REVIEW: NEVER SAY GOODBYE BY SUSAN LEWIS

NEVER SAY GOODBYE

Author: Susan Lewis
Century RRP $32.99
Review: Monique Mulligan

http://pubimages.randomhouse.com.au/getimage.aspx?vid=474500&usehttp=0&cat=default&class=books&size=custom&resize=1&dpi=300&quality=100&type=jpg&width=1500&height=2500&id=9781780891743Author Susan Lewis has a knack for treating topical or relational issues with compassion and depth, and her latest novel, Never Say Goodbye, is no exception. In this novel, Lewis delves into the health issue of breast cancer and the implications a diagnosis has on the patient, her family, friends and lifestyle. It’s a topic that hits close to home for women everywhere, and fiction aside, it’s an issue that all women need to be aware of. As a woman who’s just had her first mammogram, it was a timely read, and a stark reminder of how lucky I am.

Lewis returns to the Temple Fields (UK) with Never Say Goodbye, bringing together two women from different socio-economic backgrounds to highlight the flow-on effects of breast cancer. Josie Clark lives with her husband Jeff on a council estate; they don’t have much and they’re trying to stay afloat, especially now that a new bedroom tax has been established. Their house is only occupied by the two of them since their oldest is at uni and their youngest is in prison, meaning if they want to stay in a house with extra bedrooms, they’ll have to pay more; Josie has her cafe job and a cleaning job, while Jeff works as a taxi driver. It’s tough. Shadowing the difficulties they have is an affair Jeff had years earlier with Josie’s best friend, leaving Josie uncertain whether she’s the one Jeff really wants. When Josie finds out she has cancer, she feels lonely, confused and scared; her first thought is to protect her family so they don’t need to worry about her. With her best friend out of the picture, who will she turn to?

Property developer Bel Monkton’s twin sister, Talia, died of breast cancer three years ago, leaving behind a husband and two young children. The loss of Talia rocked Bel’s life and she hasn’t been able to move on. Angry with her brother-in-law for remarrying, she lives in her beautiful house by the sea, feeling lonely and lost. Compounding her pain are long-buried secrets to do with her father, who she’s vowed never to see again. When a nurse from the clinic asks her to get in touch with Josie and offer support, Bel is reluctant at first; the hesitation is soon replaced with a deep friendship as Bel stands by Josie’s side through her treatments and their awful side-effects, encouraging her to communicate with her family, and helping her to find moments of happiness in some challenging situations. But will Bel allow herself to find happiness?

Never Say Goodbye tugged at my heartstrings in so many ways. I had my first mammogram a couple of months ago. When I got a call back saying a further test was necessary, I felt a momentary panic; as I sat in the waiting room with other women, each one garbed in a shapeless shift, I wondered what I would do if my worst fears were confirmed. They weren’t. I went home to my family, but I’m sure some of the other women were not as lucky. Josie’s story gave me insight into what my journey could have been. I’m also a daughter and a sister, so I was able to appreciate these insights through those eyes. Josie is a lovely character, with more than her fair share of hard knocks, so I found myself feeling so sad for her pain more than once. And yes, I cried with her. The growing friendship between Josie and Bel was also touching – it enabled growth in both characters and made their different journeys a little easier to navigate. Lewis taps into another very female need – support, comfort and friendship with other women.

Tears, a touch of humour and a cast of characters all dealing authentically with a difficult and emotional situation … it all added up to a terrific read. I’ve read quite a few of Lewis’ books and enjoyed them all.

Available from good bookstores and Random House Australia. My copy was courtesy of Random House.

Bookish treat: I made baklava the weekend I read this, so I helped myself to that, and enjoyed it with a strong cup of coffee.

Extra note: It’s really important to be breast aware – there’s so much information out there, but here’s a link to get you started.

A compelling and deeply moving novel of friendship, family and the power of love, from the Sunday Times top ten bestseller.How would you cope with the threat of losing someone you love?

Josie Clark is a loving wife and mother. She and her husband Jeff don’t have much and it’s often difficult to make ends meet. But Josie will do anything to protect her family and keep them safe.

Bel Monkton is a successful property developer, living in a beautiful house by the sea. She seems to have everything going for her, but she’s lonely. And she’s let the shadows from her past cloud her future.

Josie’s life couldn’t be more different to Bel’s. But three years ago, tragedy tore Bel’s life in two. Now it’s happening to Josie.

And faced with uncertainty and heartbreak, they come to treasure their growing friendship. – See more at: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/susan-lewis/never-say-goodbye-9781780891743.aspx#sthash.iMi2y5I3.dpuf

A compelling and deeply moving novel of friendship, family and the power of love, from the Sunday Times top ten bestseller.How would you cope with the threat of losing someone you love?

Josie Clark is a loving wife and mother. She and her husband Jeff don’t have much and it’s often difficult to make ends meet. But Josie will do anything to protect her family and keep them safe.

Bel Monkton is a successful property developer, living in a beautiful house by the sea. She seems to have everything going for her, but she’s lonely. And she’s let the shadows from her past cloud her future.

Josie’s life couldn’t be more different to Bel’s. But three years ago, tragedy tore Bel’s life in two. Now it’s happening to Josie.

And faced with uncertainty and heartbreak, they come to treasure their growing friendship. – See more at: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/susan-lewis/never-say-goodbye-9781780891743.aspx#sthash.iMi2y5I3.dpuf

A compelling and deeply moving novel of friendship, family and the power of love, from the Sunday Times top ten bestseller.How would you cope with the threat of losing someone you love?

Josie Clark is a loving wife and mother. She and her husband Jeff don’t have much and it’s often difficult to make ends meet. But Josie will do anything to protect her family and keep them safe.

Bel Monkton is a successful property developer, living in a beautiful house by the sea. She seems to have everything going for her, but she’s lonely. And she’s let the shadows from her past cloud her future.

Josie’s life couldn’t be more different to Bel’s. But three years ago, tragedy tore Bel’s life in two. Now it’s happening to Josie.

And faced with uncertainty and heartbreak, they come to treasure their growing friendship. – See more at: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/susan-lewis/never-say-goodbye-9781780891743.aspx#sthash.iMi2y5I3.dpuf