Naomi seems to have the perfect life…on the surface, that is. Her parents are incredibly successful, and they’ve given her everything. She does exceptionally well at school and has been accepted to Harvard, though she’s also considering Berkeley. She’s been with her boyfriend forever, and that seems to be the way things are supposed to be. But when she’s kidnapped, everything comes into question. One minute, everything is perfectly normal, and the next minute…
She wakes up in a hotel room feeling like she’s been hit by a car. Fact is that she has, but now she’s been taken. She opens her eyes to see her kidnapper, and he’s holding a book of poetry. Because that’s what all kidnappers do, right? A short time later, she’s locked in a bedroom in what would otherwise appear to be a perfectly normal home, and while she can hear the voices of her many captors, she’s all alone except for a few quick visits from those in the house with her.
In time, it becomes clear that they intend to keep her, their way of letting her live while protecting themselves from whatever she might tell the police. Taking her was a mistake, but they didn’t know that when they ran her down with their car as they were leaving the scene of their latest crime. And now that they have her, they can’t exactly let her go.
Jesse is her constant during her captivity. He keeps her entertained with books, promises to never hurt her, and seems to be her best chance of ever escaping. And if she can gain his trust, get him to fall in love with her… well, the small freedoms they allow her to have now might grow into something that can finally get her back home. Of course, she didn’t plan on falling for him in return.
Naomi’s plight is filled with constant questioning. She questions the friendships her captors offer. She questions her parents’ love for her when she learns they’ve continued on with their lives as if she never vanished. She questions Jesse’s feelings for her, as well as her own feelings for him. And when her chance to escape looms closer, she questions whether she can really make herself leave.
How will she leave someone she’s fallen in love with, who has taken care of her and fought for her, who is so much better than the abusive boyfriend she left behind?
I had no idea where this story was headed when I started reading it. Sure, I knew she was going to fall in love with her kidnapper, but with a start like that, it could only go one of two ways. Either some completely unrealistic drama was going to occur that allowed them to live happily ever after, or the law would finally catch up to them, and she would be set free — free of her kidnappers and free of the man she loved, whether she wanted to leave him or not.
Jesse’s selflessness shocked the hell out of me. I expected him to help her in some way, but I didn’t expect him to truly sacrifice himself in order to free her. And I’ll admit I was a little heartbroken about it, but more than that, I appreciated the realism. After all, the story would have had to exercise some serious creative license when it comes to law if it were to erase what he’d done.
In the end (and despite my initial misgivings), I liked the story so much that as soon as I finished it, I immediately tracked down the sequel. After all, with a romance like theirs, who wouldn’t want to know what happens next?