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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
How does a caring high school counselor and midwife, Eliza, end up on death row in the first place? And why does the man sent to execute her, the prison warden's son, help her escape the night before her execution? Furthermore, how do the pair manage to erase all traces of their movements and start a new life together in faraway New Zealand? This is only part of the fascinating plot. It's what follows - the subtle, carefully thought-through revelations of events, people, motivations, and truths that precipitated this escape - that keeps readers riveted. This novel isn't just about The Prisoner and the Executioner of the title. It's also about the sexual abuse of 15-year-old Lydia and the reasons for her abuse at the hands of those she trusted. And even that part of the plot and characterization won't summarize just how far-reaching this story is, the depths it probes, and how deeply it touches the reader.
Sometimes a book comes along that grabs you so hard you can't let it go till you've reached the end… and even then, it doesn't fully release you. That's what reading The Prisoner and the Executioner by Catee Ryan felt like for me. Catee Ryan is a gifted writer. She delivers her story through the eyes and thoughts of the various characters, allowing us to uncover each speaker's truths and motivations for ourselves. Descriptions are limited to what is necessary. No fluff or padding here. The dialogue is realistic, the plot is plausible, and the characterization is captivating, especially when it comes to the principal characters who are emotionally engaging. The Prisoner and the Executioner is a marvelous story. I will never forget it and cannot recommend it highly enough. Five stars all the way!