ARC Review: In Place of Never

In Place of Never
In Place of Never by Julie Anne Lindsey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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….

Surviving a loved one’s death is a very hard to thing to do. Surviving a death you think you could have avoided by a different choice is even harder. Mercy has been living with the guilt of her sister’s ‘accidental’ death for three years, and now when she is about to leave for college, she resolves to put an end to the mystery and figure out what really happened that night. It helps that the traveling sideshow, which was in town that unfateful night, is back in their midst, making it her first priority to investigate. Among them, she also finds Cross, who knows what she is going through and identifies with her; more importantly, he understands her brokenness and is okay with it – not trying to fix her.

As she tries to piece together the events of that night, she realizes there is a bigger picture at play. She thought hers was the only family that was dysfunctional and hid it, owing to them being the pastor’s children, but soon she realizes that she was perhaps wrong about her town. Her father, however, is very much against her associating with the people whom he derogatorily calls Gypsies, and after three years, has finally woken up to ‘protect’ his daughters from their menace. Mercy also has woken up and realized all that she had missed, like checking out on her younger sister who was left to fend for herself. Pru is a very interesting character in that she was resilient; she did not let her absent family bring her down.

Overall, this book speaks out to all grieving souls everywhere, assuring that mourning is not something to be ashamed of. There is a strength in getting through it. One line I really loved was

Too many people tried fixing me. Most justified their intrusion under the guise of love, but fixing wasn’t love. Fixing was like saying, “I don’t like you this way. Let me change you into something that makes me more comfortable.”

Received a free galley from Kensington Books, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger warnings: self-harm

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