reviewed by Carolyn Scott
The Prisoner is built on a very intriguing premise. When an impoverished young woman agrees to marry a very wealthy man, both of them see it as the means to an end which has nothing whatsoever to do with love. However, after only being married for a few days, they are both abducted and held prisoner.
After losing her mother as a young child and her father from cancer when she was sixteen, Amelie Lamont moved to London to find work and save enough money to complete her education. However, after her summer job in a restaurant finished, she found herself unemployed and homeless until rescued by Carolyn Blakely who offered her a room in her house and a job as her housekeeper for as long as she wanted to stay. Gradually Amelie made a new life for herself, meeting Carolyn’s friends Justine and Lina who both worked for a magazine, Exclusives, which features interviews of the movers and shakers and celebrities of the day. Eventually Amelie also landed a job working at the magazine for the owner, Ned Hawthorpe, son of a billionaire philanthropist.
When Ned unexpectedly asks Amelie to accompany him to Los Vegas, where he had an interview lined up, she was excited to have been invited along. However, it turned out that Ned had a business proposition for her that should be mutually beneficial that she found hard to turn down. Unfortunately, she had no idea of the man Ned Hawthorpe really was, but it wasn’t long until she found out. However, before she can figure out how to get out of their arrangement, they were abducted.
Written in short, sharp chapters, the novel starts strongly at a good pace and the mystery of the abduction makes for compelling reading. Amelie and Ned are kept in complete darkness in separate rooms and although Amelie never sees the kidnappers, she is treated well by them. However, the pace then slows down as the kidnappers wait for Ned’s father to decide to pay a ransom and despite the situation never became very suspenseful. Although young and naïve, Amelie has lived through tough times and is portrayed as a survivor, intelligent and willing to fight for her freedom. As one of the main characters, it would also have been good to know more about Ned, in particular why he became the man he is and yet managed to maintain his persona as a charming man and fly under everyone’s radar.
In the aftermath of the abduction there is a lot of explanation of the events that led up to it and what motivated the kidnappers, some of it requiring a suspension of belief. This really dragged out the ending and still managed to leave me with a lot of unanswered questions. Perhaps it would have worked better if more had been incorporated into the plot earlier so that so much additional information and explanation was not required. Although not destined to be amongst my favourite B.A. Paris’ novels, I really enjoyed the overall premise and Amelie’s story.
With thanks to St Martin’s via Netgalley for a copy to read.