When I published Escaping Paradise, I dedicated it to my grandmother and to Piers Anthony. I sent a copy to Piers, thanking him again for encouraging me in my writing and for sharing his knowledge with me so many years ago. I thought I’d probably get a response thanking me for the dedication and that would be that.
What I did not expect was a review! And wow, what a review! It took days to stop squealing and giggling like a deranged fangirl!
Today, I’m sharing the review with the world, very proudly. My mentor, my idol among writers, read my work and liked it! I can’t even begin to express how much this means to me. I’ve tried, but the words just fail, and all I can do is smile until my cheeks ache.
And so, here are the words he had to share.
I read Escaping Paradise by Kambry Ellis. This is a Romance on steroids. Alyssa Marks is a healthy young woman, out on an exercise run. When she returns there is a flyer on her windshield: a temporary employment agency. She plans to be a graphic artist, but it takes time to develop a clientele; maybe a temporary job would do. So she follows up, and it leads into romance, challenge, a brush with a kind of cult, amazing sex, torture, and fears of betrayal. Whom can she trust? Her boyfriend has an alarming alter ego. She gets more or less trapped on the cult site, theoretically a guest but unable to escape it. The leader is a pretty woman, soft spoken, wanting only the best for her followers—until she gets crossed and shows a much uglier side.
This sort of thing interests me because I had an uncle who truly followed God; in fact it was hard to have him speak more than one sentence without God intervening. “The price of beans in Bohemia? I don’t know the answer, but I know Someone who does…” He got in a mini religion, and in the end it cost him his wife, who committed suicide because of her resistance to the indoctrination, and he died up alienated and unhappy, having dedicated his life to a false cause. That’s my cynical interpretation, which surely differs violently from that of others, but it left me with a profound aversion to cults. There were those who saw me as being rather similar to my uncle. Ouch; I have always been a total unbeliever. Regardless, I’m glad to see a novel addressing the subject. This story is incomplete, to be continued in the sequel Chasing Freedom, but it strikes me as hitting close enough in that respect.