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BLOG TOUR: Guest Reviewer Aisling on Never Again by Nicky Clifford

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Format: Kindle Edition

File Size: 2161 KB

Print Length: 351 pages

Publisher: Nicola Clifford; 1 edition 

Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.

Language: English

Release Date: 21st October 2016

Synopsis: 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...

Aisling's Rating: 4/5

Aisling's Review: Never Again is the first romantic novel I have reviewed. I will be honest and state that whilst I love to read a good romantic novel, it is usually a case of like or dislike within four or five chapters. So I was a little nervous of reviewing Never Again – what to do if four chapters in, I was feeling unromantic and cynical? 

This worry did not need to be addressed because within four or five chapters, Nicky Clifford had transported me to the mountains of Switzerland – a much more pleasant place than a rush-hour London train. Turns out the mountains of Switzerland are not however any more tranquil than a packed train for Harriet Anderson, the protagonist of Never Again. 

Harriet leaves behind a successful career to be a waitress in a Swiss hotel in an attempt to   start anew following the loss of the three most important relationships in her life through bereavement and break-up.  Clifford does a great job of cultivating a full sensory experience for the reader. Her writing creates images, sounds and smells of the Swiss mountains – not to mention making my mouth water with all the cake eating that occurs!

Harriet's plan for an uncomplicated life starts to unravel when she meets Phillipe, the seemingly aloof novelist staying at the hotel. The chemistry between the pair is instantaneous but both have been hurt badly in the past and demonstrate a more than healthy dose of distrust towards anyone trying to get close. This results in many "one step closer, two steps apart" moments in the course of the novel. At times I will admit this began to grate on me; I was willing them to just get together but of course fiction, like reality, is not that simple and the complexities which both Philllipe and Harriet had attempted to escape come crashing into their Swiss retreat. 

Clifford does a great job of writing her characters. Whilst Phillipe is cast in the role of would be suitor, he is never painted as perfect and , in a simliar way,  we are able to see from Harriet's perspective, the attractions of her previous relationship with Greg. It is only as Harriet regains her confidence that she is able to fully recognise what she wants in her life and it is hard not to cheer her on as she tries so hard to find it. 

One of the reasons I liked Never Again, is that Clifford does not focus in on the main charactors of Harriet and Phillpe with a binocular lense. Instead, both Harriet and Phillipe are rounded individuals with other relationships in their lives which have their own complexities. The other people in their lives are well written, particularly Elspeth and Sophie.  I would happily read a novel centred on either of these characters as they each added depth and breadth to Never Again. 

Whilst Never Again is a romantic novel, Clifford never shy's away from the fact that there are many types of relationships in  life and they all add something to our lives. For Harriet and Phillipe, these additions are not always easy but they make for a good read. 

Overall Never Again is a warm, well rounded and uplifting debut from Clifford – just what I needed during packed commutes in the late August heat!

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