Book Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

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… 


Published by Sphere November 2014 (HB) May 2015 (PB)

I came by I Let You Go via a LOT of extremely positive recommendations. With over 200 5* reviews on Amazon, this book looked like a winner. So I’m not going to lie that when I first started it I was a bit disappointed. After the first shocking scene, the first chapters didn’t grab me at all. In fact, it took me a week to get to the 20% read mark on my kindle. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with it, and granted I was working crazily stupid hours that week at work, I just didn’t feel inclined to pick it up or felt particularly drawn or excited by the characters.

But then, around that 20% mark, things changed. The plot thickened, I became intrigued by main character Jenna and swept away by the atmospheric descriptions of the remote Welsh coastal village where Jenna has retreated in seclusion. I thought I understood her need for solace, her grief and pain. And then WHAM! Clare Mackintosh throws a twist I didn’t see coming a mile off that literally made me gasp.

Hands down, this is the best twist I’ve read in a long time. It was just so unexpected,it left me wondering if I’d missed any clues. Looking back on the other reviews, I can see I didn’t. Mackintosh wove this story to snare the reader into comfort, only to shake them all up and completely spin them around. It’s genius writing.

The rest of the book takes a different tone as a third character is introduced. One who will unsettle you and leave shivers creeping down your spine. I was gripped by this shocking and suspenseful book. At it’s heart is a message about domestic violence, and I thought Clare Mackintosh got the mix of secrecy, fear and shame from Jenna just right. It certainly drives home that you can never be certain at what goes on behind closed doors, despite outward appearances.

The twists keep on coming right to the very end page. I marvel at how authors keep the threads of such complex plots, and in I Let You Go, it is done with seamless perfection. It’s a shame that in the first few chapters I almost dismissed this book as not for me and I’m so glad I didn’t. It’s probably the best psychological thriller I’ve read this year, and believe me, it’s been one hell of a year for them. If this genre is your thing, the I Let You Go is a MUST read, and I recommend it without hesitation.

My copy was a proof courtesy of the publishers and Netgalley.

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