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Review by Suze
Layla's best friend Danni passed away at a student party and Layla feels guilty and sad. She now regularly visits Danni's parents, Melody and Reece. However, those visits tend to be uncomfortable and Layla is afraid Melody gets too attached. Layla feels obligated to keep going, but she'd rather not spend so many weekends with them. She has to find a way to deal with the situation and with her conscience before it gets out of hand, will Layla be able to ever shake the feeling of loss and regret?
Morgan's biggest wish is to write a book. He's found the perfect place to work on his masterpiece. When he meets Layla he knows there's something special between them, but they both aren't free. Morgan is still in a relationship and Layla is struggling with the past. Will they have a future together? Layla thinks she isn't lovable, because of what happened to Danni. Is this really true or will people still care about her no matter what she did or didn't do?
Never Coming Back is a beautiful heartbreaking story. I immediately loved Layla. She's a talented chef and I loved how she follows her true passion. She's also strong and kind, but she's weighed down by guilt. My heart ached for her, for the person she now is, the girl she used to be and for everything she's lost. Her story isn't only sad though, there's hope and slowly some light is coming back into her life. Deirdre Palmer writes about everything she's been through with empathy and understanding, which is something I loved about the story. Layla's visits with Melody and Reece are oppressive and loaded with grief and clinginess. Danni might have passed away, but she has a powerful effect on Layla's future. Deirdre Palmer describes this in a stunning moving way.
Layla and Morgan are perfect for each other, but they don't meet in the most ideal circumstances. Finding out what secret Layla has to carry with her kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldn't wait to discover if she and Morgan would have a chance together or not. The romance aspect of Never Coming Back is tender and tentative, which perfectly suits the story. Deirdre Palmer has clearly thought about her subject and the reactions of her main characters and this definitely impressed me. They are all in some kind of emotional turmoil and every sentence about what they're going through is spot-on. The story is complete and it's built on a solid foundation of meaningful connections.
Deirdre Palmer has a wonderful descriptive writing style. I could easily picture everything that happens in her story. I loved the stunning settings and the way she uses colors and small details to paint a complete picture of the atmosphere. It made the story come to life incredibly well and I really admired that about her writing. Never Coming Back is a fantastic profound and compelling story.
If you like beautiful emotional stories you should definitely read Never Coming Back.
Review by Tanya
Layla is a bright young lady just out of university and working as a trainee chef. She has a dark secret that she is hiding, which involves the death of her best friend from university, Danni. Melody and Reece are Danni’s parents. They are finding the death of their only daughter extremely difficult. Kate is Melody’s therapist and lives in the seaside town of Haverstone with her partner, Morgan, who is trying to write his first book.
Layla is really struggling with the death of her best friend and the circumstances that it happened in. You do not find out until towards the end what happened and why this makes Layla think that she does not deserve love or want a relationship with someone. She fights against the instant attraction that she has to Morgan because of this. However, she also feels obliged to continue to see Danni’s parents and to spend some weekends with them, even though she does not feel comfortable when she's there and worries that Melody especially is transferring her love for Danni towards her. Abe, Layla’s now best friend and work colleague, tries to discourage her from continuing with the relationship with the parents because he does not see it as healthy and recognises that it is making her depressed when she returns. I was worried about Layla and extremely curious as to why she feels guilty for Danni’s death. I liked her character and the close relationship that she has with her family and Abe, even though she hadn’t told them about Danni's death either. I really wanted her to be happy and to overcome her guilt.
As for Danni’s parents I can understand how they would struggle so much to come to terms with the situation and how hard it must be to talk about Danni. They need to grieve, but they also have to learn to be there for each other. They are carrying their own guilt, which will not allow them to open up. Their story is heartrending and it moved me to tears from time to time.
The setting of the book in a village called Maybridge in Kent and the river of sounds incredible and extremely romantic. You can tell that Deirdre Palmer has been inspired by places that she has visited and seen, which comes across in her descriptions. The characters are varied and multilayered and I loved their clever complex connections. At the end I was happy, but sad I finished the story, which is always a good sign. Never Coming Back is a marvelous page-turner.
About Deirdre Palmer
Deirdre lives in the south-coast seaside city of Brighton. She writes women’s fiction, with strong themes of family, friendship and love, and the challenges ordinary people face in their everyday lives.
Four of her novels are published by Crooked Cat. Believing it’s a good idea to write what you know, Deirdre set 'Dirty Weekend' and its sequel, 'Moonshine', in the 1960s. These are fast-paced, fun reads, but with a serious side as the young characters get to grips with life’s problems. 'Remarkable Things' and 'Never Coming Back' are more thought-provoking reads, with themes such as adoption, motherhood, bereavement and guilt, but both have their lighter moments, too.
Deirdre also writes short stories and is published by D C Thomson for The People’s Friend magazine. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and was twice a major prize-winner in the Mail on Sunday novel competition. When she isn’t writing, or reading, she enjoys ‘having a go’ at drawing and painting, and getting out and about in the Sussex countryside. And, she’s just a bit crazy about cats!
Find out more about Deirdre and her writing here:
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