What if you found out that you’d been married to a stranger?
‘Never go there, Nuala. Please, never go there.’
Nuala knows nothing of her husband James’s past. He made her swear that she would never contact his family and never, EVER visit the place he was from.
But now James is dead, and Nuala is alone. Grieving and desperate, she decides to ignore his warning.
Nuala is about to find out that some secrets are better left buried – and that uncovering the truth about the man she married will have terrible consequences…
After a brutal prologue, the intensity fortunately relented for a small stretch with Nuala’s arrival into James’ home town, looking for a place to stay and stumbling into Maggie’s pub, meeting Emma, Maggie’s help and niece. She doesn’t know it yet but I’m guessing she’d have made other choices in hindsight.. nobody wants her there :-). The plotline gives a different perspective from Emma, Maggie, Lois and grieving widow Nuala in turn and it’s kind of sad but all four of these women have had their own share of grief and heartache.
When Nuala meets James’ mother Lois she doesn’t find the comfort she expected to find though. As it turns out, she’s a bitter old woman. Enough for me to dislike her instantly BUT my perception of her started to change as I turned the pages and by the end of the novel I even felt a little guilty of being so prejudiced. Nobody is born a bitter person right.. you don’t just choose to be like this, you become bitter and the author gradually divulged what made Lois the woman she is today and how all she had to deal with changed her so drastically. It really made my heart bleed.
This is not a happy novel, it’s in fact pretty dark and there was so much that happened in the past that have consequences in the present. Sadness, secrets and revenge all play their part. There is plenty of tragedy to go round but I liked Maggie, who never really recovered from her own husband’s death and hits the bottle every night, most of all. She was described so perfectly that I could really see her before me. She’s such a good person, raising her niece Emma since she was fourteen when her stepmother died. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to stop everything from coming out. When the train has left the station there’s nothing you can do :-).
Never Go There already made me hungry with its brilliant title and really, that title was perfectly chosen.. she bloody well shouldn’t have gone :-). The story was very twisted, with a lot of sensitive themes and triggers and yes I’m going to say it again, it’s very tragic. It’s dark, disturbing and the complex backstory made it a very compulsive read.
This book made me feel anger, hatred, heartache and pity. I can’t find any faults, the characters were wonderfully fleshed out and my conclusion is that I can highly recommend this read if you like to unearth secrets of the past. Impressive debut!
I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.