Name: Stolen: A Letter To My Captor
Author: Lucy Christopher
Paperback, 301 Pages
“I made it,” you said, gruffly, “for you.”
You shoved it onto my finger. It was roughly carved, shaped from a lump of something colourful and cold…a ring made entirely from a gemstone. It was beautiful. It glinted emerald greens and blood reds over my skin, and had tiny flecks of gold catching the light. I couldn’t stop staring at it.
“Why?” I asked.
You didn’t answer that. Instead you touched the ring gently and looked piercingly at me, unsaid questions in your eyes.
“You saw me before I saw you. You had that look in your eyes. Like you wanted me. Wanted me for a long time.”
Sixteen-year-old Gemma is at an airport coffee shop in Bangkok when she sees him. Ty is in his mid twenties. He looks familiar to her, something about his beautiful blue eyes, but she can’t place him. He buys her a coffee, they chat, then she starts to feel funny. She has been drugged. She is being kidnapped.
She regains full consciousness in a rustic house deep in the Australian Outback with a 25-year-old man who is going to keep her forever. Ty never sexually abuses her, but she is truly a captive, held in the middle of nowhere.
Little by little, Ty wears down her defenses as Gemma realizes that escape is impossible. Soon she discovers the stark power and vibrancy of the wilderness and becomes absorbed in it. She also learns that Ty has been stalking her for years, devising a crafty plan to steal her away to make her love him.
Christopher uses a unique first-person narrative to chronicle Gemma’s ordeal. Both characters are as vivid as the desert setting in which they are immersed. Despite the fact that Ty is a kidnapper, the revelations about his difficult youth and unusually caring behavior allow the reader, like Gemma, to eventually care about him.
The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, after she escapes, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they (almost) don’t exist.
Stolen is a journey into the psychology of Stockholm Syndrome. It is such a singular reading experience that it’s difficult to decide how to feel about it. Christopher doesn’t spare on the details both good and bad. Fantastically written, beautiful, disturbing, and heart breaking, it is an unforgettable read.
Written by Celine Margaret.