Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Stockholm Syndrome

Books such as Bel Canto (Ann Patchett); Girl, Stolen (April Henry); Whatever Happened to Cass McBride? (Gail Giles); Stolen (Lucy Christopher) and Five Were Missing (also published as Ransom, by Lois Duncan) explore the complicated relationships that sometimes evolve between captives and captors. One real-life situation that made US headlines in the 1970s was the case of Patty Hearst, a kidnapped heiress who ended up robbing banks with her abductors. The Hearst case was widely viewed as an example of  Stockholm Syndrome (so named from a 1973 Swedish bank robbery in which hostages defended their captors).

Today, Michelle Davidson Argyle guest-posts about her new novel, in which an abduction has unforeseen consequences:

In The Breakaway, a family of thieves kidnaps Naomi Jensen. While Naomi understands the basic concept of Stockholm Syndrome, she finds it difficult to keep her defenses strong. She plans to try and escape her captors by convincing them that she is under their spell and falling in love with one of them … but the plan works too well when she actually does fall in love. She also finds herself dealing with sympathetic emotions for the other captors, as well. How does one break such a bond? And is it possible?

These are the kinds of questions I asked myself every time I worked on The Breakaway. To this day, even with the book completed and published, those questions fascinate me. Stockholm Syndrome is very real, and as my main character discovers in the novel, it is as real as the abuse she suffered in her past, yet never recognized. I think one of the reasons I love The Breakaway is because of the layers I peel back ever so slowly, both for the reader and Naomi. It has been a unique, suspenseful, and intriguing story for me to write.

THE BREAKAWAY: When Naomi Jensen is kidnapped, her one plan for escape is to convince one of her captors she is falling in love with him.

MICHELLE DAVIDSON ARGYLE lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. You can find more of her online at

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