Never Alone
PublisherMyriad Editions
Date Published06 October 2016
Price£ 8.99

Never Alone

by Elizabeth Haynes

Sarah Carpenter lives alone in an isolated farmhouse, so when an old friend needs somewhere to stay, she’s happy to help. But not everything is as it seems


Sarah Carpenter lives alone in an isolated farmhouse high on the North York moors. Her husband, Jim died in a car accident and her two children have flown the nest - her daughter Kitty for university and her son Louis for work. She enjoys her life, walking her two dogs and illustrating children’s books for a living and has a wide circle of acquaintances and friends, including Sophie, who is her best friend and confident.

Unexpectedly Aiden, an old friend of Sarah’s and of her late husband from their university days together, is looking for accommodation in the area and Sarah rents him a small holiday let adjoining her farm cottage. All goes well and Sarah is very happy. However, all may not be as it appears on the surface through Sarah’s rose-tinted spectacles and her children are suspicious of his intentions. Will Brewer, an old friend of the family, is very uneasy with the cosy arrangement and takes every opportunity to look in, often uninvited, to check on Sarah.

Subplots and secrets abound with Sarah’s, Sophie’s, Jim’s and Will’s past surfacing and the tendrils of long hidden histories intertwining to affect the present day. Ultimately this leads to a dramatic episode with Sophie and Aiden both disappearing separately and Kitty appearing to have been kidnapped. At this point, the weather closes in, snowdrifts block the road, and the story turns a dramatic corner. Sarah finds herself in tremendous danger and very quickly realises that there are far worse things than being alone, with the knowledge that her trust may have been severely misplaced.

After a gentle build-up, the pace of the book never slows or lets up as it grows to an unsettling conclusion. I enjoyed the way the book builds the tension from the viewpoint of the two main characters. In short, it is a thrilling and atmospheric page-turner, which is always creepy and unsettling. It makes the reader question every small nuance and to wonder why something has happened the way it has.

Reviewed 08 July 2017 by Chris Smart