18 May 2016

The 5am Review: I Let You Go

Good morning... I'm wide awake and have been since about 2.30am so I thought I would write you a quick book review!

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

Rating: ★★★★★

This book had been on my shelf for quite some time when I picked it up, originally one that I bought from last year's Richard and Judy book club selection at WHSmiths.  I was pretty happy when Paul picked this out of my TBR jar for me as I had been meaning to get to it, and I love a thriller, so was excited to see what I would make of this one.

The story starts with a car accident in Bristol, in which a young boy is killed.  After this we follow our main character Jenna as she tries to move on, by relocating to a remote Welsh village and cutting herself off from what she deems to be her former life.  At the same time and shown in alternating chapters, there is the ongoing police investigation.  I'll be honest and say I wasn't immediately hooked and said as much on Twitter via Goodreads - only to receive a tweet from the author herself advising me to stick with it until the end of Part One and then get rid, if I wasn't a fan.  So I did as I was told and persevered, and I'm so glad I did!  The end of Part One was where it started to get really interesting and from this point on I was hooked.

On reflection I think the twist in this novel relies quite heavily on misleading the reader.  That might sound odd, as surely all twists rely on readers thinking one thing and then being shown another, however I've seen a lot of people say they had already assumed what was revealed to have been happening all along, so I think in particular this one depends on how you're reading and the perceptions you have from the beginning.  However I was personally taken on the journey the author intended and so it worked really well for me.

Despite the main twist being revealed quite early on, the rest of the book was equally gripping.  Not easy reading in places with some quite dark themes - it's hard to say more without giving away plot details but I do think this book maybe should come with a trigger warning for domestic abuse.

The characters all felt very real and had convincing back stories.  I was slightly less interested in the police and what was going on in their personal lives as some of it seemed irrelevant, however for the most part I could see how it was important to the plot.  The writing was brilliant and very clever. Overall, a really impressive debut, and I can see why it was on all the book club lists!  I will definitely look out for anything else by Clare Mackintosh - in fact her new book I See You is out in July!

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