Book Review : Never Say Goodbye by Susan Lewis

April 8, 2014 Book review 0 ★★★★½

Warning – this book caused me a humdinger of a book hangover and I think it’s only fair to warn you that it may do the same to you!  But read it anyway, it’s worth the pain!

Book Review : Never Say Goodbye by Susan LewisNever Say Goodbye by Susan Lewis
Published by Random House on 8 Apr 2014
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Social Issues, Womens Fiction
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

Josie Clarke, a loving wife and mother, struggles to make ends meet by cleaning homes and working at a diner while her husband drives a taxi.  Josie’s joy is her two children, just entering adulthood.  But with her son recently imprisoned for a crime she is certain he didn’t commit, and her daughter marrying too young, Josie now worries about the future—and wonders if she’ll ever be able to ensure their safety and happiness.

Across town, in a gorgeous house by the sea, successful property developer Bel Monkton lives in comparative luxury. But she has struggles of her own. Since the death of her twin sister more than a year ago, Bel has been unable to rebuild her shattered world, and the troubled past she thought was behind her haunts her ever more.

Faced with uncertainty and heartbreak, Josie and Bel find each other and a surprising friendship that will change their lives.

First Line of Never Say Goodbye:

“ “So what do you think that’s all about?” Josie Clarke murmured, almost to herself, as she put down the phone.”

My Thoughts on Never Say Goodbye:

I requested this book on NetGalley as I’ve enjoyed books by this author before.  I knew nada about it beyond who wrote it.  And I very quickly learned it was a book where one of the main characters had cancer which is always a hard subject to read about.  As an aside this should be in the synopsis, I need to mentally gear up for books like this and a little warning would be good.

However the characters in this book are amazing.  They are so ordinary; Josie could be your next door neighbour.  Jeff her man-of-few-words and not always likeable husband reminds me of so many men.  Together they are living a quiet life, struggling to make ends meet, not exactly happy but not unhappy either.  Until they find out Josie has cancer and it shakes everything up.

I think my favourite thing about this book is how all the characters grow on you and how realistic their reactions and interactions are.  The book spotlights just how cancer hits the whole family and how they don’t always know the right words to say.  And a lot of Josie’s energy goes into worrying about her family and how they will react and not into what is facing her.  It all just felt sickeningly real.

What I also loved was how through a support group, Josie met Bel whose twin sister had died from the same disease.  This book above all else is a book about friendship.  How female friends can boost you up, push you on, give you strength when you think you think you’ve none.  There is something so special about a friendship like this and reading about it gave me warm feels.  There is romance but it’s not centre-stage instead the dynamics between Josie and Bel is at the heart of this story.

The pace is well pitched and it all flows along smoothly.  You want to know what is going to happen and all the characters are so interesting that you just keep reading and reading (and reading!).  There are a few sub plots going on to break the momentum of the dark storyline.  However the characters are the main reason that this is not a depressing read.  They fizzle and the dialogue adds lot of humour at times too.

Overall I can’t explain just how much this book moved me.   I sobbed, literally.  This is one of those special books where the characters become so much more than just characters in books and their pain is your pain.  Not an easy read but a wholly satisfying one.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-half-stars

Who should read Never Say Goodbye?

Highly recommended to those who enjoy contemporary fiction especially if you can cope with realistic storylines.  If you love reading about strong, empowering female friendships and less than perfect romances, then you need to pick this one up.  And if you need a tackle hug afterwards, I’m here for you!


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