"Never Say Never"
by Lisa Wingate
Source: provided for review from Bethany House Publishers
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Athena Smith, the costume curator for a Chicago museum, is elated to finally see the legendary vintage gowns worn by a city icon, Bertha Palmer. But the gowns are owned by the Clayworth family, who are not on good terms with Athena's family. The Clayworths just fired Athena's father from their company for unknown, but scandalous, reasons. So Athena has little hope of gaining the gowns for an exhibition at the museum. While looking at the gowns, she inhales a toxin which acts as a truth serum. Wh...more "Never Say Never" was so much more than what I expected! I thought it would be fluffy chick lit, but it was a meaningful, heartfelt story of two women flung together during a natural disaster.
The story is told in alternating chapters, told by twenty-something Kai Miller and 70 year old Donetta Bradford. Kai floats through life with no roots and has no connections to her family, which fell apart when her younger brother passed away at age 11. She lives on the coast in Texas, working contracts on a cruise ship. Donetta has lived most of her life sitting out instead of dancing with her husband Ronald. Donetta and her two best friends decide to take a cruise to finally live a little. Then hurricane Glorietta blows into Texas and Kai and Donetta find unexpected friendship as they struggle through the hurricane together. Things really get complicated when Donetta insists on Kai staying with her in Daily, TX and Kai meets Donetta's nephew, Kemp. Donetta decides to play matchmaker but will she be able to give the young couple the push they both need?
The description of the hurricane is really well done, you can tell the author did her research. I really felt for all the characters during this part. However, the story was told with a lot of courage and hope, so it never seemed sad. It was more about overcoming obstacles.
Donetta's chapters were told with the same southern accent and phrases that Donetta herself would use. I usually don't like it when an author uses a southern accent because it comes across as forced or trying to hard for comedy. But Donetta's voice was spot on and so authentic that I loved the way her chapters were told!
I was caught up in the romance between Kai and Kemp and actually would have liked to have read more about them! I could really feel the sparks flying between them! This wasn't the only love story in the book, the story of Donetta and Ronald was just as romantic, and Donetta's grandmother's story was heart-stopping.
Kai and Donetta were both realistic characters and the type of person that you would want to be friends with. I think anyone who reads this would want to pop over to Daily and have a cup of coffee with the colorful cast of characters who live there.
Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5 (her research for the hurricane evacuation was very well done)
Romance: 4/5 (I wanted to see more!)
Cover: 5/5 (my boyfriend thought this picture was from a movie :))
Bottom Line: I loved this inspiring and hopeful story! Even though the book deals with tough subjects, it's done with hope and humor and never feels melancholy or sad. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys women's fiction and I'll definitely read more from this author!