Friday, 8 September 2017

Book Review - Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

I felt like this book chewed me up and spat me back out. It played with my emotions and made me doubt myself. It's been a long time since a book has been able to do that.

Never Let Me Go opens on Lindsey, a single mother of 17 year old Sophie, who left her abusive husband 11 years ago. Learning that Andrew, her ex, has been recently released from prison following a terrible car accident on the night of her escape, Lindsey fears that Andrew will never let her go. As weird things start happening in her home, mysterious intrusions and mind games, Lindsey fears the worst - should she run?

The plot for this was intense from the get go. In the first part there is a mixture of flashbacks mingled in with the present day story, which helps fill in the gaps about Lindsey and her abusive relationship with Andrew. Some of these scenes were quite difficult to read, and I had to step away from the narrative on a number of occasions just to catch my breath. The author seemed to capture the absolute captivity and suffocation Lindsey experiences so well, and the mental abuse she suffers is despicable to read. There was one scene in particular, involving a dog, that I know will stay with me for a long time because of the absolute helplessness I felt in parallel with Lindsey. We also see .

I liked Lindsey as a main character. We see her change throughout the novel from a confident young woman, to a defenceless woman and mother trapped in a highly volatile environment. She's never presented as anything other than an average woman. A normal, vulnerable woman who can still be easily manipulated by a man she thought she'd never hear from again. Her paranoia is infectious, and I felt myself on edge whenever she experienced anything unsettling. I really felt for her character, and shared her hatred and mistrust about Andrew instantly.

The plot also uses narrative not only from Lindsey, but her 17 year old daughter Sophie. I thought this was a great addition to the novel, as it added another opinion to the mix. We see Sophie struggle with her guilt towards her mother as she gets to know her father, and the complex set of emotions she experiences as the story progresses which are easily mirrored in children from a similar domestic background. Love for her father cannot be completely undone by her mother's bias.

We also see Sophie's story start to mirror her mother's past - which I didn't expect. I became really invested in finding out how her relationship with Jared would develop, and how (or if) she would play it out any different to her mother had.

The only real let down, in my opinion, was the 'plot twist' which developed towards the conclusion of the novel. There are hints from about 70% of the way in that things were going to go down a certain path - which were confirmed to me at the conclusion. I liked the little hints, but I felt they were too much of a give away for me. I would have liked a bigger surprise. However, I will say Chevy Stevens did manage to change my opinion about characters that I thought would never have been possible to achieve. She brought a new perspective to my ideas, which I really appreciated, and I came away looking at things from a completely different angle.

I'd recommend this to anyone who likes their thrillers with a touch of anxiety, and a large emotional build up. Great read.

Never Let You Go is available on Amazon now.

 - 4 stars

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