe Digital Editions
ISBN-13: 978-1-951418-09-0 ePUB
ISBN-13: 978-1-951418-06-9 Hardback
ISBN-13: 978-1-951418-08-3 Adobe Digital Editions
ISBN-13: 978-1-951418-09-0 ePUB
“This is the book we’ve needed for so long. It’s a celebration of aging and a reminder of the undying benefits of love and forgiveness, written by a writer whose knowledge of Bernice Hart, right down to her cat named Dolly Parton and her nightly 7Up and gin, is almost magical. At 81 years of age, Bernice makes new friends, tracks down her first love, and finds her life opening up in ways she hadn’t considered in years. If you’ve ever wondered if it’s too late to start over, Boerner lets us know it never, ever, ever is. And for anyone who’s ever wanted to run away, Bernice gives you plenty reasons why you should.”
—Marla Cantrell, Author of Early Morning in the Land of Dreams, winner of the Arkansiana Award for Adult Fiction
Average rating from 64 members
This is one of those rare gems that you can't put down, but take your time reading because you don't want it to end! The theme of aging and the struggle for independence is universal, but this story is so much more complex. One might be tempted to describe it as the coming of age tale of an octogenarian. It also deals with grief, forgiveness and loneliness in a way that is both human and relatable. Boerner is a master storyteller who uses humor and genuine Southern pluck to develop the characters and plot in a way that pulls you into the adventure right alongside Bernice. The desire for fullness of life, regardless of age, is dealt with poignantly, leading to fresh inspiration for grabbing hold of today while being mindful of our yesterdays. Hats off to Bernice, a brave - though at times reluctant - champion for an overlooked generation in today's fiction! And kudos to the author for creating a lovely read that simultaneously entertains and makes a lasting impression on the heart!
“Bernice Runs Away” isn’t the type of book I normally gravitate towards. So imagine my surprise when I am pulled into this 82 year old woman’s story and delighted the entire time. It was such a fun book, and I really loved Bernice. It was fun to see her get out, experience life, and really find herself again.
Talya Tate Boerner's Bernice Runs Away is a cozy, lively read with a distinct voice and gorgeous prose. Boerner does an impeccable job of delving into grief and explores solitude with a realistic and fresh perspective. This book is a vibrant journey and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a warm and heart-touching read.
Thank you Netgalley for the ARC!
This is a fun book…I liked this book. I cannot wait to read more about Bernice…a likable quirky character who leaves home and meets other delightful characters…this book was sent to me by Netgalley for review…thanks to the publisher for this electronic copy. From the first page, I was hooked…she reminded me of the Miss Julia books…delightful…curl up on a comfy chair and enjoy a quick read…
This is the best read in ages. The writing is exceptional. The plot would be mundane were it not for the execution. Boerner elevates this story to an experience not to be missed. But, I can not finish it at this point. Embedded in the story are some bitter-sweet memories that become all to real...and painful for me. It's not anything deserving of a trigger warning.I am simply at that point in my life where Beatrice's journey resonates with my own. I had to step away. I found myself emotionally invested to the point of tears & dreams. I know, this is an incredible gift and there is in all likelihood a cathartic ending. But for now, I just have to step away. I will be purchasing a hardcopy for my personal library as this is the kind of book to be cherished and studied in schools.
Unfortunately, I can not see this story translated to the big screen. The magic of this story is in the words. The crafting & reflections of a life not finished living. Every single word, every single scene is salient. It is there for an exacting reason. And Beatrice is simply fascinating in her dogged pursuit of owning this final stage of her life. This is the greatest read of 2022.
This book was such a treat to read!
Bernice, Bernie, stepped out of the pages straight away. I love the way the narration follows her thought processes through their meandering ways without making me as a reader loosing the thread.
Bernie’s inner journey is as interesting and exciting to follow as her physical journey.
The story is filled with the big and the small, blisters on toes as well as heartbreak, and it mirrors a life both mundane and extraordinary. As most lives are.
I experienced so many feelings reading this book. I grieved with Bernie, got upset and angry with her, remembered the heartbreaking moments together with her as well as I revelled in her joy at other moments.
Her inner monologue is the best part, because it neither shirks the bad parts nor overcompensates the good.
She’s human, and while she’s more than thirty years my senior I can relate to her.
That is great writing to me!
This is the first book I’ve read from this author but I will definitely look up her earlier titles.
I recieved this book as an ARC and am volountarily leaving a review.i
"Bernice Runs Away" was a surprisingly good book. Bernice is an 81 year old widow who lives alone, with her cat Dolly Parton. Her daughter thinks its time she moved from Arkansas and move to Atlanta, where they are building her a carriage house in their back yard. Bernice does not want to give up her independence so she decides to pack up a few things and run away to a small cabin in Lake Norfork, a place she had so many happy memories as a teenager and where she met her first love, John Marvel. This was a beautiful thought provoking story about an older woman who reflects on her past, the loss of her husband and son, while making new friends, and finding herself again. Thank you for the advance copy netgalley!
This is a truly delightful book! I could not have loved it more. Bernice may be forgetting a few things, but she is the most level headed of characters. Her observations of the world around her and how it is changing are spot on. She is like your favorite auntie, or the lady who lived next door to you when. you were a child. You want to share a cup of tea, or maybe a gin and 7-UP with her. She shows that there is hope for no matter how old, and possibly senile, you may become. I received an ARC from Free Mississippi Press through NetGalley and appreciate the opportunity to read this fun book. This did not influence my opinion of this book.
The cover is what drew me in! Bernice is so likeable and entertaining. This was a fun read! Thanks netgalley & the publisher for the arc, in exchange for an honest review.
In late October 2019, 81-year-old Bernice Hart decides she wants to live her life on her own terms partly brought on by her daughter Sarah’s insistence that she leave her home in Savage Crossing, Arkansas to live with her in Atlanta. Sarah also wants her to declutter the house she has lived in for over 50 years and has gifted her a Marie Kondo book. Yes Bernice, I’d want to run away too! Her memories lead her to the exact place she’ll run away to, Lake Norfolk, which holds a very special place in her heart. She books a cottage and packs her car, affectionately known as Miss Fiona, with things that bring her pleasure which of course includes her cat, Dolly Parton. She leaves her home with scarcely a backward glance to discover… Well, that would be telling!
This is a really charming book, you cheer Bernice on from the sidelines and revel in the experiences she has in and around Lake Norfolk. She is a fabulous character to spend time with and she’s a person you’d be proud to call a friend and share a drink or two with! It’s funny at times, the storytelling ranges from amusing, lively and joyous to on a couple of occasions the raw pain of grief. However, after a few hiccups along the way it’s a story of survival as a brand-new Bernice emerges complete with a new haircut and a capsule wardrobe. The pace isn’t fast, it meanders gently like Old Man River but as it’s a character study it perfectly suits the storyline. The ending is really good as Bernice goes in search of something which she uncovers and addresses things that need dealing with and she find the peace she craves.
I have to mention the fantastic setting in the Arkansas Delta, it’s so atmospheric and I really enjoy the journey though will pass on the pie! Lake Norfolk sounds wonderful and the author makes me feel as if I have visited it in person.
Overall, this has a bit of everything as it’s amusing, perceptive and emotional but also a happy book. I won’t forget Bernice is in a hurry.
With thanks to NetGalley and especially to One Mississippi Press for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
I enjoyed this book so much, I didn’t want it to end! Seriously, when I was about 3/4 of the way through it, I set it down for a day or two because I couldn’t bear to finish it even though parts of me wanted to rush through to find out the ending.
From the cover, this looks like a cute little story about an elderly woman who gets in a car and goes on a fun adventure, but it was so much more than that.
Yes, Bernice a.k.a. Bernie is 81 years old and feeling her age. And yes, she packs up beloved belongings and “runs away” to the lake where she experienced love for the first time. There are whimsical people in her life, lighthearted references to popular tv shows like Ozark, and many cultural references to decluttering with Marie Kondo. Bernice even has a spunky cat named Dolly Parton!
While I found myself smiling often at the thoughts going round in Bernice’s mind, this book turned out to be much more than mere entertainment. It was and will continue to be a treasure trove of wisdom. The author invites us right beside Bernice on her journey, and along the way we learn right along with Bernice about carrying loss, speaking up for what one wants, family, true friends, and what it means to really belong to a place, to be part of a family and a community.
When this book is published, I am going to buy a paperback copy and read it again, making notes and highlighting certain passages. This is one of those books that will hold a treasured place on my shelf always.
I am 66 years old now and would like to announce to the world that when I’m 81, I hope that I am just like Bernice—-savoring life in all its wonder, heartache and glory, and continuing to let go of the past as best I can.
“ Johnny Cash, Tiger-Sam, Holly Golightly, Miss Tabby, Dolly Parton…”
Breathe in…Breathe out!
Whenever 81 year old, Bernice Hart is feeling a bit stressed, she recites the names of her beloved cats, past and present, until she finds some serenity.
But that may not be enough to do the trick if her well meaning daughter, Sarah has her way!!
You see, Sarah has given Bernice a book called “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo and suggested that Bernice begin to “death clean” in preparation for a move to Atlanta to live in the carriage house being built for her in her daughter’s backyard.
But Bernice isn’t ready to die, or to move away from her home in Savage Crossing, her community, her Church or her memories.
So, what does she do? She packs up her car, called “Miss Fiona” with the things she cannot live without, and her latest cat companion, “Dolly Parton” and sets out towards Cooper’s Bluff, to a rented lake view cabin to perhaps find a new community to live in on her own terms-and maybe some closure in a place where she once experienced both great joy and great sorrow…in addition to her first love.
(Check out the adorable book cover!!)
Perhaps she could find out whatever happened to John Marvel, who always held a tiny piece of her heart..??
Although the road trip almost ends in a CATastrophe..she makes it there safe and sound and proves to everyone that she still has a lot of life left to live!!
Some of her choices made me downright nervous, as I feared that people would take advantage of her…but this is an UPLIFTING book, and there was no reason to worry!
Although I do think that readers of a “certain age” who have experienced some of the same challenges as Bernice might relate to this more than a younger reader-readers of all ages should find the story to be both delightful and charming!
I hated to say goodbye to Bernice by the end, as I really did enjoy the time I spent with her!
AVAILABLE October 1, 2022.
Thank You to One Mississippi Press for the gifted copy provided through NetGalley! It was my pleasure to offer a candid review!
An enjoyable, good wholesome book. So many books follow a prescribed format and this one is just perfect and not following a script.
Bernice's daughter wants Bernice to move from her home in Arkansas to a carriage house they are building for her behind the daughter's house (in a different state).
I started rotating between some books and this one finished ahead of some others (so it is a plus that it carried my attention to completion).
Once again, many thanks to NetGalley for introducing me to Talya Tate Boerner, an author that I had not previously read. I would definitely be interested in reading additional books from this author. Thank you to Talya Tate Boerner and her publisher One Mississippi Press LLC for approving my NetGalley request for the advance read copy in exchange for an honest review. Publication date is Oct 1, 2022.
Bernice Runs Away is such a heart warming journey!
I absolutely adored every bit of this story, and was so happy with the ending.
My only problem now, is I need a sequel, I need to know what's next for Bernie, will she meet again with John?
Thank you for taking me on that adventure Talya!
What a delightful and charming tale - really enjoyed it! Feisty octogenarian Bernice runs away in her car (Miss Fiona) with her kitty (Dolly Parton) after her daughter tries to move her out of her home for care. Her road trip in the Arkansas delta area brings some surprises along the way to where she had her heart broken so very long ago. Recommend for any who are either older or caring for someone who is (or both, LOL). Quirky, humorous and heart-warming tale. My sincere thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the complimentary "read now" advanced digital review copy. All opinions are my own.
Coming October 1, 2022!
We’ve all had moments of wanting to run away. At age 81, Bernice actually does it. Bernice has had her fair share of struggles in life, but overall, has been fairly content with her life in small-town Arkansas, where she was born, raised, and plans to someday die.
She receives a rude-awakening when her daughter Sarah decides for Bernice that it’s time to sell everything and move into Sarah’s backyard bungalow in Atlanta. Suddenly Bernice feels trapped in her home, confident she’ll never get to make her own choices again.
Bernice realizes she is not ready to give up. So, she packs her car to the brim with her cat Dolly Parton, essential books, and heads out without a word to Sarah or friends, except her faithful bestie housekeeper, Marlene.
Next thing you know Dolly really runs away, Bernice begins “not-really-stalking” her first true love, throwing back a beer with the boys, creating a “capsule wardrobe,” and taking command of her life for the first time in decades.
Bernice Runs Away is an easy read about a quirky woman that teaches us we’re never too old to choose our own future and explore past “what if’s”. At first, I felt sorry for Bernice and wondered if I could finish a book with a heroine I pitied, but I soon realized that’s because Bernice felt sorry for herself.
She initially views herself as old, weary, taking up space. She slowly grows in confidence throughout the book. She begins to realize it’s never too late to start over and experience new things. And I begin to love her, even identify with her, throughout the book.
Talya Tate Boerner uses Bernice’s story as a reminder that insecurities are always present; whether or not we entertain them is entirely up to us. Our life is our own to live. She skillfully takes Bernice from living a life full of doubts and questions to a life of depth and adventure.
I appreciate the excellent job the author did painting visual images of Bernice’s world so I felt as if I were a fly on the wall. I could visualize myself smack dab in the middle of the diner or feel the cool breeze while overlooking the lake. The plot may not be attention-grabbing, yet Tayla keeps the reader engagingly immersed into Bernice’s world from beginning to end.
Overall, Bernice Runs Away is a fun, charming read that can be enjoyed by adults of all ages. It will keep you giggling through her routine life into her growth as a confident, stylish sojourner. Age doesn’t change anything. Get a pre-order now so you can curl up with it and a glass of 7Up and gin when it publishes in October.
I have just finished “Bernice Runs Away” by Talya Tate-Boerner. Written from the viewpoint of 81 year old Bernice, her memories take us back to a simpler time. The experiences Bernice has navigating the day to day modern world will make you laugh and yes, sometimes cry. Her relationships with family and friends lead her to do the unthinkable for a woman her age. I highly recommend going along with Bernice on her journey. Bernice will make some new friends and reminisces about old friends. Talya does a wonderful job of detailing Bernice’s thoughts and memories without giving away too much too soon in the plot. A wonderful read I could not put down!
I loved Bernice! She's 81 years old, living a predictable life, has become melancholy, and as she looks around the house she shared with her late husband for decades, she sees how aging has affected its foundation as much as it has hers. She wakes up one morning and decides to run away. I love the idea of an older lady "running away" to find herself. The things Bernice learns about herself, her past, and even the secret her daughter Sarah holds allow her to see her future in a whole new way. If you’ve ever wondered if it’s too late to start over, you'll learn that it never is!
Thank you to NetGalley and One Mississippi Press LLC for my digital copy.
"A charming story of second chances and the transcendent power of love, Bernice Runs Away clears away life’s clutter and gets to the truth of what is essential in life."
When I picked this up, I was expecting Bernice to go on some crazy adventures right off the bat. I had a different expectation but I still enjoyed it even though it is quite slow-paced. This book actually took me back to my time as a worker at a personal care home. Bernice reminded me so much of my favourite elderly residents through descriptions of her routines, personality, and thought process. At one point, I could just imagine how she would be to work with (lots of spunk!). The way she reminisces about her past also reminded me of times when residents would share stories about their amazing lives and their fond memories. Talk about the power of books!
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Bernice and found her story very wholesome and inspirational. Thank you Talya Tate Boerner for such a heartwarming book. <3
Bernice has had a steady life, living for sixty years in the same house, in the same small town. Now her daughter is urging her to “downsize” and prepare to move to Atlanta to live in her backyard carriage house.. Bernice may be 81, with a new hip and some age related problems, but, oh no, she is not ready to give up! So she packs up Miss Fiona, her car, puts her cat Dolly in car carrier and leaves her home filled with its detritus of memories. She heads for the lake where she spent her childhood vacations and her years as a young wife and mother. She rents a cottage for the Fall and settles in, becoming friends with her young landlord and several other residents. And she changes herself, both her physical appearance and her emotional outlook.
How much did I love this beautifully written story? So, so much and you will too. It’s a transcending tale of change, of regrets and forgiveness. Bernice shows us that it is never too late to find happiness. 5 stars.
Thank you to NetGalley, One Mississippi Press LLC and Talya Tate Boerner for this ARC.
This is a sweet and heartwarming book. Bernice is eighty-one years old and has had ups and downs throughout her life. She is fairly content with her life the way it is. Her daughter and son-in-law are building a small house for her behind theirs. Bernice would have to move from her hometown in Arkansas to Atlanta. Bernice refuses to move, but her daughter won't listen, so Bernice decides to run away. She makes plans and confides in only one friend about what she is going to do. She decides to go to a lake that she used to spend her summers as a child and then took her own children to when they were growing up. Those were some of the happiest days of her life. Once she gets to the lake, she spends some time revisiting the past and making new friends. She begins to realize that sometimes what you think you really want is not what makes you happy. Bernice also finds out that at any age, you can learn and grow as a person. I really enjoyed reading this book.
Thank you NetGalley, Talya Tate Boerner, and One Mississippi Press for this Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review.
Bernice Runs Away (coming out October 1st!) was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Written about a woman in her 80s, it provides an often ignored perspective and validates the worthiness of each person’s life, and each person’s right to autonomy, no matter their age. The writer heavily focuses on seemingly mundane details in Bernice’s day to day, but the plot never felt slow or boring. Boerner finds a way to keep things interesting and compelling, and as Bernice makes a decision to bring about a big change in her life while simultaneously looking back to make sense of her life journey up until now, it’s easy to get sucked into the story and root for her (even if she does seem pretty curmudgeonly and grumpy much of the time!) The author’s writing was wonderful and kept me engaged the entire story.
I did have a few small complaints, the first being that at times it was tough to be in Bernice’s head for so long. She’s irritable, negative, and old fashioned in ways that much of society has tried to advance past (like feeling tripped up at an Indian surname, or feeling like girls should dress like girls and boys like boys, that sort of thing). We already got the sense that she felt like the world was moving on in a direction that worried/overwhelmed her, so these specific thoughts felt unnecessary to include for her character development. My other small complaint was that the whole book leads up to Thanksgiving, but when Thanksgiving finally arrived, I wished more time was spent there. The Thanksgiving chapters seemed so fast, after such a long wait to get there! And last, I dislike that the author was specific about the year. We could have gathered the general idea of the time period by the use of cell phones and left the chapter titles as just month and date. But by placing it in 2019, it’s hard not to think about the end of the book when she is making plans for the spring of 2020; readers know that her plans will be upended by the Pandemic.
Anyways, those were just small notes — overall, I really liked this book!
Bernice looks around at her tired life and decides she’s wants to make a change. She’s tired of her daughter nagging at her to purge and expects her to move to Georgia.
Bernice decides to run away. She runs toward a place that was very meaningful for her in the past. She wrestles with ghost of the past so she can find the path of her future.
Stocked with wry humor, the book allows Bernice to evaluate her life and take action.
I think it will resonate with all readers, no matter what age. Getting older is tough, but it’s inevitable.
This was a lovely, enjoyable and entertaining surprise. A well plotted and lovely book that made me smile and root for Berenice.
Excellent storytelling and character development, a well plotted story.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Bernice Runs Away by Talya Tate Boerner
Eighty-one year old Bernice is being pressured by her daughter and son-in-law to throw her things away and move into a their backyard carriage house they are building for her. If she's going to have to ditch everything that is dear to her, why not do it her own way? Bernice runs away, taking her car, Fiona, and her cat, Dolly Parton. The past has been on her mind and in her dreams constantly and she's going to run towards the past.
So off Bernice and Dolly Parton go to the location of her long ago first love and to the location of her greatest loss. The first part of the book had me feeling so anxious, both because Bernice seems to have memory and disorientation problems and because I worried that Bernice was in over her head by taking off in such a hurried manner. But once Bernice gets to her chosen destination, I was able to settle in with her and the lovely people who become part of this new life. Plus, the past meets the present and that is handled in a very satisfying way. This is a lovely story and I liked that even the pushy daughter is written in such a way that I felt for her from the very beginning. She truly loves her mother and but is in over her head in her own life.
Thank you to One Mississippi Press LLC and NetGalley for this ARC.
My Grandma's name is Berniece so reading this story had me thinking about her as I turned every page. This is definitely an enjoyable story. Very suitable for a rainy day to bring some brightness to a dreary day. I enjoyed Berniece and was excited to see such a fun and heartwarming story focused on an elderly lady - especially as I get closer to that age! Lots of life lesson reflections for the reader. LOVED THIS BOOK!!
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