I’m always on the lookout for the next Phillips’ release and I mark the calendar in my head when I see one on the horizon. She’s an auto buy for me and fortunately her audio releases are simultaneous with her print releases.
The Great Escape features Lucy Jorik, the bride who left perfect Ted Beaudine at the altar in Call Me Irresistible (CMI). Lucy is tied to another past SEP book, First Lady, and is a daughter of the former President of the United States. Since the age of 14, life has been one of close security and scrutiny and Lucy feels the need to break out and be someone else for a while.
My first (and only) previous Shannon Cochran narration was SEP’s CMI. I can find only 4 solo Cochran narrations – the two SEPs and two Karin Slaughters. While I favorably reviewed her narration of CMI - even referring to her as one dynamite narrator – I noted that her male and female voices blended together a bit. That’s definitely more of a problem in The Great Escape. Additionally, Cochran’s performance seems to lack the sparkle of her previous SEP performance.
As I have come to expect from SEP, her tale is filled with atypical romance characters. Part of her charm is due to the fact that her secondary characters rarely seem goofy but rather, just different with life situations that draw you in. Ms. Cochran injects a real life outlook into these secondary characters fleshing them out even more.
Her characterization of hero Patrick Slade (Panda) is spot on as the tough male who offers Lucy a ride on his motorcycle to escape her wedding fiasco. Over the course of the book, he must stoically endure the company of trying women much to his dismay and Cochran understands that.
Lucy, however, is another case entirely. She’s a difficult character in print. Talk about attitude – Lucy has it. Her expectations of Panda are quite unbelievable as she takes over areas of his life when he doesn’t even want her around. She commands possession of his belongings just as she attempts to command his life. Fortunately, Panda doesn’t allow it but unfortunately for listeners, Cochran takes Lucy’s contrariness to a higher level and chooses to accentuate the negative. Once she escapes her wedding, Lucy seldom sounds anything other than a genuine smart aleck even when a new friend shares her unfortunate background. Cochran’s interpretation of Lucy fills the hours with a problematic character who I’m certain was less so on the written page. Despite her obvious self-centeredness in print, Lucy had her kind moments but those are much harder to detect in audio.
However knowing this was SEP who can pull success from some pretty dire looking situations, I continued, enjoying the performance for the most part as I was determined to ignore the negative Lucy. The Great Escape is actually a sweet story enhanced by its secondary characters. But next time around, I think I’ll revisit in print.
Book Content: B-
Steam Factor: Glad I had my ear buds in
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harper Audio