Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Great Escape (Wynette, Texas, #7) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

  • Title: The Great Escape: A Novel
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (July 10, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0062106066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062106063
Author's Website:

There are certain events in a person's life which bring a certain clarity that couldn't be seen prior. When you realize you are at a crossroads and need to decide whether to make the initially, easier, but incorrect choice or the right, yet more difficult choice. It's times like this when only your best friend, the person who's got your back will tell it to you straight and nudge you toward the right decision and today, the day Lucy was to marry Ted Beaudine, was one such day:

"He's wonderful, Luce. Everything you said. And you absolutely can't marry him."
"I know," Lucy hears herself whisper in return. "But I' going to anyway. It's too late now to back out."
Meg had given her a fierce shake. "It's not too late. I'll help you. I'll do whatever I can."

And so after a briefly telling her would be groom, "I can't," she found herself literally running away from her perfect fiance, her dream wedding, her friends and family. Basically from her life. That's when she met him. He was everything Ted wasn't... 

'He had too-long black hair that curled past his collar, cold blue eyes set above high cheekbones, and sadistic lips.'...'His nose was blunt, square at the tip. A wrinkled necktie poked out of the pocket of his ill-fitting suit coat. And that long, wild hair, all curls and tangles, looked like a finger paint of a van Gogh night sky made from a sloppy pot of black ink.' And when he asked, "Wanna go for a ride?" She  climbed on the back of his motorcycle and left her oh so perfect, yet imperfect life behind. 

This is the seventh book in the Wynette, Texas series. Lucy was first introduced in First Lady as a child. While you don't have to read the whole series before reading this book, I do recommend reading Call Me Irresistible first. Everything gets set in motion for this novel in Call Me Irresistible and you'd probably feel like you'd missed something if you didn't read it first.

This was a very fun read. I think all of us at one time or another have wanted to runaway from our lives and just figure things out. I think Lucy had the worst timing ever when she finally got up the courage to do what she should have done probably months before, but sometimes timing is everything and we don't see right away what we so clearly see at a later date. I think what I like best about Lucy is she doesn't make the decision as lightly as it might first appear. I think since she was adopted into such a high profile family (her mom is a former President of the US), that she felt the need to be perfect even if what she wanted and what would be deemed the 'perfect' choice conflicted. Her best friend, Meg, realizes that Lucy would never be happy married to someone so seemingly perfect. She'd never feel at ease, and she'd always feel the need to be perfect. Meg sees clearly what others do not.

Panda (I wish we would have had this name explained), was a complicated character. He's a protector by nature who at one time failed his little brother when he was killed. The loss compounded with some of his other life experiences have scarred him and made him feel a long term relationship is not in his future. While a relationship might be what he craves, he feels it's not something he'd ever be able to commit to. He has his reasons which will slowly be revealed. He grew up in foster care, ended up in jail, but later turned his life around. He is far from perfect, but deep down he's got a beautiful soul.

While at first a relationship between these two seemed ill fated, we slowly get to know each of them  and that's when everything clicks into place and makes sense. I loved the battle of wills between the two, and the way Panda realizes early on that Lucy has a way of seeing past the facade he puts on and perhaps sees a little more than he'd like. Lucy sees that underneath, the rough and tough exterior he attempts to portray, and sees an intelligent and down right decent guy. I think it's partly the challenge of figuring out who Panda truly is and piecing together the contrasting glimpses she gets of him during their initial time together that makes Lucy seek him out after he leaves her at the airport figuring she'd fly back home. It's kind of like the resident pass she finds and later uses the information from to find Panda which says, "Your Pure Michigan Adventure Begins Here." I felt that when she gets to Michigan the book shifts from Lucy feeling a little lost and unsure how to proceed to slowly coming back into herself and beginning to figure out who she truly is and what she wants. In other words, that's when Lucy's story really begins.

Overall, I liked the book and found it rather charming. I gave it 3 1/2 out of 4 roses. I liked seeing both Panda and Lucy come out of their shells. I liked how while the attraction was instantaneous, it took a while for a relationship to grow between the two and how Panda realized if he truly wanted a relationship he had to analyze himself and get some assistance in dealing with his past. Perhaps not as lighthearted a read as some of  Ms. Phillips' other books, but I liked it just the same. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale this one scored a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

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