Customer Reviews: The Great Escape
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on July 17, 2012
I pre-order and cannot wait for SEP's latest books. I was very disappointed with this one. All through the book I had a feeling of déjà vu, not because some of the characters are from previous books (I enjoy that aspect of her writing), but because the plot is too. Running away from a wedding on a motorcycle (Hot Shot), hiding out from the press and pretending to be pregnant (First Lady), staying at a lake, baking and falling in love with a cottage (This Heart of Mine)are some of the more obvious recycled plot lines. It felt like a contest to see how many similarities one could find with previous books. I missed the fast paced story line, the likeable secondary characters, and the witty dialogue usually associated with SEP. I also had a problem as others mentioned with the name of the male lead - Panda, really? It felt silly every time I read it. Everybody has a stinker or two in them and this is one of SEP's. I am looking forward to future books more in the style of "Match Me If You Can" and "What I Did For Love".
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on July 12, 2012
I'm usually a big SEP fan, but this book is hugely disappointing. The main characters, Lucy and Panda, are in about 1/4th of the book, and are together only about half of that. There are many side characters, and while they are interesting and appealing enough, their stories seem to be presented in more detail than those of the Lucy and Panda. I don't mind social issues being addressed in my light fiction, but the amount of social angst was overwhelming to the story, making this book a bit of a downer. Not much of SEP's usual humor, as found in the football series. So many of the characters spend a great deal of time brooding about one thing or another, and their ruminations are described in depth. Sorry, this book was not worth the wait.
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on August 26, 2012
Thankfully, I borrowed this book from my local library. I was not impressed by this book at all. Truthfully, I didn't make it very far into it before calling it quits. I was so bored with the characters that I couldn't take it another page. I am a SEP fan so was greatly disappointed in this book.
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on July 12, 2012
The book fans have been awaiting for quite some time "The Great Escape" is the book that was supposed to convince us that Lucy Jorik you know -- escaped --- the biggest mistake of her life when she ran away from Ted. And in the end, I came away completely unconvinced that Lucy ended up more happy or content than what she was BEFORE her so-called escape.

Ted maybe escaped.

Romance (lack of) Chemistry (lack of). Those are the two main problems of this book. The characters of Lucy and Panda (a nickname which is never really explained) spend large chunks of this book apart and I can't say that I ever felt any great urge to get them back together. When they were together the author tries hard to convince the reader that there might be great depths of emotion and sparks between them, but the efforts fall largely flat. He snarls, she sneers. They have sex. Or they fight some more and they don't have sex. Repeat. And I just have to say "Wild Emotional Out of Control No Holds Barred Kinky Sex" is NOT pretending to whip each other with licorice and an occasional nibble on a tender part. It just isn't and when an author tries to sell it as such it just reads as silly as .....

well a 31 year old woman dying her hair weird colors, putting in dreadlocks, and applying a fake dragon tattoo and then pretending that she is "acting out" with those audacious acts. What in the world happened to that determined attitude 14 year old Lucy displayed in First Lady - am I the only one who remembers her naming her sister "Butt?" How in the world that girl grew up to be the woe is me my Mother was the President Lucy of "The Great Escape" is completely beyond my comprehension.

The ending, with Lucy pulling "Panda" back to find her at her parent's house with a "Am I or Am I Not?" pregnancy call out was just odd. Just plain odd, silly, and extremely immature. It was really hard for me to believe a grown and mature man wouldn't have just looked her in the face and told her to knock off the game playing.

I can't say this is the first Susan Elizabeth Phillips book I've thought to be below average. However, in all the other books that I haven't liked as much (Molly did WHAT?) I've always found plenty in the book that I did like. SEP has always written characters with a certain style and flair that made at least parts of the book endearing. There are some side characters in this book that are actually a much better romp, unfortunately they just aren't enough to salvage the book into anything I'd recommend.
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on July 12, 2012
Overall this one was a disappointment, especially since we waited so long for it to come out. It seemed to go on much too long, and Lucy acted far less mature as an adult in this book than she did as a teenager in First Lady! I thought her "great idea" for getting Patrick (I just can't call him Panda. I would have really liked to have known where the heck he got that nickname, but it was never shared) back in the end was just horrible. I can't believe he wasn't more ticked off by it--sure, they should end up together, but not like that. She behaved like a petulant child. The secondary storylines took up far too much time, yet for all that weren't really sufficiently developed--Bree's story especially was just far too rushed in the end. I usually love SEP's books, but felt that this one really missed the mark.

I soooo miss Anna Fields. No one can narrate SEP books like she did--and it's entirely possible that if I'd read it myself or if there had been a better narrator (the voices on this one were horrible, especially Lucy's and Matt's) I'd have given this one another half star. I probably would not have upped the rating a full star, though--too many other issues with the story.
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on July 14, 2012
Right from the start I kept thinking I'd read this story before. It was all so familiar. I actually had to go to the beginning to prove to myself this was the newly released SEP book. When Meg told Lucy that she was interested in Ted, I was saying it to myself before I read it.... had to recheck that I hadn't already read this book. Was all that in the other one, Call Me Irresistible??? I think it must have been, it was all so familiar. Anyway, I still enjoyed it, but it wasn't new. Along with everyone else who's posted a review, why was his nickname Panda, and the rest of the character well, the story lines were all a little too tedious. I never thought I would say that about a SEP book, feels wrong, but it's the truth!!
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on August 21, 2012
Let me begin by saying that in general, I love SEP's writing and I am always anxiously awaiting her next book. That being said, I really didn't enjoy this book and if it hadn't been for the secondary plots I probably won't have bothered to finish it. While describing the story to a friend I realized that I really liked the premise of the story and it was the female lead, Lucy, that I really disliked. Most of the time she was behaving like a spoiled kid. I completely understand the idea of someone rebeling from their life, but not a 31 year old reverting back to behaving like a 14 year old most of the time. It just made for an annoying read. As I mentioned before, if it wasn't for my interest in the other characters I probobly wouldn't have bothered to finish the book. But I really liked those characters and wanted to see how it all panned out for everyone. In the end, my dislike of the main character's behavior isn't enough to stop me from trying future SEP books, but it was strong enough to make me give the book only 2 stars.
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VINE VOICEon August 27, 2012
I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips novels but this one was not my favorite. Lucy Jorik runs away from wedding and jumps on the back motorcyle of a of bad boy. Lucy is the daughter of the US President and when she decides to 'find herself' on the road and then on a beach house on the Great Lakes. I found I didn't like the new Lucy and bad boy missed the mark.

If you enjoy this genre I would suggest; Call Me Irresistible: A Novel ,Lucky in Love (A Lucky Harbor Novel) ,A Lot Like Love (Berkley Sensation) and No Tan Lines (Barefoot William).
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on July 13, 2012
SEP has been one of my favorite writers for YEARS. She hooked me into the contemporary romance genre with 'Nobody's Baby But Mine' and I have read everything she has written that is available. Unfortunately, my interest has been declining with her most recent books. Because I LOVED 'First Lady' - and Lucy - I was looking forward to reading this one. Honestly? I am about a third of the way into it and haven't even been able to finish it. Going to keep plugging though....because it's a SEP. Not sure if I will purchase anything else she does however, and that saddens me.
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on July 21, 2012
I wonder if anyone has ever noticed that all of Susan Elizabeth Phillips' books always feature the same cast of characters: an adult woman who is acting out due to a crazy life experience and a repressed childhood; a male protagonist who, depending on the plot is either a man with a heart of gold disguising himself as a bad boy or a good old boy with a hidden streak of bad that he allows no one else to see except for the woman who has caught his interest. Then there's usually a kid or two who's either been abandoned by both parents or is orphaned, suffering from body issues or was homeless at some point.

Oh, and Phillips' preferred method for getting boy and girl to meet are on the side of the road with the girl usually dressed oddly (a beaver costume; ill-fitting thrift store clothes that were purchased with the last of her savings and, in this case, a wedding dress are just some examples) as she's running away from her overwhelming problems with no plan or money to her name.

It's for these reasons that I normally approach her newest books with a small amount of trepidation and, I have to admit, a little bit of disinterest. Sometimes Phillips has a tendency to overboard in making her female leads assert their newfound independence and they end up with new personalities and in situations too far fetched to be believed. In almost every book of hers that I've read, the female character ends up doing a 180 personality change, convinced that this is actually the "real" her only to realize towards the end of the story that, well, no, the "real" her is actually a hybrid of both personalities.

Lately I find that Phillips' female characters are so forced; there's a goofiness about their personalities that I don't find appealing or natural. Lucy Jorik is a watered down imitation of Lucy Somerville from This Heart of Mine, right down to the way she dresses and the way she talks like a wannabe teenager ("That's so not true/funny"). The only difference between the two women is that Molly was a goofball screwup right from the start while Lucy manufactured her goofball persona. Molly, being the original prototype, had a more engaging and natural personality and her story was more emotional than Lucy.

While I didn't grow to love this book, I didn't hate it either, although I'm guessing that's more to do with a certain loyalty I still feel towards the author having read all of her earlier books. I just wish she could create more realistic, original and natural characters and plots in her future stories. There's no doubt that Phillips can tell a good story, but lately she's been telling the same story using the same people dressed differently.
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