Half a million dollars will be Celeste Thorne’s reward for spending four years of her life in total isolation. No faces. No voices. No way to leave.
Since Celeste has never really worried about being alone, the generous paycheck she’ll receive for her participation in the solitary psychological experiment seems like easy money.
When she finds an injured hiker in the woods bordering her living compound, her strictly governed world is thrown into disarray. But even as she struggles with the morality of breaking the rules of the experiment, Celeste can’t deny her growing attraction to the kind and enigmatic Olivia Soldano. Still, how much can you really trust a stranger? And how much can you trust yourself when you know all the faces you’ve seen and voices you’ve heard for the past three years have only been your imagination?
But what’s real? Celeste’s reality may lie somewhere between the absolute truth and a carefully constructed deception.
FROM THE AUTHOR
"Whenever I’ve talked about my newest release, Alone, Ithink I’ve used some variation of It’s a bit weird. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very proud writer parent who loves my weird child. But every time I tried to explain what the book is about, I failed because it’s hard to explain without giving away the entire plot. So I’ve been hand-wringingly mumbling some vague things and hoping people would indulge me and actually read it. Now, I ask for your indulgence one more time when I talk about The Weird One in a vague kind of way (for the last time, pinky promise).
I wrote Alone back to front to how I normally craft a novel. All of my novel ideas start as a random thought, which morphs into a very vague plot idea. Then that plot gets left behind in favour of more exciting things like fleshing out characters and dialogue and fun interactions until inevitably I have to come back to plot stuff. Ugh, plots are tricky when you don’t plan anything and just aren’t a lover of plots. I don’t like working out how to make one bit join to another bit, oh and remember five chapters ago when this happened and now it has to affect that thing, yeah, you messed that bit up, pal and now you gotta fix it but it can’t screw with that other Very Important Bit.
But with Alone, I (miraculously) had the plot idea from start to finish pretty much from the get-go, and all I had to do was walk it back and figure out what kind of people would be in that situation. Easy *knuckle crack* I just needed two ladies, right? And from there, I ran headfirst into my next issue—the majority of the novel had to be two characters in one location.
How do you make a book with the bare minimum amount of characters for a romance, and set mostly in one place, interesting? What do two strangers basically stuck in a house together under interesting circumstances have to talk about? And most importantly–how do you make them fall in love? Please imagine the Now Kiss meme because that was pretty much my writing process.
Doing great here, Author.
Obviously the easiest solution would have been to change the plot, but gosh darn it, I’d written myself into a hole and I didn’t care if I was tearing my hair out, I was stubbornly sticking to my ideas because I really really loved them! Welcome to Author Stubbornness 101, I’ll be your lecturer for this semester.
Eventually, as it always happens (thankfully), I wrote myself out of the hole. My characters cooperated. And suddenly I had a novel that’s kind of romance, kind of drama but not really drama drama and kind of a bit psychological but not in a thriller-ish way. What genre do you put that mouthful into? A Bit of a Weird Romance? I’m pretty sure bookstores don’t have a shelf for that one.
If you’ve read the blurb, you probably have an idea what Alone is about. And you know I can’t say too much without giving things away. You also know “it’s a bit weird, but good weird.” So, obviously, the logical thing is for you to grab a copy of Alone and read it, so you can fill in the gaps between my vague details. And then please come and chat with me about it because I’m bursting here, desperate to talk about this novel but having to be vague so I don’t blurt out everything like a kid telling their classmates that Santa isn’t real.
—E. J. Noyes
Reviewer@Large - When you actually experience every single emotion and thought of both the [main characters] almost physically, you know you’re submerged in something created by a magician. This book has an unusual circumstance in which the [main characters] meet and that circumstance is one of the drivers or their relationship and every emotion. It is wonderfully imagined and executed.
E. J. Noyes is easily one of the most gifted writers pulling us into whatever world she creates making us live and feel every emotion with her characters.
Definitely, loudly, vehemently recommended.
Tiff’s Reviews - … is an absolutely stunning book. I mean seriously, this is a book you start and are just riveted page after page. A few chapters in an I asked myself what am I reading. Knowing full well this book is on the next level. Pick it up, read it, and then strap in because you are in for one hell of a ride. My proverbial hat is off you E.J. Noyes because you have written something extraordinary. I will give a little bit of synopsis but I am going to leave you with my final review. This book is not a 5 star, it is well above that. This one is at the pinnacle of the lesbian romance genre. You don't see books like this on very often. Truly a treasure and one that will stay with you long after the final page.
Diane W. - Rich in good characterization and storyline, 'ALONE' is a dazzling narration that offers an insightful and some meaningful perspectives on what is false or real when showing endearment to another while being enclosed from the outside world. Overall, the writing was well written, clever, poignant and it even tried to render a significant examination about a complicated relationship. A highly recommended book!
Bethany K. - For being one of my most anticipated want to read books to read in 2019, this one sure had a lot of expectations to live up to! I can say with full authority, that it met or exceeded every single hope that I had. Noyes has done it again, cementing her place as a "must-read" author.
Just do yourself a favor and pre-order this one now. You won't be sorry! Alone lived up to all the hype, and is easily one of the best books of 2019!
Lex Kent’s Reviews - There are only a handful of authors that I will drop everything to read as soon as a new book comes out, and Noyes is at the top of that list. This book is quite different than any Noyes has written before. Actually, if you look at her complete body of work no two books feel the same which I think is really impressive. It is a romance, but again it’s different from the norm. It is also psychological but not a psychological thriller; there really aren’t other lesfic books out there like this. And while Ask Me Again was absolutely heartbreaking at times, I think this is the most emotional book Noyes has written. It sure took me on a ride and messed with my feelings. This is what a good first person story is supposed to do. It is supposed to draw you into the character and make you feel. Well I was feeling something alright. I cried, I smiled, I was angry and disgusted, and I was sad but also relieved. This book put my emotions through a wringer and it was exactly what I wanted.
If you are a Noyes fan, don’t hesitate to get this. If you are a romance fan but want to read something different, get this. It seems no matter what Noyes writes she doesn’t disappoint. I will eagerly be waiting for whatever she writes next.
Pin’s Reviews - It is a kind of psychological romance with some dark undertones, but not dark in its essence. On the contrary, it is essentially positive and motivating. It is different and weird, but in a good way. It is emotional in a big way. We can be angry, afraid, ashamed, angsty, crazy and happy along with the protagonist Celeste. We can laugh and cry with her. We can even hear voices in our head. All of that we can experience in this eccentric romantic story thanks to the great imagination and great writing skills of the author.
A woman lives alone in a remote cabin for several years as part of a psychological experiment–until one day a lost hiker blunders into her compound. How will our heroine react? Was this chance meeting really an accident? When Olivia turns up, injured and needy, Celeste falls hard for her, until she starts to suspect that all is not as it seems. It’s an unsettling scenario, and Noyes does an excellent job in creating a sinister atmosphere, establishing Celeste’s naiveté and credulity and emphasising her vulnerability.
Cathie W. - Once again this author has been able to rip apart any semblance of common or formulaic lesfic romantic themes to come up with a story entirely unique. Beyond that is the depth of emotion between Celeste and Olivia that is built masterfully through Celeste’s first person POV that is just so intensely raw and visceral. There is a pervasive heaviness throughout the book and executing the story through Celeste’s first person POV captured a deep and lush emotionality that would have been filtered and dim otherwise.
Truly an exceptional study of the human psyche and emotions, this is a book I won’t ever forget.
R. Swier - This was the type of book that you want to read as fast as possible because it is that good, yet at the same time you want to savor every moment simply because it is that good. But ultimately, this book wasn’t just good, it was great. Very highly recommended!
Heather B. - Alone is a fantastic emotional book. The writing and characters are well developed. I would love to read more from this author.
Orla S. - I can honestly say I have never read anything like this book before, in a really positive way. My mind is still slightly blown from all the thoughts and ideas firing about my brain while I was reading Alone, so I really hope I can do it justice here and not just drool all over my laptop about how much I love it!>br>
I've read and loved E.J. Noyes other four books (I highly recommend them all), so I tried to savour Alone and not finish it inside one day but in the end I just couldn't wait and I stayed up until 03.30 to finish it. I just couldn't stay away.
To sum up, this book is incredible; I was completely swept up by both Celeste and Olivia, became utterly smitten with them, giggled, cried my eyes out at one stage, the whole shebang. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, yes there's a lesfic romance element but it's also a brilliantly written novel on our human needs, strengths and weaknesses. I also love the way the author, through Celeste and Olivia explores concepts of truth vs reality.
Buy this book, you won't regret it. I got an ARC but I have already pre-ordered this book from Bella, these are not just idle words!
Oh yeah, massive thank you to E.J. Noyes for the correct use of the term "butterfly kisses"! :P
Carolyn M. - I started the book just after dinner last night and I'm not ashamed to say that I was hooked by page 3. I read for a couple of hours, slept for a few and then was awake far, far earlier than I needed to be.
I woke up thinking about this book and cannot get it out of my head now. I am a fast reader by nature, but I consumed this book. I ate it up like a starving person.
It. Is. That. Good.
I cannot give this anything more than five stars, but damn I wish I could. I would give it 15.
You're crazy if you don't get your hands on this book. It's brilliant.
Betty H. - There are only a few books out there so compelling they seem to take control of you and force you to read them as quickly as possible. You can’t put them down. You just want the world to go away and leave you alone until you can finish this story. Alone by E.J. Noyes is that book for me.
This novel is absolutely wonderful. The pacing of the story is perfect. It grabs you, pulls you along and will hardly let you stop to breathe. The main characters are realistically created with both strengths and flaws that affect their personalities and interactions with each other. Celeste is especially well drawn. The tale is written in first person through Celeste’s eyes, and I am amazed at the depth of her character. Ms. Noyes makes the reader feel every emotion, hear every thought, and experience the world as Celeste experiences it. This is a fine example of this author’s wonderful talent.
Alone is the first novel I’ve read by this author, but it won’t be my last. This book has my highest rating and is definitely going into my favorites folder. Don’t miss this fascinating and brilliantly written novel.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bella Books for an honest review.
Carol C. - All I can say is just WOW - the plot of this book is one I don't think I have come across and I have read A LOT of lesbian romances. This is not only a romance but a psychological roller-coaster ride that I want to ride again!
Kitty Kat’s Book Review Blog
…is an addictive and fascinating, romantic psychological story. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. At times the story was disturbing. But there were heart-warming moments too and an overpowering intense love that was beautiful and sexy and affirming. I couldn’t put it down. Afterwards I felt the need to sit and process what I had just read–it was very special. Highly recommended.
Joc A. - This is a superb novel, from concept to execution. I sometimes struggle with characters in a vacuum because there’s not enough interaction but Noyes counteracted that brilliantly by bringing to life the influences in Celeste’s past.
This novel elicited so many emotions and responses from me. It’s clever, beautiful, sad, romantic, imaginative, humorous, unusual and completely engrossing.
Book received from Netgalley and Bella Books for an honest review.
Karen C. - Not only is this easily one of the best books of 2019, but it has worked its way onto my personal all-time top 10 list. There is not one formulaic thing going on, and it's “unputdownable”. I don't want to spoiler anything here as this book is a continual “WHAAAAAAAT???”
A couple of months ago I read Ask, Tell and it was my first experience with E. J. Noyes. Immediately I had to read Ask Me Again. I haven't yet read Gold or Turbulence but I will, and soon. This author has become a must-read for me. Her work is impossible to describe and is definitely a cut above.
Corrie K. - Alone by E. J. Noyes is without a doubt one of my top reads for 2019. What a fabulous book! Wow, wow, wow.
I won’t do a synopsis because I don’t want to spoil anything and if you read the blurb you’ll know enough going in. Buy the book, schedule some time (because you won’t be able to put it down once you start) and just enjoy the ride. It’s all perfect. The plot, the characters, the pacing, the dialogue, the sex, the twist (although I did guess that one). Noyes is just at the top of her game here.
Celeste Thorne and Olivia Soldano will stay with me for a good long while. It’s gripping, it’s dark and unsettling and it will break your heart but at the same time it’s also full of hope and love. This book will ruin you in a good way. Buy it now.
Stephanie D. - This book was an immersive experience that had me guessing what was real and what wasn't. I love this kind of book where the writing is so good that you can get completely lost in it.
The writing was great and the book flowed effortlessly. The character development was great as well. It is a page turner that I will definitely be recommending.