Escape From Eternity
By Nate Scholze
Author’s Website: natescholze.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Lee
In the tiny Door County village of Ephraim, Wisconsin, Laura Whitmore is sought out by an Englishman who says he needs her to identify someone she has never met but who must be found to save our world. Confused and baffled, Laura wonders if this man, calling himself Adrian, might be hiding something sinister when he reveals the person he is seeking has made astonishing modifications to Earth’s early inhabitants. He may have even changed the past.
Laura seeks asylum from this unnerving information, but Adrian pursues her and begins to explain what everyone has always wondered. What is the purpose of life on Earth? Laura finds she must make an ill-fated decision that will lead to the untimely death of a close friend, and in the end she must accept a destiny that will result in her escape from eternity (Goodreads).
Laura Whitmore is twenty-one years old and determined to make it on her own. In the aftermath of her beloved boyfriend Steven’s death, she has moved out of her overprotective father’s house and into her own space, taking a job as a waitress in order to make ends meet. She deals with an interfering younger sister and a sexual predator of a boss, and seems to do nothing else in her spare time but consume copious amounts of brandy and cola.
That all changes when a mysterious Englishman named Adrian arrives in town. Adrian is some sort of extraterrestrial spirit, who has taken the body of an ordinary British professor named William Nolan in order to carry out his quest to find the leader of his people, Menonan. For some reason, he believes the answer to Menonan’s location lies in Ephraim, Wisconsin, with the eldest Whitmore daughter—Laura. What follows is a madcap journey across the Atlantic and to the rural Midwest, where Laura’s small town and social circle find themselves torn apart by the murder, mayhem, and mystery that comes in Adrian’s wake. Especially when it turns out his arrival was not altogether unexpected.
The plot has many twists and turns and characters that slide in and out of the storyline. Scholze has created a remarkably detailed mythology within Escape from Eternity, one that cannot be fully explored over the nearly four-hundred-page novel. One can only hope that he plans on exploring the ideas and worlds created within the story further in additional novels. However, those novels would benefit from not featuring Laura Whitmore as a main protagonist. Perhaps we’re supposed to have sympathy for her because she has been grieving, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Laura is selfish, immature, rude, and expects everyone to bend to her every whim. Readers will find themselves identifying with Laura’s bossy parents and little sister, despite Scholze putting portraying them as being too overprotective, because Laura’s actions throughout the novel show that she clearly needs someone to take care of her. Her father repeatedly tells her she isn’t ready to live on her own, and her actions throughout the story prove him right time and time again. She repeatedly takes advantage of her childhood friend, Colin, then grows whiny and screams at him when he finally tells her he’s not going to jump every time she calls anymore. She appears to believe that she is the princess of Ephraim; it might be what Scholze intended, but it’s rather off-putting and makes it hard for the reader to care about her destiny. Perhaps in any further installments of the story Laura will have matured and accepted her destiny; however, in Escape from Eternity she is most definitely a child, despite being of legal drinking age.
Overall, Scholze exhibits remarkable creativity in the ideas he explores within Escape from Eternity. Menonan’s identity and location is indeed rather surprising, and opens up a host of new mysteries for the reader to contemplate. There is a large ensemble of characters, including Laura’s impossibly evil boss, Adam Blake, that will capture the reader’s interest, even if one finds oneself incredibly annoyed with the heroine of the piece.