Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: The Great Escape

The Great Escape
By Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Published: July 10, 2012

My review:

Lucy Jorik realizes that she is about to make a big mistake on the day she is supposed to marry her perfect groom, Ted Beaudine. She runs out of the wedding and into the path of a biker named Panda, a guy who is the exact opposite of Ted. Lucy just wants to get away and hide out for awhile so she convinces Panda to help her make her "great escape". What Lucy doesn't plan on is her unexpected attraction to Panda.

Lucy is a returning character who first made her appearance in the novel First Lady, which was about her adoptive parents, Nealy Case and Mat Jorik. In that book, Lucy was a tough teen who was taking care of her baby sister after her mother's death. The Lucy we meet in this book is a steep contrast to that character. As the daughter of a former President of the United States, Lucy is now cultured and well mannered. Now that she has decided that she doesn't want to be Mrs. Ted Beaudine, Lucy has to figure out what to do next. She is unsatisfied with her work as a lobbyist for children's causes and she misses working with kids and teens in a more direct way. Unfortunately the book drags as Lucy takes forever to come to a decision that seemed obvious from the beginning.

The romance was a disappointment to me. I hated the name "Panda" and though his real name is later revealed (as well as the reasons behind his early crude behavior) I didn't ever warm up to the character. I also didn't like how Lucy just decides to hook up with him casually after finding him so repulsive. She behaves like a rebellious teen instead of a 30-something responsible woman, even refusing to call her family to let them know she is okay (though she does stay in touch through her best friend Meg). Her relationship with Panda is just about attraction at first and later as they get to know each other it is overshadowed by the other plot threads. I felt that their "romance" went from all lust to sudden declarations of love and it just didn't work for me.

The love story that I actually found interesting is that between secondary character Bree and the guy who had a crush on her years ago in high school. Bree has negative feelings toward Mike because of what happened back then but he is gradually revealed to be a decent guy. I liked seeing how she grew as a person and let go of past hurts. I also liked her relationship with her foster son, Toby. I wish Bree's story had been the main story line. 

The other plot thread involved a mean fitness guru ala Jillian Michaels who has become overweight and is hiding out while she gets herself back in shape. I thought her character was not necessary to the story and found her annoying. I think it was just a way to keep Panda and Lucy together in the same house (he is serving as security for the fitness guru who is hiding out at his house and the fitness guru needs Lucy to stick around as a decoy). 

Overall this book did not live up to my expectations but the secondary story line with Bree definitely improved it. If the romance had been more believable and if Lucy hadn't been so annoying and immature I think I would have enjoyed it more. I am certainly glad that I picked up my copy from the library instead of buying it!  First Lady is a much more enjoyable romance and I'd suggest that readers new to Susan Elizabeth Phillips pick up that title instead.

Readalikes: First Lady by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie


  1. I definitely don't like the sound of the love story here either-I prefer a more responsible character and a deep love story and this doesn't sound like it quite fits the bill. I am still eager to check out First Lady though since I know you loved it so much.

  2. Yeah, the name Panda is definitely not very appealing. Too bad the main romance was underwhelming, but at least the secondary story line with Bree was nice.

    Great review :)


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