Book review: No Turning Back by Susan Lewis

No-one knows better than Susan Lewis that life can deal some devastating blows...

The best-selling author’s mother died from breast cancer when Susan was just nine – understandably, it ripped apart her childhood.

But like all good writers, Lewis has harnessed that terrible experience to underpin her warm and inspirational novels which tackle real-life issues in all their dramatic complexity.

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She now has 24 compelling and heart-searching books to her name and there is no sign yet that she is running out of ideas and storylines.

The key to her success is an ability to step inside her characters – their dreams and dilemmas are ones we can recognise and by taking us to the heart of their innermost hopes and fears she makes us believe in them and care about what happens to them.

No Turning Back introduces us to the beguiling Eva Montgomery who fought back from the brink of death after a psychopathic stalker broke into her home and slashed her repeatedly with a knife.

She had no idea where he’d come from, how he’d got in or why he had chosen her, but she has had to live with the emotional and physical scars for 16 years.

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Eva was only 20 when the shocking incident took place – she was already a famous catwalk model with the world at her feet and had met Nick, the love of her life.

With her career ended prematurely by her badly disfigured face and Nick long since off the scene, she is now blissfully happy with husband Don Montgomery, a former police inspector who is committed to making her feel loved and safe.

In fact, Eva has managed to rebuild her life in a way that seemed impossible after the attack. Her home in Dorset, high on the cliffs overlooking the sea, is as elegant as Eva herself, Don is the mainstay of her existence and her beloved older sister, Patty, lives nearby.

To an outsider, Eva’s world seems perfect in every way. However, behind the facade there is more tragedy and deceit than she could ever have imagined.

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It is when the past starts to invade the present that the greatest betrayal of all shatters Eva’s world. Hurt, frightened and confused, she struggles desperately to put right the terrible mistake she made 16 years ago and finally break free from a past that nearly destroyed her …

No Turning Back is an intelligent, multi-layered novel driven by emotion, suspense and Lewis’s very special brand of compassion.

(Arrow, paperback, £11.99)