I think this book might be for people who have never read an earlier book by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
I was never a big Romance Novel fan but I was pleasantly surprised by the wit, humor and fun characters in the SEP books my girlfriend had recommended to me. Listening to this made me feel embarrassed if anyone came into the room when it was on.
She had a coarseness to her reading that made all of the characters so unlikeable.
Honestly, I would make it a page one re-write.
This was such a disappointment. The author seemed to have no insight into human nature, her characters didn't earn any of the virtues she attributed to them. The lead woman was 31 years old and acted like a pre-teen. The male lead put on a bravado that was laughable. It was as if the author had someone else write this book, someone VERY young. I would have bailed after the first half, but my computer was in the shop and I couldn't download another book. I was trapped! Sorry to have to leave such a bad review, but I don't want SEP fans to expect a fun book.
For a long time anything that SEP wrote I bought immediately and loved and re-read often. This one is part of what is becoming just so-so books from a formerly great writer. The last three-four books have been disappointing and this one continues the trend. There were characters that seemed re-cycled from older books, seemingly token PC inclusions - a multi-racial child, gay relationship, veterans with PST - really?? These are important issues, but here seemed to be just included as a way of checking off a list. The e-book was far shorter than some of her other ones, but seemed to drag, to the point I actually fast forwarded twice.
I will not be re-listening to this book and cannot recommend it.
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
I know that a large part of my problem with this book is the narration. Ms. Cochran may be a perfectly fine narrator, but I came late in life to SEP and listened to most of her books one after the other and then read them again taking breaks between each to really enjoy. And I went from being slightly annoyed by Anna Fields somewhat masculine, monotone voice to falling in love with it. And then she was gone.
And while I believe SEP is an author who deserves far more recognition than she ever receives - at least outside the romance genre - I have to now admit that part of what I draws me to her books is the voice who delivered her stories.
I think I will read the next one and leave it to the voice in my head to narrate.
Beyond narration - I found the heroine in this slightly annoying. Lucy was not the same gutsy yet terrified girl from First Lady. She tried to appear brave and gutsy, but seemed lost and adrift. Lucy should not have grown up into this woman.
The hero was underdeveloped. And this was too bad because more than most main characters he needed to be a fully developed living, breathing, complicated man. Lucy dumped the most perfect man who ever lived and ended up with someone named Panda Bear. You couldn't help but compare the two and since Ted had already starred in other SEP books, we knew all about him and how wonderful he was ... the Panda guy just came off flat.
One of the best things about Phillips books' are her development of secondary characters. And she does that well in this book too. Even though I thought the narration suffered the most with Toby, even the poor narration could not overcome the cleverly developed and delightful secondary characters. I wish either one of the secondary couples had been the center of attention in this book.
If you love Phillips books you will read this book regardless of what any review says. I expect you will be disappointed but will be more disappointed if you pass it up. I hope you enjoy it more than I did.
I love all of SEP books. I always look forward to her new books. Infact, I hope the next book is about Dr. Christie. I was, however, getting real tired of Lucy's nasty mouth and the way she and Patrick treated each other. It went on a bit too long. No real person would put up with so much bickering and insults. I liked the ending real well.
Yes! Very entertaining! Great story! Loved the characters!
She is a very talented narrator. Her voices for all the characters are wonderful and really add to the story.
Both! SEP is such a great author! Her humor and understanding of human nature make her books so enjoyable and entertaining.
I recommend all SEP books!
I too looked forward to this book's coming with full expectation of another entertaining story. For the first time, I was disappointed in SEP. Lucy was a multi-dimensional character in First Lady, with so many unusual facets that could have been explored. In this volume, she's primarily petulant, irritating and wishy-washy. Somewhere between the two volumes, we missed a major part of her character development when she became an obedient over-achiever unable to know her own mind.
The story drags, made worse by a poor narration by Shannon Cochran. I know Anna Fields is a hard act to follow, but Cochran's range of emotions is limited, with angry petulance and inappropriate excitement being the primary colors she draws with. The end result is that none of the characters feel "real." The story also suffers from several flaws: Panda's problem is well-hidden until nearly the end of the book, and yet it dictates so much of his behavior. Lucy's inability to understand her own behavior is hard to believe when she is supposed to be so intelligent. Both characters' unwillingness to accept their own feelings gets old quickly. This is a story that could be easily told in half the words.
Although I love Audible books, my recommendation is to read this one; it's a book that merits skimming. And without being limited by Cochran's narrowed abilities to portray characters, the story will likely have more life to it when you depend on your own imagination.
Delight in the journey and the struggle on the road to your dreams
There is all of the normal SEP touches here; the couple who can't see what everyone around them does; that they're destined to be together. Indeed pretty much all the situations in this book will be familiar to anyone who's read any of the author's previous novels in either the Wynette, Tx. or Chicago Stars series. Veterans of those works will likewise recognize most of the characters as well.
The good girl who though attractive, isn't in the same league as the drop dead gorgeous male lead. The bad boy who's convinced that he's not ready for love; or can't love, or has been hurt by love, or by some other totally predictable plot machination. The thing is for the author's fans that's not a negative; we're comforted by all the familiar characters of the Wynette series as well as SEP's repeating plot lines one last time.
Long time narrator Anna Fields is missed; Shannon Cochran isn't a bad substitute for her. Their voices are similar; though if the rendition of the boy's speech here is any indication she could use a lot of work on doing kid's voices.
If this is indeed the finale of this series, (it's the seventh book in the series and the Stars series ended after #7 it's a decent finale.
I'm usually a big fan of SEP but I found the Great Escape lackluster compared to her previous books. The story itself is very formulaic (heroine hides out from normal life, big conflict causes separation, the big reconciliation…), and Lucy and her alter-ego didn't live up to other SEP heroines. Sex scenes were used to try to maintain interest, but beyond those scenes, the story was kind of boring. I lost interest halfway through the story and ended up taking four months to finish… Unheard of!
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP) did not disappoint; it was good story. She did not write in enough "sarcastic" moments (which makes it funnier) in the book as she has generally done with her other books, but still enjoyed it. Don't get me wrong, I like Shannon Cochran as a narrator, but I just can't stress it enough, she is the wrong narrator for SEP's books. I am trying not to compare her to Anna Fields, but it's hard not to. I don't know how the majority of folks feel, but I buy many of the books I listen to based on the narrator. Amanda Ronconi would have been wonderful (AR may work with another publisher--these folk should hire her); then maybe I would probably have heard those "sarcastic" (funny) moments that I missed.
Even after these comments, I am going to listen to it again. I hope SEP has another book in the works. Another Chicago Stars books would be great. I am ready for any one she writes.
Please get another narrator for her books, though.
The narration wasn't bad it was really the content of this work. I was so excited to see that SEP had come out with a new novel and utterly disappointed with such a weak female lead. The character was completely obnoxious, immature and total brat. In the end she was even disgustingly manipulative. There was nothing redeeming about her.