I first discovered Elizabeth Haynes some years ago when I stumbled across her first novel, Into The Darkest Corner which is just brilliant! But then I seemed to lose track of her and only recently came across a review for this new book. I have since discovered that she has written a few others, but part of a series, whereas this is a standalone.
Never Alone is written from the point of view of Sarah (third person POV) and Aiden (second person POV which is a style I normally don’t like), but is done so brilliantly and really fit the character of Aiden. We also see a few sections in first person from a hidden ‘baddie’. The whole thing probably breaks most writing rules, and I love Ms Haynes for pushing those boundaries. For this book, it works. Really, really well.
From the very first chapter, the story grabbed me. There’s something about the way Ms Haynes lays words on a page which makes my eyes sing with joy.
Sarah lives in a remote cottage in Yorkshire, alone now since her husband died after an accident and her daughter and son left home. When she spots a Facebook post from an old flame (and ex-best friend of her husband) Aiden, asking if anyone knows of a place for rent, she sends him a message. Pretty soon, the two are rekindling their old relationship, but there’s something secretive and fishy about Aiden, and Sarah won’t quite let her guard down.
When her best friend, Sophie, the wife of an MP and all-round lonely housewife, starts having a fling with Will, a young man who used to hang around with Sarah’s son, things take a quick downward turn, especially when we discover that Sarah has her own secret to hide.
As the weather closes in, things get very dark and very scary. Ms Haynes ramps up the tension brilliantly and I found myself trying to read faster and faster, a sure sign I’m ‘in the zone’. The isolation of Sarah’s farmhouse, and the wonderful description of the bleak and cold surroundings makes you feel as though you are right there, watching events unfold before your very eyes.
Is ‘Never Alone’ as good as ‘Into the Darkest Corner’? In my opinion, no, not quite. But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a brilliant book in its own right. Ms Haynes does dark tension better than most I’ve read, and I can’t wait for her next tension-filled novel.
Go grab yourself a copy, but make sure to keep the lights on!