Never Say Never: A Novel

Never Say Never: A Novel

by Victoria Christopher Murray

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Overview

In this emotionally charged and inspiring novel, a passionate and dangerous love affair threatens to destroy both a marriage and a friendship.

When Miriam’s fireman husband, Chauncey, dies while rescuing students from a school fire, Miriam feels like her life is over. How is she going to raise her three children all by herself? How will she survive without the love of her life? Luckily, Miriam’s sister-friend Emily and Emily’s husband, Jamal, are there to comfort her. Jamal and Chauncey grew up together and were best friends; Jamal and Emily know they will do all they can to support Miriam through her grief. Jamal steps in and helps Miriam with the funeral arrangements and with her children, plus he gives her hope that she has a future. But all the time that they spend together—grieving, sharing, and reminiscing—brings the two closer in ways they never planned...

Includes a reading group guide with an author Q&A and discussion questions for book clubs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451695779
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: 06/04/2013
Edition description: Original
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 562,924
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Victoria Christopher Murray is the author of more than twenty novels including: Greed; Envy; Lust; The Ex Files; Lady Jasmine; The Deal, the Dance, and the Devil; and Stand Your Ground, which was named a Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Winner of nine African American Literary Awards for Fiction and Author of the Year (Female), Murray is also a four-time NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Fiction. She splits her time between Los Angeles and Washington, DC. Visit her website at VictoriaChristopherMurray.com.

Read an Excerpt

Never Say Never


  • 1

    Miriam Williams

    We were just three best friends doing what we always did. Three best friends having our monthly get-together on the second Tuesday of the month—lunch at Roscoe’s Chicken ’N Waffles.

    We’d been doing this for twelve years, since we graduated from USC. But today, we’d changed it up a bit. Today, instead of driving over to Hollywood and meeting at the Roscoe’s on Gower, we decided to check out the new one closer to my home, the one on Manchester.

    Maybe that was a sign. Maybe if we’d kept everything the same, the world wouldn’t have changed. Maybe if we’d been in Hollywood, Michellelee wouldn’t have gotten that call just as I was stuffing that first sugary bite of a waffle into my mouth.

    We’d been talking and laughing—or rather Michellelee and Emily had been doing all the talking, and as usual, I was just laughing.

    Then Michellelee’s BlackBerry vibrated on the table.

    I glanced at Emily and we rolled our eyes together. There was hardly a time when our celebrity friend wasn’t called away from one of our lunches. That’s just how it was for one of the most recognizable faces in Los Angeles. As the evening anchor for KABC, Michellelee, who had combined her first name, Michelle, with her last name, Lee, and was now known by just one name, had one of the top ten news jobs in the country, even though we were just a little more than a decade out of school.

    “You know she’s going to have to rush out of here,” Emily said to me.

    I nodded, but then frowned when I looked back at Michellelee. Our friend wasn’t talking, she was just listening, which was the first sign that something was wrong. My heart was pounding already. Today was Tuesday, September 11, and for the last ten years, on this date, I was always on edge.

    “Okay, I’m on my way,” she said. “I’ll call from the car.”

    She clicked off the phone, and when she looked at me and Emily, I swear, there were tears in her eyes.

    “There’s been a fire . . .”

    Emily and I both sat up straight.

    Michellelee said, “At that new charter school on Western.”

    “That would be Chauncey’s firehouse,” I breathed.

    “Jamal’s there today, too,” Emily said, as if she needed to remind me that her husband worked with mine.

    I hardly recognized Emily’s voice, so different from the glee that was inside her a few minutes ago.

    Emily asked Michellelee, “What else did they tell you?”

    Michellelee shook her head. “No names. But more than twenty children were taken to the hospital.” Then her eyes moved between me and Emily. “And three firefighters were rushed to the hospital as well.”

    “Oh, no,” I moaned, and Emily took my hand.

    “Don’t go there,” Michellelee said, moving straight into her elder role. She was the oldest of the three of us, even if only by nineteen days. “This doesn’t mean that any are your husbands. Let’s not start worrying.”

    “I’ve got to get over there.” Emily said what I was thinking.

    Michellelee nodded. “We’ll take one car; I’ll drive.” She scooted her chair away from the table and marched toward the hostess stand to pay the bill.

    It took me and Emily a couple of seconds to follow, as if our brains were just a little behind. Finally, we jumped up and grabbed our purses and sweaters, leaving our half-eaten dishes right there on the table.

    Now, sitting in the backseat of Michellelee’s Mercedes, I could feel every bump on Manchester as we sped down the boulevard. My eyes were closed, but I didn’t need to see Michellelee. I could imagine her—her camera-ready, perfectly plucked and arched eyebrows were probably knitted together, causing deep lines in her forehead.

    Then there was Emily. I couldn’t picture her expression, though I’m sure it was a lot like mine, a face frozen with fear. Every few seconds, I heard Emily sigh right before she said, “I can’t reach Jamal.” I stopped counting after she said that for the fifth time.

    I wasn’t even going to try to call my husband. It would be futile, especially if they were in the midst of a fire. Cell phones never left the firehouse.

    But even when Chauncey was at work I didn’t call. I never called because if I ever started, I’d never stop. I’d call every fifteen minutes for my own peace. So he called me. Like he’d just done a little over an hour ago, as I was pulling into Roscoe’s parking lot to have lunch with my girls. He’d called just to tell me that he loved me.

    It sounded like command central in the front of the car, with Emily and Michellelee doing what they did best: taking control. So I did what I knew: I took my cares to God. I prayed like my life depended on it. Because it did. There was no way I’d survive if anything happened to Chauncey.

    I didn’t pray for my husband alone; I prayed for Jamal, too, because if anything happened to him, my heart would still be broken. Jamal was Chauncey’s best friend, but he was dear to me also. I’d known him almost as long as I’d known Chauncey; I couldn’t imagine our lives—and definitely not Emily’s life—without him.

    So I kept my eyes closed and my lips moving like I’d done so often over the years. My husband was living the firefighter’s life that he’d dreamed of as a child, but his dreams were my nightmares. The way he earned his living had me on my knees every time he walked out the door. The daily stress was so much that I’d once asked myself if I should’ve married him. I had started thinking that maybe it would’ve been better if I’d never fully loved him than to love him with everything I had . . . and lose him one day.

    But my bone-deep love for Chauncey trumped my fears, and really, I’m glad about it. Because truly, it would’ve been impossible to walk away from that man and it would’ve been a travesty to miss out on all these years of love.

    For a moment, I let those years flash like cards through my mind. From the time I first saw Chauncey when he was a counselor in my Upward Bound program, to the birth of each of our three sons, to when he kissed me good-bye this morning and every second in between.

    The memories made me tremble. The memories made me pray.

    But then, in an instant, something washed over me. A calm that was so complete. It was almost as if Chauncey was there, wrapping his arms around me. I reveled in that space, knowing for sure that my prayers had been answered. After some seconds ticked by, I breathed. It was clear: Chauncey was fine.

    But my heart still pounded, now for Jamal. I didn’t have that same peace about my best friend’s husband, and that made me sick.

    I shook my head. Why was I allowing all of this into my mind? There were fifteen firefighters on duty at any one time. Plus, for a fire like this, other stations would be called in. The firefighters who were hurt didn’t even have to be from Fire Station 32.

    So I turned my focus back to God. I went back into prayer, crying out in my soul. I started praying for Jamal especially, but also for everyone who’d been at that school.

    It felt like I’d only been praying for a minute when the car slowed down and I opened my eyes.

    “Okay.” Michellelee eased to a stop in front of Centinela Hospital. “I’m gonna park, but you two get in there.”

    I wasn’t sure Emily had heard a word that Michellelee said, because she was out and just about through the front door of the hospital before the car was in park. I jumped out and rushed behind Emily, though it was impossible for me to keep up with my friend’s long strides. I’d expected her longer-than-shoulder-length hair to be flying behind her, Sarah-Jessica-Parker-Sex-and-the-City style. But she’d twisted her curly hair into a bun and I hadn’t even noticed when she’d done that.

    “We’re here about the fire at the school,” Emily said to the woman at the information desk. “Has the room been set up?”

    Emily spoke as someone who’d been through this kind of tragedy. Of course, she had. As a child-life psychologist, she was always in schools, and hospitals, and community centers helping children navigate through adversity.

    Even with her slight Southern drawl, her words and her tone were professional, but I could hear the tremor in her voice. The woman didn’t notice it; she wouldn’t, it was so slight. But I heard the shaking, sure that I would sound worse if I’d been able to speak.

    “Are you one of the family members?” the woman asked.

    Emily said, “I’m a child psychologist,” as if those words alone were enough to give her a pass.

    She was right. The woman nodded and pointed toward the elevators. “On the second floor.” She peered at us with sad eyes. “Room two-eleven.”

    As we marched toward the elevator banks, Emily explained, “Whenever something like this happens, the hospitals set up a room.” She pressed the elevator button over and over as if that would make it come faster. “It gives the hospital administrators a central place.” When the doors opened, we rushed inside and Emily continued, “Now, when we get up there, we’ll probably see some of the parents of the children and maybe even family members of the firemen.”

    I nodded and breathed, relieved. It sounded as if Emily didn’t think Jamal or Chauncey was one of the injured. Maybe God had told her what He’d told me. Maybe both of our husbands were fine. And if that was the case, then I didn’t need to be here; I wanted to go home.

    But I didn’t say that to Emily as we rode in the elevator, and then, once again, I was running behind her, taking four steps to her two as we strode down the hall. By the time we found the room, I was huffing and puffing.

    She pushed the door open and I heard the collective intake of air. Every man, every woman, held their breath as the door opened wider. All eyes were on Emily as if they expected her to say something.

    It was the way she looked; on the one hand, with her long blonde hair and sea-blue eyes, Emily was the walking definition of what America called beautiful. But her manner and authority were beyond that. She stood, back straight, shoulders squared, eyes wide open and direct. She carried herself as if she knew everything.

    Emily held up her hand in a little wave, letting everyone know that she was just one of them.

    I wasn’t sure if anyone in the room noticed me, but that was the way it always was when I was with Emily and Michellelee. At five two, I was at least seven inches shorter than both of them. By nature, I just didn’t stand out.

    Not that I wanted to stand out today, especially not in this small room, with about two dozen blue chairs pressed against the stark, hospital-white walls. There were two more rows of chairs in the center.

    My eyes searched for a familiar face; I expected to see at least one of the many firemen’s wives that I’d met over the years. But through the sea of black and white and Hispanic faces, I saw no one that I knew.

    “Has anyone been in here to talk to you?” Emily whispered to an African American couple who sat by the door, holding hands.

    The man glanced up and nodded. “Just to tell us they were getting the identities of the children who’d been hurt and then the ones who . . .” He stopped right there, and shook his head. “None of us know anything.”

    I got that feeling again; I wanted to go home. I wanted to wait for Chauncey there. Tonight, he’d fill me in. It would be late when he got home, but I would wait up and then he’d tell me all that had happened. We’d grieve together. At home. Together. Away from all of this. Together.

    “Emily, I’m going to go—” But before she could even turn to face me, the door swung open, and now we were just like everyone else. We inhaled and focused on the three men who entered, all wearing hospital scrubs.

    “We’re looking for the parents of Claudia Baldwin, Kim Thomas . . .”

    Each time a name was called, someone leaped from their seat and the air thickened with grief.

    The family members were escorted out, but before the doctor who had been calling names could turn away, the man sitting by the door jumped up. “What about our daughter? LaTrisha Miller?”

    “We’ll be back in a few minutes,” the doctor said in a voice that I was sure was meant to be compassionate, but sounded curt, sounded tired. “We’ll let everyone know as soon as we can.”

    That was not enough for Emily. She marched behind the doctor into the hallway, and I was right with her. Stopping him, she said, “Excuse me; I’m Doctor Harrington-Taylor and I’m here to check on my husband. He’s a firefighter and I don’t know if he’s here for sure, but I think he was at the school.”

    “Oh,” the doctor said, looking from Emily to me. “Were you called?”

    And then there was a wail. A screech, really, that was so sharp, it sliced my heart.

    All three of us turned our eyes toward the sound that came from behind a closed door marked “Quiet Room.”

    It took a few seconds for Emily to compose herself and get back to her business. “No, we weren’t called,” she said. “We heard . . . about the fire.” She paused and turned to me before adding, “Our husbands were probably at the school. My husband is Jamal Taylor and hers is Chauncey Williams.”

    The doctor repeated their names and nodded. “I’ll see what I can find out, Doctor Harrington,” and then he rushed away.

    That’s exactly what I wanted to do, rush away and go home. My eyes were on the door of the Quiet Room as I said, “Listen, Emily. I’m going to—”

    “Emily! Miriam!”

    We both turned as Michellelee hurried toward us. “I went to the school, but Cynthia was already set up,” she said, referring to another reporter from her station. “So I told them that I would see what was happening over here.” She looked at Emily and then at me. “Have you heard anything?”

    Only Emily responded. “Nothing yet. What did you find out?”

    It was the way that Michellelee lowered her eyes and shook her head that made me want to cover my ears.

    “All I know is that there were a lot of casualties.”

    I did everything I could to keep my eyes away from Emily. I didn’t want her to see what I was thinking; I was so afraid for her husband.

    “Okay,” Emily said, her drawl more pronounced, showing me just how scared she really was. “That’s horrible, but it doesn’t mean that it’s Jamal or Chauncey.” She nodded as if that motion was helping her to stay composed.

    I knew that I needed to stay right here, at the hospital with Emily. But more than needing to be here, I needed to go home. I had to get myself together so that I could be strong for Emily if it came to her needing me. I wouldn’t be able to be strong if I stayed here in front of this Quiet Room.

    “Listen.” The word squeaked out of me. “I’m going to—”

    “Emily!”

    The three of us swung around, at first standing there in shock. Jamal ran toward us, but we were still frozen; at least, Michellelee and I were.

    Emily shrieked and then made a mad dash for Jamal, although that’s not really how it felt to me. This was playing out like one of those Hallmark commercials where the lovers race toward each other in slow motion.

    I watched my best friend wrap her arms around her husband before Jamal swept her from the floor and into his arms.

    “Oh, my God,” Emily said. “Thank God.”

    Finally, I found my legs and rushed over to Jamal. “I’m so glad you’re all right,” I said.

    It must’ve been the sound of my voice that made him open his eyes. Slowly. Emily slid down his body and Jamal faced me. The tears in his eyes made me frown.

    “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Were you hurt?”

    “Are one of you Mrs. Williams?” someone asked over my shoulder. “The wife of Chauncey Williams.”

    But before I had a chance to turn around, Jamal whispered my name. “Miriam.”

    It was the way he said it that stopped me cold. “What?”

    “Miriam,” he said again, this time shaking his head, this time releasing a single tear from the corner of his eye.

    My heart started pounding before my brain connected to what was happening.

    “Mrs. Williams.”

    This time, I turned to face the voice. “Yes,” I whispered.

    “I’m Doctor Adams. Would you mind coming with me, please?”

    “Where?” It was hard for me to speak through lips that were suddenly too dry.

    “Over here.” The doctor pointed across the hall. To the Quiet Room.

    I shook my head. “I’m not going in there.” Turning back to Jamal, I said, “Please. Please. Where’s Chauncey?”

    His eyes drooped with sadness as he shook his head again.

    “Is Chauncey back at the fire station?” I cried.

    “Mrs. Williams.”

    The doctor called my name at the same time Jamal said, “Miriam. I am so, so sorry.”

    I felt Michellelee’s arm go around me. I heard Emily’s sob as she took my hand.

    But it wasn’t until the doctor began, “Mrs. Williams, I’m sorry to have to tell you this but . . .” that I understood.

    “No!” I heard a scream so sharp that I knew it couldn’t have come from me, even though it rang in my ears. “No.” I released my pain again.

    Jamal stepped to me. “Miriam, I’m so sorry. But Chauncey . . . he died.”

    That was when my world ended. Because just like I said, if Chauncey was gone, then I’d have to go, too. So right there, I let it go. My whole world stopped. I just let it all fade to black.

  • Reading Group Guide

    This reading group guide for Never Say Never includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Victoria Christopher Murray. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


    Introduction

    After a devastating fire kills Miriam’s firefighter husband, Chauncey, and leaves the surrounding community in shock, Miriam is not sure how she will ever be able to move on with her life. Left with three young sons, Miriam relies on her two best friends—Emily and Michellelee—and Emily’s husband, Jamal, for support. But as she grieves, Miriam begins to develop a strong connection to Jamal. When the two spend more time together mourning the loss of Chauncey, they find themselves in the midst of a passionate affair born from their mutual sadness. Never Say Never tells the story of love, friendship, and betrayal and ultimately asks, Can real love find a way to forgive?

    Topics & Questions for Discussion


    1. Never Say Never begins in Miriam’s voice, framing the story that follows as an explanation for her affair with Jamal. She asks the reader on page

    2: “Would you or wouldn’t you?” Answer Miriam’s question with your group members, weighing both Miriam and Emily’s sides.

    2. Revisit the moment when Miriam must tell her sons that their father is dead, beginning on page 22. What role does Jamal play in this scene?

    3. On page 43 Emily says: “I had to save Miriam from as much pain as I could. I had to make sure that she would get through, and know that every day, in every way, Jamal and I would be there for her.” Discuss this quote, and try to decide whom you see as the victim in this story—Miriam or Emily?

    4. Discuss the role of race in the novel. What is Miriam’s initial reaction to Emily’s interest in Jamal? What makes Miriam change her mind about the couple? Look back to pages 54–55.

    5. “I didn’t know why I felt a bit annoyed when he mentioned Emily. I mean, she was the one who was my friend. It was because of her that Jamal was even here with me so much” (page 107). Do you think that Miriam was out of line in wanting to spend so much time with Jamal? At one moment did she cross the line from grieving widow to adulteress?

    6. How would you characterize Jamal? Do you like him? Can you defend his action in any sense? How so?

    7. How does the fire stand as a metaphor for all the problems present in the novel? Consider the way fire moves quickly, is hot and, destroys everything in its path. If you had to name one character in the novel who is as similar to the fire, who would it be? Why?

    8. At the end of the novel Pastor Ford hints to Emily that she could see the affair coming, that circumstances were ripe for Jamal to look for love and comfort outside of his marriage. Think back to the moment that Jamal, Emily, and Miriam were supposed to go out to lunch. If Emily had not had to go to the hospital to be with LaTonya, do you think the affair would have continued? Is it fair to blame Emily in part for the actions of Jamal and Miriam? Why or why not?

    9. Many of the characters believe that if Miriam and Jamal had slept together only once, it would have been forgivable; repeated action was the real betrayal. Discuss with your group members. Can you come to a consensus on the ethics of this implication?

    10. What role does faith play in the novel? Do you think that Jamal and Emily could have saved their marriage without Pastor Ford and faith?

    11. In many ways, Michellelee is caught in the middle of the fight between her two best friends. She is the one who first discovered that Jamal and Miriam were sleeping together, and she is the one who forces reconciliation in the diner. She says to Miriam: “I don’t know how we’re going to do it, but we’ll find a way to be all right. We have to” (page 287). Do you think Michellelee is the voice of reason in the novel? If you had been Michellelee, would you have told Emily about your suspicions? Do you think Michellelee made the right choice in staying out of the fight?

    12. Is forgiveness for those you love—even if it is not deserved—a theme of the novel? If not, what would you name as the theme of the novel? Why?

    13. Discuss the ending of Never Say Never. Do you think than Emily and Jamal are going to make it as a couple? Why or why not?

    Enhance Your Book Club

    1. Throughout Never Say Never, Emily refers to her favorite movie to watch with Jamal: Love Story. Have a movie night with your reading group and rent this classic 1970 film. Discuss the ways in which the film mirrors Emily and Jamal’s relationship. Why do you think the couple loved this movie so much?

    2. After a tragedy, some people react in ways that are often bizarre and shocking, while other people manage stress and grief more traditionally, such as turning to faith and organized religion, or spending more time with a loved one. Have a “share” night in which each of your group members shares the ways in which they deal with grief in their own lives. Do you reach out to others or keep to yourself? Do you express your emotions through writing, exercise, or art, or do you prefer to sleep through the pain? Decide which character you resemble most in the way you handle grief and stress. Are you like Miriam and Jamal, who need comfort; or more like Emily, who needed to bury herself in her job?

    3. Many of Victoria Christopher Murray’s books are entertaining and instructive, making them the perfect choice for a book club selection. Have your book club read Destiny’s Divas; The Deal, The Dance, and the Devil; or Too Little, Too Late. Afterward, consider how these books are similar to Never Say Never. What common themes can be found woven in all of Victoria Christopher Murray’s novels?


    A Conversation with Victoria Christopher Murray

    You have received countless awards for your novels. Many reviews praise you; in particular, the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, called your “vividness of faith . . . inspirational.” What is your goal when writing?

    I feel blessed that many see my writing as inspirational even though that’s not my initial intent when I write. I know that as a writer, I’m an entertainer, and that’s what I set out to do first. But I always tell people that I am a Christian and no matter what I do, my faith goes with me. S I’m always glad when my faith “shows up” in my writing. If that can inspire someone, that’s even better.

    Who is your favorite character in Never Say Never and why? Do you relate to one of the women more than the others?

    This book turned out to be one of my favorite books of all time because I haven’t written too many non–African American characters. So writing Emily was a wonderful experience for me. I wanted to stay as true to her character as I could and I had a lot of help with that from my editor. Emily is probably my favorite, but only by a little—because I find all of these characters just so interesting. I find Emily and Jamal’s love amazing, and that was fun to write because I can remember years ago when I was . . . “challenged” . . . by interracial relationships. But then Miriam was wonderful to write because she was the victim . . . at first. And even I don’t know when that changed. So . . . I know I didn’t really answer the question. I loved them all.

    Do you hope to break any stereotypes with this novel?

    I’m not sure that I wanted to break stereotypes, but I did want to challenge us as women. I know many of my friends (and me!) for many years had issues when we saw black men with white women. (I’m just being honest!) And so in this book, Emily is white, but she is the wife. As readers we usually cheer for the wife (except for in Scandal!) I wanted to see if my readers would still cheer for Emily, or if the color of her skin made a difference. I cannot wait to get on the road and find out!

    Why did you decide to tell this story from both Miriam and Emily’s points of view? In what ways does presenting both sides of the story change the course of the novel?

    Telling both sides of the story is a no-brainer in this case. In this story, two sides had to be told. The story would have been incomplete with only Miriam or Emily’s voice.

    At the end of Never Say Never you mention this real-life phenomenon that occurred after 9/11 where many firefighters were leaving their wives for their best friends’ widows. Can you talk more about these events, what surprising discoveries you may have made in your research, and why you felt called to write about this phenomenon?

    I work out a lot of my issues through my writing. LOL! Seriously, when I read about something or hear about something, I wonder about it and then write about it so I can discover, What would I do? Everything I learned in the research of the fire departments’ “dirty little secret” you read in the novel. The greatest thing I learned, however, was that before I wrote this book, I looked down on those husbands and widows who destroyed the wife’s life. But after writing this book, all I can say is . . . never say never!

    Do you agree that forgiveness, even when it is not deserved, is the theme of this novel? Why or why not?

    First of all, I always think forgiveness is deserved. Because forgiveness is not about the other person. Forgiveness is for you—so the anguish won’t grow on your heart. So, you deserve to have peace and that’s why forgiveness is always deserved. Now, is it the theme of this novel? Hmmm . . . not sure about that. Before I started writing this novel, I had no idea where it was going to go. I was glad that Emily forgave Jamal . . . and Miriam. I was also glad that Emily realized she would never have the same relationship with Miriam. And Miriam realized that, too. Because you can forgive, but it’s just a little more difficult to forget. . . .

    As a writer, who are your influences? Where do you go to get inspired?

    I’m inspired by the fact that I write full-time for a living, and I’ve developed wonderful relationships with food and shelter. I love eating and sleeping in a home, so I write because this is my job. I just happen to have a job that I love, that’s my passion. I think I’m most influenced by pop culture, things that are going on in the world. I read a lot of books, watch a lot of movies; spend a lot of time studying people in airports, in parks, at the gym—wondering, What’s their story? I can turn a man and a woman kissing at Starbucks into a four-hundred-page novel!

    Do you think that Emily and Jamal’s marriage will survive and that Miriam will learn to live without the two loves of her life? Can we rest assured that everyone in the novel lives as happily ever after as can be expected?

    I’m not so sure I believe in happily ever after. If these were real people (and they’re not, LOL!) I would hope that they would find happiness. Of course life is a road that is covered with speed bumps, but I think they will all find their way to where they’re supposed to be.

    Did writing this novel teach you any lessons? What lesson do you hope readers will take away from this story?

    The greatest lesson ever . . . “never say never” is no longer just a cliché for me. It’s real!

    What is your next project? Can we expect to hear anymore about Emily, Michellelee, and Miriam in future novels?

    I think, I hope, I pray that this is the end for Emily, Michellelee and Miriam. My next project does bring back characters that many are familiar with. I’m working on a sequel to The Ex Files called Forever an Ex. I was inspired to do this because The Ex Files has been optioned to become a movie and the producer was saying that they love those characters so much that if there was more to their story, they may be able to even do a series. So I’m just giving them what they want! :-)

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    Never Say Never 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    GOD'S NOT DEAD!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I absolutely love this series I didn'r want it to end!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Victoria Christopher Murray has done it again!! This book is a must read. I loved EVERY page. I was actually a little mad at myself for reading it to fast but at the same time I couldn't stop myself from reading it. Only Victoria and Shonda Rhimes (ABC's Scandal creator) could ever make me care for the "other woman". One thing I now know for sure...Never Say Never.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Never Say Never by Victoria Christopher Murray was a powerful story that tested friendship and love. After reading the book description I thought to myself how could you betray your best friend by sleeping with her husband? After reading the book and seeing how the friends bonded as sisters throughout the years, it was even harder to understand how someone could cross that invisible line best friends and sister have. I think at one point Miriam really thought she could feel close to Chauncey by being with Jamal. My question to you would be could you forgive your best friend and your husband both grieving and seeking comfort from one another then end up in bed numerous times? ~ Deidra BBC Member
    AntGib More than 1 year ago
    I really really really enjoyed this book. I had so many emotions reading this book! Trust no one with your mate not even your best friend! This is a must read!!!
    Sister-P More than 1 year ago
    There is one word to describe Never Say Never, scandalous. Victoria Christopher Murray does it again by this cleverly written novel. She is a masterful writer and storyteller, who draws you in at page one. If you want to go on an emotional ride of your life, I highly recommend Never Say Never. You won't be able to put this book down.
    NookReader75 More than 1 year ago
    Be prepared to check your emotions at the door! This is a very emotional, thought provoking, drama filled, realistic story! I have to say it took awhile for me to really get into the book. It was so sad and heart wrenching in the very first few chapters and I struggled with my emotions! It felt so real and it had me questioning what would I do? Would I be able to go on? and if so, how? After pushing myself to read I got caught up in Miriam and Jamal's deceit and couldn't put the book down! Chapter s 17-25 will have you on the edge of your seat! The pages that follow will leave you speechless and take you on profound thought provoking journey.  At times this book was mentally challenging because I couldn't desperate fact from fiction and as a married woman it was so hard! I could relate to both Miriam and Emily and to see both sides of the story unfold was like watching an intense tennis match. Victoria Christopher Murray told a beautiful story of how three women became best friends, sister friends, the story of two men who were bonded like brothers, the union of four friends whose lives were torn apart by a horrible tragedy! This book was very well written and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this were turned into a movie! 
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book is another well written, thought provoking book by Victoria Murray! If you are not familiar with her books, this one is a great place to start.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    If your going to leave comment dont tell the whole story. It ruins it for everyone else
    Kimyatta More than 1 year ago
    "When Miriam’s fireman husband, Chauncey, dies while rescuing students from a school fire..." So..from the jump, we know that Chauncey dies...so WHY OH WHY was I crying when Miriam found out?! Oh my goodness. I'm an emotional creature ANYWAY...I don't watch Lifetime because I REFUSE to cry in front of the TV...but some how VCM manages to evoke emotion from me in such a way that I was a wreck reading when Miriam got the news and then when she had to tell her children. I cannot imagine...but I sure felt it. The friends, Miriam, Emily and MichelleLee have a bond out of this world. They have been best friends since their college days...shared a lot and have really been there for each other. Naturally, they would be there for each other in this tragedy. Emily is upset with herself as she hasn't really been able to be "there" for Miriam nor for her husband, Jamal (who was Chauncey's best friend) like she wanted to be. She's a child psychologist..and this fire was at a school so since she's one of the best, they've been calling her in and she has just been doing what she does. Unfortunately, the grief counselor in her, thought she knew about her husband's grief, but despite Pastor Ford's warnings...she wasn't taking care of him through his grief. I didn't want to stop reading. I picked it up and read the first chapter and had to put it down because of family obligations. When I picked it up again though...I never put it down. I was glued to it. By the end of the story, you know Chauncey well even though you don't officially meet him. I can't say much more about the story without giving it away... There's another story going on here too. A little girl named LaTanya...wow...watch out for that. All I can say for sure is to get your tissues ready...get you something to throw...get in a quiet room...otherwise..be ready for folks to ask why you're misty eyed...or why you're yelling or..."why did you hit me?!"...
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Team Emily!!! And yes, that statement pushed race relations forward 100 years. Great book.
    MaureenST More than 1 year ago
    The title says it all. Most people would say the same thing, but when the chips fall? Betrayal happens? We being this story with three very close friends, room mates through college. There for each other no mater what...Sister's. Yes Sister's in all ways but blood. While they are lunching together the celebrity newscaster between them, Michellelee, receives a call about a School fire. She needs to go and cover it, but the other two both have husband firefighter husbands. The unthinkable happens to one of them, Miriam, her husband Chauncy is killed. The "Sister's" rally around their "Loved" one. Now Emily, another "Sister" and her husband Jamal, both come to support Miriam and her three boys. Jamal grew up with Chauncy, now they are firemen together. They are both Godparents to Chauncy's oldest son, Jr. While Emily needs to do her job, and ends up being gone, trying to help a six year old, through the loss of her twin sister. Now that leaves Jamal and Miriam to console each other. What an innocent set up. Yes, and this is where we would say "never", but they are hurting so much. While I at first blamed Jamal, and you will need to judge for yourself, it doesn't make it right. What a story this author has presented to us. She has woven such an emotional, heartbreaking tale. It becomes a fast read, you need to find out how things are going to turn out. Take advantage of the free preview, and I guarantee you will be reading the rest of this book. It is about love and life, and of course forgiveness. I received this book though the Publisher Simon & Schuster, and was not required to give a positive review.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    OOSABookClub More than 1 year ago
    Miriam and Emily have been best friends since college, where what started as a roommate situation turned into something more like sisterhood. Marriage, children, careers and years later their friendship is as strong as ever. That bond is tested when Miriam’s husband Chauncey, a fireman, loses his life in a fire and Miriam and Emily’s husband, Jamal who is also a fireman and Chauncey’s best friend, turn to each other for comfort and understanding. In Victoria Christopher Murray’s “Never Say Never,” loyalties are tested. The inevitability of change is examined. The harsh realities of life are faced. From start to finish, it maintains an emotional tone swinging from the joys of friendship to its aches and pains. Murray’s characters do not live in a world of simple choices and answers. The storyline unearths the gray area. Murray weaves a moving tale as each woman tells her story. Readers can’t help but become emotionally invested and divided with their empathy. While written in simple and concise language, it’s the events and people that make this story a complicated and layered one. Engrossing, compelling and memorable, “Never Say Never,” is one of the best books of the year so far. Reviewed by: Toni
    Rattlerfrog More than 1 year ago
    ***POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT*** While it was an interesting story, I was disappointed.  I actually wanted Jamal to stay with Miriam.  Moreover, I thought the story focused too much on Emily and not enough on Miriam and Jamal and how Miriam was handing the death of Chauncyey, which was the catalyst for the whole story.  If anything, I thought it should have been told from Jamal and Miriam's perspective. I thought too the death of LaToya's twin was explored a little more than the death of Chauncey.  By the end of the story, Miriam's grief for Chauncey was never addressed.  It was glossed over at best. By the end, I saw "Temptation" all over again. Miriam was an afterthought when the story was to be about hers and Jamal's newfound love. Lastly, in my opinion, it was too much tell and not enough show.  Needless to say, I was disappointed