Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh, Reading Room Review

 I realized that I haven't posted a review of one of my favorite reads this year, which came out in the U.S. this month.  I Let You Go is such an exceptional book that I want to encourage all within reach of this blog and in my reading community to read it.  It's not often that a debut book is this spectacular.  So, here is my review of a book that gobsmacked me in the most wonderful way.

I Let You GoI Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When one of my most trusted sources for great reading literally puts a book in my hands, I, of course, read it. When it promises to be a powerful psychological thriller and is compared to Gone Girl and Girl on a Train, I grimace just a bit, because, while I enjoyed those two books, I thought the hype was overplayed. And, then. Then, I started reading I Let You Go and fell into one of the cleverest, well written, thrilling psychological stories I've ever read. It's the real deal. It delivers completely. Every sentence, every page taking the reader on a journey unlike any you've ever experienced, to an ending you never see coming. Clare Mackintosh has achieved in her debut novel what I hope for in every book I open. An unforgettable, gripping tale.

The story begins with tragedy. Five-year-old Jacob lets go of his mother's hand crossing the street to his house on a rainy Bristol afternoon, and in that split second of separation, a car appears and hits Jacob. The car backs off down the street, leaving the scene of the accident and Jacob dying in the street. A mother's unbearable sorrow and a community's horror at the hit-and-run follow.

Jenna Gray's only hope of surviving this tragedy is to move away from the constant barrage of news and talk of it, so she relocates to small village on the coast of Wales, where she sets up a spartan existence in an isolated cottage. Despite her efforts to remain alone and friendless, she discovers a new career of photography, which leads her to interaction with others, albeit limited. Her friendship with a local veterinarian, however is harder to keep impersonal. She struggles with how much of herself to make accessible.

To relay any more of the plot and characters would, I feel, cheat readers just picking up this book of the experience to turn the corners and see who and what is there. There are plenty of suspenseful twists, and each one will cause a gasp of surprise. There is nothing unfair in any revelations, only ingenious storytelling by an author of brilliant skills. Told from the viewpoint of three different characters, I Let You Go is an extraordinary novel that will haunt you long after all is read.

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