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Never Done by Ginger Dehlinger: A Book Review

Never Done
Author: Ginger Dehlinger
Genre: Historical Fiction, Western
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: April 21, 2017
Pages: 290
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Clara, ​14, and Geneva, ​16, are close friends until Geneva secretly marries Clara’s widowed father. Feeling betrayed by her pa and a girl she idolizes, Clara wants nothing to do with her new young stepmother. Geneva retaliates, beginning a clash of wills that lasts from 1884 to the flu epidemic of 1918.

     Years go by without them speaking to one another. Geneva, bolder of the two, lives a life of ease in elegant homes with piped water and domestic help. She shops for the latest in women’s fashions and plays pinochle with lady friends.

     For spite, Clara marries a handsome cowboy Geneva fancies, but ends up living in a freezing cold cabin and a house infested with bugs. She takes in ironing and feeds miners to make ends meet, discovering love and purpose in the process. It takes a tragedy to bring her and her family together again. 

     Can she and Geneva see this as an opportunity to put aside the past? Can they salvage a relationship that was once the center of their world?

     My Review: Clara and Geneva are best friends. One day, Geneva marries Clara’s father, much to Clara’s dismay. The two friends are now enemies. Throughout the decades, the two experience hardships. Yet, despite their trials, they still remain enemies. Thus, the story tells a story of a clash of wills against these two former best friends.

     Clara is the main character in Never Done. At first, I didn't like her. I thought that she was being cruel to Geneva because it was obvious that she married her father against her will. Yet, as Clara matures and experiences hardships, I couldn't help but admire her strong-will. Clara is stubborn and a hard worker. Her strength and determination reminds me of Scarlett O’Hara. She was forced to make hard decisions for herself and her family. Clara was a fascinating character, and I hoped for her to find happiness.

      As for her friend, Geneva, the author didn't develop her character much since she was seen through the eyes of her enemies. Because of this, she is not portrayed in a good light. She is portrayed as selfish and vain. This disappointed me because Geneva was an interesting character, yet the author barely explored her potential. She was in an arranged marriage with Clara’s father, and I would love to know how she felt about marrying someone twice her age. Sadly, she was never given the chance to speak for herself.

     Overall, this book is about family, betrayal, loss, and choices. Clara was a very complex character, but I would love to have gotten to know Clara. Hopefully, the author will write a book from Geneva’s perspective! While I did find Never Done slow in the beginning, it was very well-written. The story kept me interested until the very end because I liked the characters. Never Done will appeal to fans of Westerns, but the family drama will also appeal to those who do not usually like Westerns. I recommend this novel to fans of A Woman’s Choice, Hannah Fowler, and A Lantern in Her Hand.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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