During a book slump last year, I picked up British Columbia author Chevy Stevens’ book Those Girls ($13.99, St. Martin’s Press), and just like that I was back to reading about a couple of books a month.
When Raincoast Books kindly sent me her latest, Never Let You Go, a thriller that follows the story of Lindsey Nash who escaped her abusive husband with her young daughter, Sophie, and started life again, I was pretty excited to read it.
For the second time, Stevens’ writing immediately pulled me into the story, with each chapter going between past and present. The suspense, and the sick feeling you were left with, were immediate.
The characters were realistic, as was, sadly, the situation.
The change that comes over Andrew once he and Lindsey get married is almost instant, and Andrew grows more controlling and manipulative the longer they are together. What happens with the puppy Andrew buys for Lindsey made me loose the desire to continue to read the story, but it was the reaction of Sophie in the present day that made me close the book and not open it again.
Andrew, as you learn several chapters in, eventually goes to jail after killing someone while driving drunk, getting the maximum sentence after the police found a gun in his vehicle and Andrew himself threatening to kill Lindsey. It is then that Lindsey and Sophie finally stop moving around and start their lives over.
But Lindsey, like most parents, mothers most likely, obviously never tells her daughter the complete truth of life with Andrew, including his abusive behaviour, likely as a way to try and shield Sophie from the fact her father is a monster.
So when Lindsey tells Sophie her father has been released from jail and asks her to inform her if Sophie sees him at all, her daughter brushes off her mother’s fear and suggests her father may not be as bad as she is saying.
And with that, I was done.
I couldn’t read anymore because I could see where the book was heading. In Lindsey’s quest to protect her daughter from the situation she left, her daughter doubted the abuse her mother faced, and didn’t treat the situation as gravely as was required.