Maura Simpson is a beautiful and passionate pediatric nurse who wants to save the world’s children from despair. She has no time for romance, let alone the trite world of celebrities. All this of is challenged when she volunteers on a medical relief mission to Nicaragua with handsome Florida football star, Samuel Kettleson and the two find themselves trapped and alone in the middle of the jungle during a violent episode in Nicaragua’s civil war. As Sandi Lorraine’s romance novel unfolds, the two are tested to their limit, bringing their differences, antagonisms, and inexplicable passion to a head.
Lorraine is deft in creating dialogue, strong romantic tension, and many unexpected turns of plot. While developing each character, she masterfully stays only in Maura’s point of view. To her credit, the author shows not only how Maura and Sam fall in love but also why.
In addition, the author is unafraid to introduce unexpected and at times harrowing elements into her novel, leaving the reader wondering if the characters will pull through and act on their attraction to each other — all of which keeps us turning pages.
The Escape! suffers from a lack of editing, however. Lorraine makes the same mechanical errors repeatedly, such as using “that” when it should be “who,” or misplacing commas. Certain storytelling elements are jarring. She never provides enough background about the civil war to fully set the context, for instance, and she uses vague terms such as “native language” and “native men,” instead of specifying the language or particular group of people. Lastly, the emotional resolution in the aftermath of a horrific rape scene lacks credibility.
Despite such challenges, fans of classic romance novel structures – with their escapist overtones, mounting sexual tension and fast-paced plots – may enjoy the book. Halfway into reading The Escape!, the desire to see what happens next overtakes the novel’s shortcomings and carries the reader to a satisfying conclusion.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.