Book Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I let you go

“A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .”

This was recommended to me by a friend (and it would seem that a mutual friend knows the author personally through her previous life in the police) but it was worthy of the recommendation on content alone. It was BRILLIANT.

It starts off with a car crash and then the aftermath of the crash.  About half way through there is an AMAZING twist – one that makes you want to go back to the beginning of the book and start again to see if you can see the clues, as I’d completely missed it on initial read.  I can’t really say any more without giving it away!

Some of the chapters are written in the first person as if Jenna is speaking – and initially these alternate with third person narrative of the police investigation.  As the book develops a third ‘voice’ is used too.  It is very clever writing and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The descriptions throughout the book – from the tragic crash, to the Welsh coastline, are wonderfully emotive and evocative. You are rooting for Jenna throughout the book and her personal roller coaster.

I really don’t want to say too much, as you need to read it to see how it develops – but I would very highly recommend it.

This is Clare Mackintosh’s first book – and I’m very much looking forward to reading her future books.

Book Review: The Book of You by Claire Kendal

I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of ‘The Book of You’ to review by the guys at Mumsnet.

The Book of You

And here’s what Amazon has to say:

“A terrifying psychological thriller about obsession and power, perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep.

Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won’t leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there.

Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can’t be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand.

Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them – and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagined.”

From the outset I really enjoyed this – way more than Gone Girl – and mostly because you actually care about Clarissa and what is going to happen to her.  The book has some chapters written in the first person, almost as diary entries – and others in the third person.  I’m not sure it particularly adds anything to the book – but equally doesn’t distract.

It is very clever writing about Clarissa being stalked, but weaving in the plots of other women having similar issues.  It makes you realise how difficult it can be for stalking victims to be believed.

Some of it is set in court where Clarissa is on jury service – and I enjoyed this having been through court proceedings myself a couple of years ago (thankfully no one was harmed before our trial apart from some sticklebacks – although they did prove to be very expensive sticklebacks for us – but that’s a whole other story!)

At times I did just want to shout at Clarissa ‘for goodness sake, please tell someone what’s going on’ – but you can understand how she wanted to gain enough evidence to be believed.

It really is a ‘just one more chapter, suddenly it’s 1am’ kind of book!

The book also cross references a number of fairy tales – I didn’t realise how dark some were – frightening.  Think I’ll stick to the mainstream ones with my kids.

The ending is not what I expected at all – but I really respect Claire Kendal for that.  I can’t say any more without giving it away – you’ll just have to read it yourself – and I would thoroughly recommend that you do!