Escape from Paradise by Gwendolyn Field
When college sophomore Angela Birch sneaks from Texas to Mexico for Spring Break, she believes the worst that can happen is her parents finding out.
The worst is falling for the ruse of handsome, alluring Fernando. One spontaneous choice whisks Angela across the world to the pseudo paradise of Spain’s Mediterranean Riviera where she has another choice to make: live cooperatively as one of billionaire Marco Ruiz’s slaves, or die.
* * *
Colin Douglas’s future was seized and choked when deliberate tragedy struck his Scottish family at the age of sixteen. He spent his remaining youthful years infiltrating the U.K.’s crime world, seeking power, control, and revenge, all leading to a position as an undercover agent. With nothing to lose, Colin accepts the seemingly impossible job of rescuing America’s famous missing girl, Angela Birch. Colin knows that to enter a snake lair, one must become a snake. It turns out to be a mission which will put his desire for control to the ultimate test, and make him wish for things he never knew he wanted.
*AUTHOR’S NOTE* Escape from Paradise is a work of fiction intended for adult readers, containing graphic sexual scenarios and strong language.
I’m finding myself very torn on this one. I want to love this book because of its messages about feminine strength and hope, but there were a lot of things that I found myself not caring for and I felt like there were a lot of contradictions that bothered me.
- Colin’s a good guy, yet he likes to rape women. He’s there to save her, yes, but he has little issue having his way with her while he’s making his escape plans. Yes, he is conflicted about it, but he is VERY easily aroused by this horrific situation. I’m sorry, but if you see a woman on her knees, half naked, crawling around because she’s not allowed to walk like a normal human being and who is clearly enslaved against her will and you get an erection off of that…I’m pretty sure that makes you the opposite of a “good guy.” That’s no guy I want to be involved with anyway!
- Angela keeps her strength and won’t let them break her while she’s enslaved, but as soon as she gets home she’s a broken mess who can’t even feed herself. She mentally (and sometimes physically) fights back for the whole two years and then it turns out she’s actually broken after all? That just doesn’t make sense. It was very important to her to keep her mind – the one thing she could hold on to – and she did do that. But then all of a sudden, as soon as she goes back into the free world, she doesn’t know how to be a normal person anymore. I don’t know. It bothered me quite a bit and just seemed like it didn’t add up.
- Angela is enslaved and hating every minute of being raped and taken advantage of every day (rightfully so), but she’s able to appreciate the looks of her rapists? She develops a crush on Colin and notices how attractive he is while he is staying at this upscale whore house (or whatever you want to call it) and while he is taking advantage of her daily. I’m not sure this is very realistic. I guess I have no way of knowing, but it just didn’t feel quite right to me. I know there is such a thing as Stockholm Syndrome, but that would be toward her “master” not toward one of the many men who come in and out of this place, wouldn’t it? Maybe I’m wrong?
Having said all that, now, there were a lot of things I enjoyed about this book too. The story was completely captivating from page one. I didn’t want to put it down and ran right back to it as soon as I could after putting it down. The storytelling was on point for sure.
While I clearly disliked some things regarding the characters, I still found them to be relatable and somehow I was sympathizing with them the whole way. I disagreed with some of the things they did and the contradictions irked me, but those things didn’t deter me from wanting to continue down this journey with them.
Can you see how torn I am with my opinions of this book? The contradictions and certain characteristics of the characters drove me crazy. There were also several editing errors that jarred me out of the story. But I couldn’t wait to read more of this very captivating story! Books don’t usually do this to me.
Anyway, this review turned out to be a whole lot more ranty than I intended. I appreciate the message the author was trying to convey. Unfortunately, I just don’t think it was executed in the best way to convey said message.
Best Aspect: Captivity
Worst Aspect: Characters