Never Let You Go by
Chevy Stevens is a compelling read. It explores the brutality
of domestic violence including obsession, entrapment, control,
and manipulation. Readers will go through the same emotions
with the characters of fear, love, and courage.
Stevens noted, “I guess I was influenced subconsciously
by what happened in my personal life. My father who was a
violent alcoholic abused my mother. As I was writing I found
I was thinking back on things. There was this double side
where I respected my mom and recognized the domestic violence,
but I really loved my dad. Even though he had these really
bad issues there was a part of him that was really great.
As Sophie was talking to her father I would have a tingling
sensation at the base of my neck thinking, ‘wow. I never
got to say this to my dad.’ I think I was able through
Sophie to speak with my dad. But I want to make it clear this
was not an agenda book. This book is not my family’s
More than anything this is a character driven novel. The strength
of the story lies with the love story between a mother, Lindsey,
and a child, Sophie. They were very likable, believable, and
realistic, with their relationship taking center stage as
Lindsey tries to insulate her daughter. The alternating narratives
between Lindsey and Sophie allow the reader to get to know
them and understand the emotional tug of war they are going
author is hoping, “My biggest goal is to show that the
cycle can be broken. I took young Sophie’s quirks from
my daughter who is four. I hope I portrayed what my daughter
and my relationship will grow into and maintain the closeness
Lindsey had with Sophie as she turned eighteen.”
The plot begins with Lindsey, Sophie, and Andrew in Mexico
on a vacation. It showcases how abusive and controlling Andrew
can be as he uses emotional mind games to keep her in line.
He shows her that she is powerless and to leave him would
mean she would lose her daughter. Knowing that she must escape
this malicious and violent individual for her and Sophie's
well-being she risks all that are meaningful to escape. This
led to a spiral of events that included Andrew going to jail.
Now eleven years later, Lindsey and Sophie have built a new
life. Unfortunately, shortly after Andrew is released from
prison someone starts stalking Lindsey. Sophie has mixed emotions,
because she has a loyalty to her mother, knowing of her father's
abuse, but also wanting a relationship with her father.
Stevens also had an abusive dad she has memories of feeling
as if she were in a tug of war between parents. "I also
went back to visit my dad. Remember Andrew was never abusive
to Sophie. As with Sophie I also felt I had my own needs and
I wanted to have a relationship with my dad. It was very painful
and challenging to write. On a day-to-day basis, both the
fictional and real-life fathers could be great to their daughters
until they were stressed and started drinking. It seems I
am protective of these memories. I channeled my longing for
a father into Sophie's feelings. The dads were clever and
smart; yet, had massive anger issues that they could not control."
this is the first book read by this author, it should not
be the last. The author keeps the tension high and when the
reader thinks they have figured out what is happening Stevens
throws a curve ball with the many twists and turns.