Haynes, Elizabeth. “Never Alone”, Myriad editions, 2016.
Sarah Carpenter lives in an isolated farmhouse in North Yorkshire. She has never lived alone before but her husband and now Louis and Kitty, her children are off to college. She claims not to feel lonely since she has many friends and two loyal dogs. When Aiden Black, an old friend, is in need of somewhere to stay for while, he remembers that Sarah has a cottage and with the renewed friendship between the two, everything seems fine.
While Aiden’s stay is supposed to be only temporary, supposed to be temporary, not everyone is comfortable with it. Kitty and Louis her children are wary of his motives, and Will Brewer who is an old friend of her son’s decides to have taken it upon himself to check up on Sarah whenever he can. Even Sarah’s best friend, Sophie has become remote and distant.
When Sophie disappears, we see she hasn’t been entirely honest with anyone, including Will, who seems more concerned for Sarah’s safety than anyone else. Suddenly, events take a dramatic turn and Kitty too goes missing and Sarah finds herself in terrible danger, unsure of whom she can still trust. However, she feels that she is not facing danger alone because Aiden is there and he offers protection.
The book opens with Sarah settling into her routines and enjoying the exploration of her old friendship with Aiden. Once, she Aiden, and Jim, whom she would eventually marry, were good friends. There was a competitive edge to the friendship between Jim and Aiden, however, yet when Sarah chose Jim, Aiden left and she didn’t hear from him for years.
Sarah’s friend, Sophie seems to have a lot of secrets beneath her charming exterior. There was something that told me to watch her carefully, especially after she and Will began an affair. She was already married and Will was a good deal younger than her. Ten there were times when Sophie and Aiden had private chats and we wonder if they are hiding something. Aiden seems to go to various places a lot and has never told Sarah how he earns a living. The Sarah discovers that there had bean a financial agreement between her now dead husband and Aiden and it was not that long ago that they entered into it. Sarah also wonders why Will comes by so often and often does not knock before coming into the house.
Three alternating narrators—Saran, Aiden and the unknown voice of someone who has been watching them, tell the story. After laboriously struggling through the opening sections of the book, the plot becomes very intense and the climax is stunning and amazing.
Aiden seem to be a strange one from the very beginning and I got strange vibes from Will as well. Even after Sarah asked him to stop coming by, she awakens one night to find him at the foot of her bed, watching her.
I could not help but feel that the atmosphere was dark and eerie and I feared for Sarah. Perhaps this was because the storyline seemed to be so implausible with a long-lost love with a questionable past returns to his hometown and rents a cottage from his one-time crush who married his now dead best friend.
Like I said, I had a rough time getting through the beginning but as I approached the end, I understood why the slow pacing had been necessary. The characters were developed well, especially Aiden who I grew to dislike. Before you sit down to read, make sure you clear the rest of the day because once things start happening, I found it impossible to stop reading.