fiction / Review

Review: Escape

I was given a copy of Escape: Rough Hewn Book II by Nadia Kilrick for review. I really have to stop volunteering for these sorts of things. Well, ok, last week’s book wasn’t too bad, and a few weeks ago the Muses of Roma was amazingly unexpectedly good. And there have been books I read, didn’t care for, and didn’t review. But this one hit my buttons, and not in a good way.

I had an inkling all was not going to go well when I saw the cover and thought “oh, no, BDSM…” But reading the blurb, I realized that wasn’t what the book was about. I was a little dubious about the premise – abused wife with serial killer husband, but I started reading.

Look, I can live with painfully awkward writing. “Carolyn’s head burned: a burning one might have if swarmed by angry hornets. Refusing to cry or show that he’d hurt her, she started talking as though he had not just slammed his hand into her head.” I can even (sort of, and it was annoying from the beginning in this case) live with not being sure WHEN the story is set. Not in modern time, I think, but then again… the whatever-it-was the story began with seems to have been set in the 1800’s. It wasn’t a prologue, and it didn’t make much clear except that the action was supposed to be taking place some time later.

No, what really ticked me off about this book was the main character, and her supposed motivations. She’s married to a man who “Stories of his attacks on women had circulated throughout the village for years.” which has to have predated her marriage to the guy, so why did she marry him? Well, the explanation given in the book is that she was friends with his much younger sister, who disappeared, and so she married this known-to-be dangerous to women man so she could find out more about her friend’s mysterious vanishing.

Um, no… or anyway, now I’m thinking the MC is terminally stupid, and if this guy is a serial killer… Anyway. I plough on reading. The wife has fights with the husband, but makes award-winning pies for the local fair, and cans, and has a lovely little painting studio she is allowed to retreat to when she wants. Oh, and she can go visiting, although she’ll get yelled at later for it. But when a visitor comes to her home, and tells her a story, that’s when I lose it with this book.

The sister-in-law of the MC comes to tell her about the dark past she and the husband share. Now married to the husband’s brother, she was violently raped by the husband, and impregnated. She bore his child, and hid the child in the big city. Furthermore, the husband was raping the lost sister the MC married him to look for, and most likely killed her (yes, his own sister, but if you’re confused I don’t blame you, I was, too). Oops, here comes the husband… she runs out the back door, and our MC STAYS TO COOK HUBS DINNER.

I’m losing my mind. If this was a paper book it would have hit the wall, with force, but it’s on my tablet, which I like. Look, I was in a very difficult marriage. Nothing this bad, but holy heck, this MC is stupid. And the person who wrote the book knows absolutely nothing about a true abusive marriage, which is what infuriated me. I was a little worried when I started reading it that the book would trigger unpleasant memories, which would have been uncomfortable, but mostly I came out of reading the first part (and no, I didn’t finish it, and no, I don’t plan to) enraged at the portrayal of a terminally stupid woman in this situation. When I wrote Memories of the Abyss, I poured some of my own experiences into it. The memories Sarah refers to in her blog above, that result from a trauma, scars that will never go away. It was an incredibly hard thing to write, but I created the story in hopes that someone, somewhere, would discover it, and see themselves in it.

Because it’s like being in a dark room. You don’t know where you are. You don’t know where the exits are. You don’t know how you can possibly take another step, because everything hurts. Until the light comes on, and suddenly you can see your way out. It still hurts, and will for a long time, but you can see.

In this story, the MC can see, the whole time, there is no sense of despair, pain, loss of trust… there was no trust in the first place. She deliberately set herself up. It’s… I don’t even have words for how and why this made me so angry.


10 thoughts on “Review: Escape

  1. I hate stories like that. So many people just DO NOT GET what trauma looks like and then they try to write about it. I wouldn’t have finished it either.


  2. I wouldn’t have gotten as far with it as you did! It’s bad enough going through our own traumas, I hate reading about other people’s, even when it’s well done. (That is, I suppose, why I prefer romances, although I no longer believe in that type of love and hate the porn parts — give me a good Georgette Heyer every time!)


  3. Cedar, A very dear friend of mine was in an abusive relationship, and came out of it because I was “there for her.” That’s all the details anyone will ever hear, without her permission.
    I agree that someone writing about certain subjects, needs to actually talk to _and Listen_ to, people who know the subject. The behavior of the abused, is always internally consistent, even if seeming irrational to outsiders. What you a describing is _insane_ behavior, and not at all consistent, rational, or likely. No abuser would marry a woman as dysfunctional as that. It’s *always* about exercising power over another person.


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  7. Abuse comes is many forms. How a person reacts to abuse, is of course, different with each person. To put everyone in a box and say they must react in a certain way is ignorant.

    Coming from an abusive relationship I can relate to this book. I can see how different people react to different abusive situations. We are not all the same, and neither should the people in books be.

    The book was an excellent read. Perhaps it was too deep for certain people to fully grasp …especially people that did not even bother to finish reading it.

    I tell you, to pass up reading a book because someone said it wasn’t good, doesn’t say much for you as a reader. I guess being led around by the nose ring is how we are today. 🙂 Oh but hey, she has a little blog on the Internet so she must know what she is talking about …

    You will see more from Nadia Kilrick. You will see more excellent reviews as well. Some people seem to have an issue when another author is doing well. I assure you, this won’t bother Nadia, she is on cloud nine with each book she completes. You go girl!


    • Oh my, got some hurt on, do we?

      I read Cedar’s review. Then I went and looked at the free sample for the book. You obviously have a different definition of “excellent read” than I do. Based on the sample, there’s no way I’d buy the book. I won’t go into the reasons why except to say it didn’t ring true — and I have been in abusive relationships and have worked with abused women.

      However, I will get into your response to the review. First of all, at no point did Cedar put anyone “in a box” nor did she has they all have to react to a situation the same way. You, unfortunately, are the one doing what you accuse her of doing. All she said was that she had issues with the main character’s motivations in marrying the guy and then, by implication, in remaining with him. Oh, and let’s not forget about the awkward writing, the lack of placing a “when” in the book or the cover that signals one thing and yet the book delivers something else.

      The fact you can’t even snark well — assuming the book is too “deep” for someone because they didn’t finish it (see the above reasons why she didn’t) or condemning those who say they won’t read a book because a critic they happen to trust because they know the critic’s taste runs much as their does — makes your comments all the more sad. If you are going to snark, at least go study good snarks first and then try to imitate them. Yours doesn’t rise to an average level snark.

      Finally, if you must really be worried about someone because “she has a little blog on the Internet so she must know what she is talking about”. Why else come here and try to deride the critic instead of, oh, writing your own review of the book and trying to help the author? I have to wonder if you’d have the courage to come write what you did if you had to give your real name and an e-mail address. Funny how so many folks feel they can say whatever they want under the anonymity of the internet.

      Liked by 1 person

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