AUTHOR: Nicky Clifford
PUBLICATION DATE: October 21, 2016
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Mountains, Mystery, Romance: Can you run from your past?
Harriet Anderson’s life is spiralling out of control. Unused to such mayhem, she ditches her high-powered job to take refuge in the Swiss Alps where she meets Philippe Smith, a crime writer with a dark and shadowy past. Thrown together by chance, is their fate intertwined? Will the karma and romance of the mountains and the quaintness of the Alps soothe their troubled souls?
Or will their rocky paths create avalanches that cannot be avoided...
Never Again is an enthralling and emotional novel, an entertaining contemporary romance that has as many twists and turns as a really good thriller too. The story gripped me from the opening few pages with its engaging writing and it was easy to become lost in the romance between Harriet and Philippe.
After a horrific few months, we meet Harriet as she is starting her new job as a waitress in a Swiss hotel. Things don’t run smoothly from then on, though, as her first task is to bring a coffee out to one of their long-standing and mysterious guests, Philippe, which left both of them crying over spilt milk. Philippe instantly comes across as rude and bad-mannered, and Harriet would agree, but it didn’t take long for both of them to see a different side to each other and move on from the wrong foot they started off on.
So when we first meet Philippe, he appears grumpy and arrogant and for someone who reads a lot of books in this genre, you already know he is going to have some backstory which has led him to his uncouth attitude. This isn’t a bad thing, though, as the way the author introduces us to Philippe had me completely drawn into his character and interested in who he was and why he was so keen to escape to a quiet location. Parts of his past definitely surprised me and I really grew to like him during this book. He wasn’t perfect by any means – but I loved that about him. He felt real.
I liked Harriet right away. It’s obvious that she too is looking for an escape but not a romantic one, but then of course she meets Philippe… Harriet had a lot in her past she was struggling with but she was still quite a fiery character at times and I enjoyed seeing her grow and stand up for herself more. From the beginning when she doesn’t just let Philippe shout at her because she spilt some of his drink, I knew she was going to be an easy character to root for. I do like it when I can get to know a character so much that they feel like a friend, someone you might want to shake a little bit at times but only with their best interests at heart. Harriet’s character really develops throughout the course of this book and it was satisfying to see that happen.
There was a lot to enjoy in this novel from the gorgeous setting to the characters. There were several characters in this book but the supporting characters were developed just as strongly as Harriet and Philippe. My favourite was probably Elspeth, a lovely and wise hotel guest who contributed to some of my favourite scenes in the book.
With the beautiful setting, back and forth romance, strong characters and the moving story, comparisons could be drawn between the writing style of Nicky Clifford and one of my favourite authors Karen Aldous. I love that escapist style of writing, where the way the setting is described makes you want to be there yourself and the romance is both dramatic and realistic, which had me fully immersed in the story. The author paints a dreamy picture of the setting that will have you imagining yourself there, enjoying mugs of hot chocolate in amongst the beautiful scenery. Overall, I found Never Again to be a really riveting debut novel and I am looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.