Sarah Carpenter lives in an isolated farmhouse in North Yorkshire and for the first time, after the death of her husband some years ago and her children, Louis and Kitty, leaving for university, she’s living alone. But she doesn’t consider herself lonely. She has two dogs, a wide network of friends and the support of her best friend, Sophie.
When an old acquaintance, Aiden Beck, needs somewhere to stay for a while, Sarah’s cottage seems ideal; and renewing her relationship with Aiden gives her a reason to smile again. It’s supposed to be temporary, but not everyone is comfortable with the arrangement: her children are wary of his motives, and Will Brewer, an old friend of her son’s, seems to have taken it upon himself to check up on Sarah at every opportunity. Even Sophie has grown remote and distant.
After Sophie disappears, it’s clear she hasn’t been entirely honest with anyone, including Will, who seems more concerned for Sarah’s safety than anyone else. As the weather closes in, events take a dramatic turn and Kitty too goes missing. Suddenly Sarah finds herself in terrible danger, unsure of who she can still trust.
But she isn’t facing this alone; she has Aiden, and Aiden offers the protection that Sarah needs. Doesn’t he?
When widow Sarah Carpenter finds herself living on her own in the remote Yorkshire moors after her two children leave home she’s not as uneasy about the situation as you might imagine. After all, it’s not like she’s alone; she has her close friend Sophie amongst a wide range of other friends and she’s also got her two dogs for company.
However, as it turns out she’s not given the opportunity to feel lonely when a familiar face from her past, Aiden Beck, materialises back in her life and is in need of a place to stay…
Confession time: This is the first book of Elizabeth Haynes that I have ever read. I KNOW, RIGHT? Madness. I am seriously wondering what on earth I have been doing with my life because everything about this tense, twisty, dark thriller was absolutely brilliant.
With chapters alternating between Sarah, Aiden and also an anonymous narrator, Elizabeth Haynes effortlessly builds the tension via the characters. I was also desperate to find out who this mystery narrator really was. Whilst it took me a little while to get to grips with not knowing his identity, once I really dug into the story I felt as though I was on the biggest, scariest, most death-defying rollercoaster that Alton Towers had to offer and I certainly didn’t plan on getting off any time soon..
As well as creating absolutely fascinating characters (the type that you’re never certain you can trust…) Haynes really brought the super-creepy location to life for me throughout the story too. As settings go, Sarah’s creaky old house hidden away in the Yorkshire Moors is pretty spooky. I could almost feel the icy chill of the wind down my neck. Eeeekk…
The overall plotline of Never Alone is extremely clever and well executed. I’d certainly class it was a ‘grown-up’ thriller; it’s and chock full of suspense and will almost certainly leave you feeling like a nervous wreck whilst reading.
The thing that creeped me out most about Never Alone was how realistic is was. The thought that this could happen to any one of us and how easy the situation arose almost had me sleeping with the lights on… (That’s a lie. It DID have me sleeping with the lights on.) The way that the story keeps you guessing is absolutely brilliant and will have your nerves in shreds. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…But read it anyway!
A huge thank you to Emma at Myraid for the opportunity to review Never Alone and take part in the official blog tour.
Elizabeth Haynes grew up in Seaford, Sussex and studied English, German and Art History at Leicester University.
She previously worked as a police intelligence analyst and lives in Norfolk with her husband and son.