In Place of Never

In Place of Never – Julie Anne Lindsey – Lyrical Press – Published 2 February 2016



A part of Mercy died the summer her sister tragically drowned. Now Mercy has a chance to discover if Faith’s death was an accident—or murder.  Her first step is to confront the lead suspects: a band of traveling gypsies—the last people who saw her sister alive. But Mercy finds an unexpected ally in Cross, the soulful musician in their ranks. He’s a kindred spirit, someone who sees into her heart for the first time in, well, forever. Yet stirring up the past puts Mercy in danger…

Suddenly someone is shadowing Mercy’s every move, making her even more determined to uncover the facts. With Cross by her side, she is ready to face it all, even if that means opening up to him, knowing he may one day leave her. What she discovers is a truth that rocks the foundation of her small river town—and a love worth risking everything for…

My thoughts

This truly is a stunning book. With a unique, lyrical writing style, jaw-dropping romance, a heroine you can really get behind and all the intrigue of a good mystery, this book has it all.

Mercy’s sister died three years ago in a tragic drowning everyone labelled an accident. Mercy’s mother committed suicide not long after, Mercy’s dad, a pastor, buried himself in work and Mercy herself checked out of life altogether, leaving her younger sister to raise herself. But the three-year anniversary of Faith’s death sees the return of the Lovells’ travelling performing group and a chance for Mercy to uncover what really happened at the river that fateful night three years ago.   

In Place of Never is a captivating story. I really like the writing style. This is the first book I have read by Julie Anne Lindsey, but it definitely won’t be the last. I was instantly engrossed in this book, the characters and the way everything is shown, rather than told. Little ways of describing things, he stuffed the ball stool underneath him, the guitar swaddled each note, made this story come to life. It’s original and yet you go, yeah, that’s exactly how that looks or sounds.

At first the story seems to jump a little as the reader gradually discovers what has happened to Mercy and her family over the past three years. Mercy doesn’t seem to know whether to trust the Lovells or not. She is drawn to Cross and his affable friend Anton, but there is no doubt the group is hiding something about the night Faith died. Cross, wonderful, gorgeous, possibly too-good-to-be-true Cross. Now there is the perfect book boyfriend. He is slightly damaged, a little broody but so kind, gentle and understanding. He’s also funny, kind to Mercy’s younger sister and totally sexy. Cross and Mercy’s chemistry just leaps off the pages, and I loved reading about their love story.

In Place of Never quoteI loved how family was so key an element in this book. Yes, it’s about Mercy and her quest to grieve and honour her sister, but it’s also about those who are left behind. I love how Mercy treated her family. Her dad drove her nuts but she still loves him and wants to respect him. Her feelings for Cross challenge this already-shaky relationship, but how she handles the situation was admirable. Pru, Mercy’s younger sister also plays a key role in the story and brings a fun, lightness.

Mercy’s dad is a pastor and Mercy is a believer, so faith is a frequent topic in this book. It is never preachy, but Mercy is honest about her faith and what she believes, which is refreshing and should appeal to a wide range of readers.

As Mercy investigates she begins to see the far-reaching effects of Faith’s death. The truth of Faith’s death remains well hidden and was certainly very mysterious. I had no clue what the end reveal would be and the suspense builds steadily until things get very tense at the end.

This captivating book is a perfect mix of intrigue, dream-worthy romance, family and one girl’s quest to deal with the guilt, sadness and unresolved questions about her sister’s death. It is uplifting and hopeful and perfectly executed.

The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

More information

Category: Young adult fiction

Genre: Mystery.

Themes:  Family, mystery, travelling performers, death, grief, suicide, coming of age.

Age guide: Ages 13/14 and up.

Advisory: Implied sexual scene and sexual references. occasional coarse language, s***. Mature themes, death and suicide.

Published: 2 February 2016 by Lyrical Press.

Format: Paperback,  ebook. 231 pages.

ISBN: 9781601834874

Find it on Goodreads