Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vouched Book, Q&A & Exclusive Giveaway—Escape from Paradise by Gwendolyn Field

Escape from Paradise
by Gwendolyn Field
Publication: June 26th, 2013 by Gwendolyn Field
Genre: Adult Dark Contemporary Romance | Mild BDSM

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When college sophomore Angela Birch sneaks from Texas to Mexico for Spring Break, she believes the worst that can happen is her parents finding out.


The worst is falling for the ruse of handsome, alluring Fernando. One spontaneous choice whisks Angela across the world to the pseudo paradise of Spain’s Mediterranean Riviera where she has another choice to make: live cooperatively as one of billionaire Marco Ruiz’s slaves, or die.

* * *

Colin Douglas’s future was seized and choked when deliberate tragedy struck his Scottish family at the age of sixteen. He spent his remaining youthful years infiltrating the U.K.’s crime world, seeking power, control, and revenge, all leading to a position as an undercover agent. With nothing to lose, Colin accepts the seemingly impossible job of rescuing America’s famous missing girl, Angela Birch. Colin knows that to enter a snake lair, one must become a snake. It turns out to be a mission which will put his desire for control to the ultimate test, and make him wish for things he never knew he wanted.

I'm having a hard time putting into words how much I love and appreciate this book. I probably enjoyed it more than I should have, as it revolves around a dark subject matter. Angela Birch is an American abducted by human traffickers, but instead of being sold, she finds herself as a sex slave owned by the father of the man who tricked her.

Escape from Paradise isn't the ordinary Contemporary BDSM/Stockholm Romance of the female protagonist falling for her captor and master. Far from it. Gwendolyn Fields managed to encompass the ugly psychological and emotional aspects while still being evocative. I could feel Angela so afraid for her life and so hopeful for rescue that I understood why she complied. I could feel her inner resistance, her desperation and strength to get through, before I felt her spirit crack, her mind bend and body be trained, and how that life would start to become the only one in the victim's mind.

The subject matter isn't pretty. It shouldn't be romanticized, taken lightly, nor brushed over. It breaks people and changes them irrevocably. But there is hope, during and after it. In the end, Escape from Paradise is about that hope—whether it be the victim's, the family members', or the authorities and people looking for them.

With her debut novel, Gwendolyn Field stunned me. From her fantastic writing that pulled me in from the first page, through her graphic description of each scene that made everything believable without being over the top, between the stages of fear, instilled peace and security, then false respect and true love before swinging back fear, to the horrific rapes and sex, as well as the gratifying and endless need for it, and all the action—I was turning the electronic pages with tense fingers, a thumping heart, and warring emotions.

I couldn't get enough, and I couldn't be more grateful of what I imagine is an accurate portrayal of all sides of such a horrible equation that is sexual slavery and still being deliciously provocative. Obviously, not all of the book is steamy; I'll say it again: rape—this book contains it. But there were moments I was panting, shifting and cursing in my seat. The author did a splendid job having erotic scenes at the right times and making it believable, along with balancing the romance and plot.

I think the only thing that makes me give this five stars instead of my all-time-fav-six-stars (I'd give it 5.5 stars if I could) is the ending—the resolution between Angela's and Colin's personal issues, to be exact. It seemed so fast, too easy. I wish there was another book to cover the healing process on both their ends as realistic as the rest of the book. I don't know if I believe the dangerous Marco would simply ... stop, either. I also wanted to see Colin's brother, Graham, who is a victim of human trafficking as well, make some progress. And Josef ... I want to know what happens to him. But that's just me. I'm needy like that. I did appreciate how nothing  was dragged out, though.

All in all, Escape from Paradise is by far the best Contemporary Romance leaning toward the Stockholm Syndrome premise that I've read to date. It was the most gratifying non-gratuitous Romance I've read. It may not be for everyone, but I highly recommend it to fans of such a storyline and to anyone with an open mind looking for a gripping, gritty, and surprisingly sexy read.

Describe Escape from Paradise in one sentence.
A tale of love being found in the dark, hopeless underworld of slavery.

I know what inspired the idea behind the book, but will you tell the readers the story behind the story?
Years ago when Natalie Holloway disappeared in Aruba, there was speculation about whether she was killed or sold into slavery. I was horrified by both prospects. I started imagining a normal American young woman finding herself in that terrifying world of slavery. I wondered if she would be able to cling to any hope of rescue, or if the psychological aspects would render her hopeless. But it wasn’t until after I read C.J. Roberts’s Dark Duet  this winter that I had the nerve to write the story that’d been stirring in my mind.

The subject matter of sexual slavery is a disturbing and delicate one. I found you handled it and portrayed the emotions involved wonderfully and seemingly with ease. What was the most challenging part of writing with such a premise?
The entire first forty percent of the book was so hard for me. Her psychological breakdown and the mental games her owner plays. It was hard to keep balance. I knew one particular scene was incredibly gross, but I felt it was necessary to see her at her lowest so we could sympathize and understand subsequent events.

Did you do a lot of research?
I did. Both Graham and Angela were in very different slavery situations, and I wanted to show the diversity in the crime world and just how far that power can reach. It’s scary stuff. I also had to research the settings of the books and Scottish dialect.

How did your family react to the topic? How do they feel about the book?
My husband is the only person in my family who knows. He’s been very supportive, despite the fact that he was a bit shocked at the working of his “sweet wife’s” mind, lol.

Did the story or writing it impact you personally along the way?
Absolutely. Writing this book forced me to dig deep and explore the things that both terrify me and excite me. I pushed beyond boundaries I never thought I would. It’s one thing to secretly have these disturbing and erotic thoughts, wonderings, and fascinations, and a whole other thing to actually write it down and share it with people!

How does it feel to have your debut out there in the hands of readers?
I’m not going to lie. I was scared to death. On the second day I almost pulled it, despite the good early reviews. There is a taboo in our mainstream society against erotica writers. As a “normal suburban soccer mom” I had to come to terms with the fact that someday people might find out that I’ve written this dark fiction, and I might face judgment. I had to put on my big girl undies and decide I needed to not care.

Your advice aspiring authors?
Write what’s on your heart.

Besides writing, what other artistic talents do you have?
None! Well, I like to decorate cakes, but I don’t do it often these days.

Are currently writing another book? If so, will you tell us about it?
I’m taking this summer off from writing because there’s just no time, but this fall I’d love to dive into Josef’s story so everyone can find out what’s been going on at the Villa after Angela’s escape. I’ve got some ideas that I’m looking forward to exploring.
Kind, mysterious, sexy Josef's story? Yes, please!
You have no idea how much giddiness is welling up inside me at hearing the possibility.
Don't give me false hope!

Current obsession:
angel food cake and fresh mozzarella
Last thing you Googled:
How to make kale chips.
You’re stressed. What’s the first thing you do or reach for?
chocolate or honey mustard and onion pretzel pieces
You write best with   complete quiet  ,   alone   and in your   bed  .
Best writing resource:
Guilty pleasure:
kid free time with just me and my Kindle
Automatic buy-list author:
Richelle Mead, Jen Armentrout, Emma Chase
Favorite Contemporary Romance book:
Tangled by Emma Chase
Character you wish was real so you could meet:
Daemon Black from the Lux books
Your favorite Lannister—Jaime or Tywin?
This is a Game of Thrones thing, isn’t it? I’m ashamed to say that I don’t watch any television. Isn’t that sad?? I used to, but now I read and write during the evenings. I did watch the first episode with my husband (he’s hooked on the books and show and is in love with the blonde chick). I was way creeped out by Jaime. I suck at pop culture!

Gwendolyn's Dream Cast:

Gwendolyn was kind enough to offer one lucky LUV'NV reader/follower an eBook copy of Escape from Paradise
The LUV'NV is also giving away another eBook copy because it was so amazing!

Terms & Conditions:
By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive an eBook copy of Escape from Paradise  by Gwendolyn Field. Winner's choice of Kindle or Nook copy.
Winners will be contacted via email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST August 10th and have 48 hours to reply before a different winner will be chosen.
Prize will be sent the week of August 12th.
Note: You do not need to own an eReader device to enjoy Kindle or Nook books. Download free Kindle apps here and
Nook apps here to start reading eBooks on major smartphones, tablets, and computers.


  1. I loved the excerpt of this book. It sounds very good and I love reading about the psychology of the the characters in the book. Very excited to pick up and read this book. Great job!

  2. Wow! This sounds like a great book! The first chapter definitely brought me in. Can't wait to read it!


  3. Thank you for the giveaway! This one seems to be a really interesting read! ^^

  4. I've been wanting to read this :) Thanks for the giveaway.