It is winter in the North Yorkshire Moors where Sarah Carpenter is coming to terms with the loss of her husband and the emptiness of her farmhouse now that her daughter Kitty has left for university. Her son Louis is not around much having fallen out with Sarah following the death of his father, although she has a good friend in Sophie, a politician’s wife.
Against this backdrop enters Aiden an old flame of Sarah’s who has rented her holiday cottage and she’s pleased to see him but she does wonder what he is keeping secret from her. And so it starts… another riveting psychological thriller from Elizabeth Haynes.
With the bleak background of the landscape, the feeling of claustrophobia inherent in a fairly isolated and remote home the setting is perfect for this dark and often torrid tale.
The cast of characters is superb and it is a sign of what a talented writer Elizabeth Haynes is that their interactions with each other, in a variety of settings allows us to see different aspects of their characters. At the start Sarah is quite a staid woman, worried about money, her children and to be honest not a lot else, her world possibly having shrunk dramatically now that she is widowed. Her sadness over the relationship with her son is eloquently described with the often helplessness from Sarah’s viewpoint that is so often a feature of this type of schism. Fortunately Elizabeth Haynes doesn’t constrain herself in developing just the main characters, every one we meet in this book is far more than a shadowy figure on the page and the way they bounce off each other definitely takes this book to a higher level than expected. Sophie and her sleazy MP husband George are just two that you may not like, but you are definitely be able to place them in a wider context than is usual with secondary characters.
It’s fair to say her children and her friends aren’t overly impressed with Aiden staying in the cottage when they know so little about him, and then when his choice of profession comes to light they are even less enamoured with the idea. Sarah is hurt by this but she is a loyal woman and although she has momentary doubts she isn’t about to kick Aiden out.
The story is mainly told from Sarah’s viewpoint in the Sarah’s in the third person although we also get Aiden’s side of things is told in the second person which is one of the rare occasions in a book where this actually works without jarring. Added to this we occasionally have a chilling narrative inserted along the way, who this belongs to and why it is there only becomes apparent at the end of the book which ends in a satisfying manner.
I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth Haynes ever since I picked up her newly published book Into the Darkest Corner which incidentally was the read that really got me hooked on psychological thrillers, she certainly didn’t disappoint me with Never Alone, although the moral of the story is that perhaps it is sometimes better to be alone…
Never Alone was my sixteenth read in the Mount TBR challenge as I actually read this book back in June – the 20 books of summer 2017 challenge having somewhat disrupted my reviewing although some of these also count towards this challenge too – a full update on where I’m at will follow once I’ve done a proper count and updated Goodreads!
Other Books by Elizabeth Haynes