My husband and I once had an argument because I wanted to recreate the entire cast of Spongebob using family members and he didn’t want to play. It wasn’t a serious fight, of course, and it ended with both of us laughing at our (ok, my) idiocy, but the point is—marriage be crazy sometimes! It’s the ultimate stomping ground for ungodly amounts of insignificant disputes. And when *fiction* gets a hold of this sacred bond and warps its complexities into darkly disturbing thrillers, it can be immensely (if not scarily) entertaining.
Which is precisely why I love domestic thrillers.
Of course, the marital drama in Never Let You Go sees my spongebob altercation and raises the stakes by about a million.
We have a woman and her daughter on the run, desperate to hide from an abusive ex-husband. The story is broken into three parts; the first part weaves in and out of past and present settings.
We see the “honeymoon” phase: his charm; her adoration. We can sense the allure. Then, snap to the present which is ridden with fear and anxiety and betrayal.
She wants to leave him. She has to leave him. But what if he comes through on his threat and takes their daughter away? What if he kills her?
She just can’t risk it, and so she stays. She’s determined to be “better’ and “good” and everything perfect to keep him happy; keep his rage at bay.
She makes excuses for him. It’s always her fault. She breathes it all in and swallows it down until she can physically and mentally take no more…and then she forms a plan. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, and she’s finally going to reach for it.
This story is told through a first person narration, so we really get an in-depth feel of the struggle. In its latter parts, the perspective begins to alternate with the heroine’s teenaged daughter, which instantly increases the power of the plot. You will ache for both women, and long to see them live a life free from fear and uncertainty.
The writing is simple yet effective, and has a very matter-of-fact air about it. This author is a good storyteller and doesn’t just spark the reader’s interest, but holds on to it. The only area that confounded me a bit was the fact that all the “suspects” seem to hold the same amount of mystery. I felt any of them could have fit the bill, so to speak.
Don’t get me wrong, I love when I don’t know which characters can be trusted, but it kind of softens the blow if you suspect everyone equally throughout the entire read–at least, in this case. That said, the twists themselves were very well-handled, with one particular stunner I did NOT see coming until it was just about in my face.
This is my first read by Miss Stevens, and I’m going to guess that fans of her work will LOVE this one.
*Huge thanks to publisher for providing Arc via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*