Earlier this year I was so fortunate to meet Rebecca Tinnelly, author of Never Go There, at a wonderful event organised by the Hodder team. After that, Rebecca generously came onto Linda’s Book Bag to stay in with me and tell me about Never Go There when the e-book was released and you can read all about that here.
Although it’s several months later than I intended, I’m delighted to have my review of Never Go There today.
Never Go There is published by Hodder and Stoughton and is available for purchase through the links here.
Never Go There
He told her that she must never, EVER go there…
Nuala knows nothing of her husband James’s past. He made her swear that she would never contact his family or visit the place he was from. But now James is dead, and Nuala is alone. Grieving and desperate, she decides to ignore his warning.
But was he protecting her… or himself?
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…
My Review of Never Go There
When Nuala goes to her deceased husband’s home village she finds out more than she wants about his past.
Crumbs! Never Go There is a complex and thought-provoking twisty thriller. I’m not sure what I made of much of it as it deals with themes that are shocking and unpalatable that made me very uncomfortable and yet I wanted to read on. I wanted to know more in spite of my own sensibilities and this has left me feeling very uncomfortable.
I think this is the cleverness of Never Go There. Rebecca Tinnelly has woven elements of society that we don’t often face or discuss into her narrative so that she shocks and entertains at the same time. Having taught youngsters so like her characters of Lois and Emma I could readily accept how their lives had evolved. This makes the title of the book a real triumph. James may not have wanted Nuala to visit his home village but we in society frequently choose to ‘never go there’ in terms of the themes represented or in terms of questioning what happens under our noses too. I can’t reveal them all because I don’t want to spoil the read, but family, relationships, identity, sexuality, obsession, mental health and crime are all part of the fabric of this unsettling story. Rebecca Tinnelly makes the reader confront their own blindness to the harsh truths of life around them in the same way the characters do. This does not always make for comfortable reading.
As for the characters, I found them so well depicted. I didn’t actually like any of them, except perhaps Maggie, and yet I understood them and accepted completely why they behaved the way they did. I think it takes skill to write a novel where the reader doesn’t like the characters but can’t stop reading either! I’m hoping there will be a follow up novel with some of them as I am desperate to know what happens after the end of Never Go There.
I thought the second half of Never Go There was understandably more dynamic than the first half as the foundations for the characters and plot needed establishing, and found myself brought up sharp as revelations and actions happened. There were so many elements that I simply wasn’t expecting so that I finished the book feeling quite shell-shocked.
Never Go There is shocking in many ways. It’s definitely dark and disturbing. I can’t decide if I enjoyed the read or was completely unsettled by it – or both. Either way, it got my pulse racing and my brain whirring and I’ll be thinking about it for some time. I do know, however, that Never Go There will establish Rebecca Tinnelly as a go-to thriller writer of the future.
About Rebecca Tinnelly
Rebecca Tinnelly lives amongst the twisted sessile oaks of the Somerset coast with her two children and two cats. No doubt fuelled by the stories she was told by her stepmother, a consultant pathologist, Rebecca is most interested in writing about the darker side of society and family life.
After a successful career in sales, most recently selling wicker coffins, she waved goodbye to the office to pursue a career in writing. And, when not writing, enjoys baking the odd cake or two. Never Go There is her debut novel.