#BookReview: Never Alone by Elizabeth Haynes (@Elizjhaynes)

510uL5rtumL“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?”

In case you missed it (YOU MISSED IT? *humph* – only kidding) Elizabeth Haynes appeared on damppebbles last Saturday, 30th July 2016, as part of her Never Alone blog tour.  Elizabeth wrote a fantastic piece about her early days as a writer and learning her craft.  Click here to have a look – trust me, you don’t want to miss it.  Today I am delighted to share my review of this wonderful book with you.

Sarah is lonely.  Her husband died in a tragic accident, her son despises her and her daughter has gone to university.  She has friends in the village and her two dogs but it’s easy to become cutoff from society when you live in a remote farmhouse on the North Yorkshire moors.  Thankfully all that changes when old flame Aiden Beck turns up looking for a room to rent.  Sarah leaps at the chance to have her ex-lover living in the farmhouse’s empty cottage, a stones throw from her.  But what is Aiden not telling Sarah? And exactly how close are Aiden and Sarah’s best friend, Sophie?  And where has Sophie suddenly disappeared to…?

This is a real page turner.  Elizabeth Haynes has once again done exactly what she does best and turned out a cracking psychological thriller that fans, old and new, will adore.  There is something about Elizabeth’s style that immediately draws you in; it feels familiar but with an edge and you know you are in for a twisty ride of a read.

It’s a little bit saucy in places.  Frequent visitors to damppebbles will know that I’m not a fan of bedroom naughtiness in my books.  But saying that, it fitted with the story and wasn’t too over the top so I didn’t find it an issue.  It’s certainly not Fifty Shades of Grey, put it that way!

Sarah was my favourite character in the novel.  Initially she felt quite dowdy but as the story progressed she seemed to shed that dowdiness and become more of a mumsy minx! Maybe that was due to Aiden’s arrival as, the way he’s described, I think most of us ladies would go weak at the knees.  I found Sarah’s relationship with her son, Louis, strangely upsetting and I wanted to know so much more about it (maybe there’s scope there for a novella?!).

The way Elizabeth Haynes describes the locations in the book, and particularly the area around Sarah’s farmhouse, was quite stunning.  Even more so when the snow storm hits. Elizabeth made me switch between wanting to live in Sarah’s beautiful farmhouse, to being absolutely terrified of being cut off from society in the blink of an eye.

Would I recommend this book?  Of course I would!  It’s a great read, very gripping and brilliantly written.  Full of dark suspicious characters and their well (or maybe, not so well) hidden secrets.  A real page turner from start to finish.

Four and a half stars out of five.

Many thanks to Emma Dowson, Myriad Editions and Elizabeth Haynes for providing me with a copy of Never Alone in exchange for an honest review.

Never Alone by Elizabeth Haynes was published in the UK by Myriad Editions in eBook format on 28th July 2016.  The paperback version will be published on 6th October 2016 | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Myriad Editions |

Smith & Sons (11)

elizabeth haynes mlibElizabeth Haynes is a former police intelligence analyst who lives in Norfolk with her husband and son. Her first novel, Into the Darkest Corner, was Amazon’s Best Book of the Year 2011 and is a New York Times bestseller. It has been published in thirty-seven countries. Her second novel, Revenge of the Tide, was published by Myriad in 2012 and her third, Human Remains, was published in 2013. She is also the author of two police procedural crime novels, Under a Silent Moon and Behind Closed Doors (Sphere).  Connect with Elizabeth Haynes via Twitter @Elizjhaynes.

 

Never Alone by Elizabeth Haynes *Blog Tour: Guest Post*

510uL5rtumL“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?”

I am thrilled to welcome you to the final stop on the Never Alone blog tour.  As a reader and a huge fan of psychological thrillers the name Elizabeth Haynes is one that makes you sit up and take note.  So when I heard Elizabeth had a new book coming out, I couldn’t WAIT to read it.  And read it I have.  Never Alone is a stunning novel; atmospheric, dark and a little bit naughty, definitely one not to miss!  My review will be up on damppebbles soon.  Today, however, I have something very special to share with you.  Today I have a guest post written by the lady herself.  Over to you Elizabeth…

Hello all, and firstly a massive thank you to Emma for allowing me to visit this beautiful blog with my ramblings! I’ve been thinking long and hard about what to write; it feels like a huge responsibility to be let loose on someone else’s page, rather like visiting a house and being invited to sleep in the master bedroom.

Like many people, I’ve written all my life. I remember writing what would now be described as Black Beauty fanfiction when I was about eight or nine; for the next several years my writing was based upon improving, reworking or otherwise fiddling about with things other people had written. My Guy magazine – remember that? I wrote my own version of those photo stories and shared them in the playground. I loved Ray Bradbury so for a while I was writing sci-fi, Americana style – stories of rockets and distant planets and the everyday, twisted. Then I discovered a prolific range of romance novels in the library – a little friskier than Mills and Boon – called Candlelight Ecstasy romances, and I wrote stories of passion in which the headstrong women protagonists appeared to fall into a kind of stupor at the crucial moment and needed a ‘firm hand’ to ‘tame’ them.

It’s all good practice, right? At the time I had no idea that what I was doing was learning my craft. I read widely, romance and crime and literary fiction – I read Jean Genet at about fourteen, with no real clue as to what was going on but recognising that the beauty of the words, even in translation, aroused intense emotion in me, and wishing I could write even a fraction as well.

As an adult my focus became crime. I collected second hand Agatha Christie paperbacks and from there found my favourite authors: Val McDermid, Minette Walters, John Harvey, Mo Hayder, Ruth Rendell and Nicci French, all idols of mine, and yet I continued to write romances that had no beginning or end, just extracts, because there seemed no point in continuing. Nobody was going to read it except me, after all.

It was only when I started working for the police as a civilian that I had an inkling that now, almost, I might attempt to write crime. I did not want to use any real-life cases or experiences but at least I had the frame of reference around which to build my story. I knew something of how the system worked, and as well as writing a compelling story I wanted to make sure that those – the vast majority of the public – who had no direct police contact, had some idea of what a hideously tough job it is.

Alongside my police procedural series featuring the Briarstone Major Crime team, I’ve always written psychological thrillers, and my new book Never Alone is one of these. It was inspired by some casual browsing on property websites, and finding a remote farmhouse on a hillside with a detached annexe gave me the entire plot. What’s it like, living there? When the snow comes, and it’s just you and the dogs? What if someone was living in the annexe, and you weren’t too sure they’d told you the truth about themselves?

I started out with the idea of writing about a woman of my own age, Sarah Carpenter, who finds herself in that situation familiar to many – being on her own for the first time in her life because her children have left home. I thought ‘empty nest’ syndrome would be an intriguing premise to consider, but as is often the case, the book took off in another direction entirely and Sarah ended up not being very alone at all.

I hope you enjoy reading the book. Please do let me know what you think of it; I love hearing from readers and I do read reviews and appreciate feedback. It may be thirty years since my feverish playground romance serials but I’m still very much learning my craft.

Elizabeth Haynes

It’s been a pleasure to have you visit damppebbles today Elizabeth and thank you for your fascinating post.

Never Alone by Elizabeth Haynes was published in the UK by Myriad Editions in eBook on 28th July 2016.  The paperback will be published on 6th October 2016 | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads | Myriad Editions |

Smith & Sons (11)

elizabeth haynes mlibElizabeth Haynes is a former police intelligence analyst who lives in Norfolk with her husband and son. Her first novel, Into the Darkest Corner, was Amazon’s Best Book of the Year 2011 and is a New York Times bestseller. It has been published in thirty-seven countries. Her second novel, Revenge of the Tide, was published by Myriad in 2012 and her third, Human Remains, was published in 2013. She is also the author of two police procedural crime novels, Under a Silent Moon and Behind Closed Doors (Sphere).  Connect with Elizabeth Haynes via Twitter @Elizjhaynes

Never Alone blog tour