2016 · Book Reviews · Fiction · Grief · Romance

I Let You Go, Clare Mackintosh

** CONTAINS SPOILERS**

23125266Published: 2014 by Sphere | Pages: 371

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 …

Just WOW. Seriously, it’s been such a long time since I read a book and could not put it down. Regardless of it being a work night, I kept reading and reading. I’d heard a lot about this book earlier in the year but as usual have only just got round to reading it. The opening to the book hits you right between the eyes – I was hooked immediately. You have an instant connection with Jacob’s mother, and feel your mind already beginning to race ahead in the plot to work out was in the car, why they didn’t manage to stop in time, why they didn’t stop to help and what must they now be feeling. Mackintosh not only grabs your attention from the offset, but also sets a quick pace to the novel – which got a massive thumbs up from me! There’s nothing worse than struggling through a slow-paced, unimaginative novel!

I really enjoyed the Welsh seaside setting where Jacob’s (suggested) mother, Jenna, had fled to. It reminded me of areas in Mid-Wales where I spent 4 years. The rugged wilderness of Jenna’s surroundings perfectly mirrors her inner turmoil. I also loved the use of nightmares and flashbacks to remind readers of her past because I felt that you did begin to forget the accident at the start as you’re carried away in Jenna’s new life. One of my favourite characters was Richard. As Jenna becomes more confident in her new life in Wales, normality begins to seep into the plot; a love interest, a new pet and friends in Penfach.

Mackintosh definitely shocks her readers by turning the plot on its head in part 2 when Jenna’s true identity is revealed. Of course, alongside Jenna’s story is also Ray and Kate’s story; the two police officers investigating the accident. I liked how Mackintosh intertwined these 2 quite different stories – the readers flick between the emotional effects of trauma and the critical police work which occurs behind closed doors.

The most shocking part of the novel is also in part 2 when Jenna’s husband, Ian, is introduced. We discover that Jenna has been the victim of domestic abuse and that the accident was actually caused by a drunken, enraged Ian rather than Jenna. A massive twist occurs during his ‘confession’ to Jenna but I won’t say what it is as the enjoyment and shock would be ruined!

Mackintosh doesn’t shy away from describing the abuse Jenna suffers which I believe is very brave. When reading these sections I did feel extremely uncomfortable but that was the point I think. This entire book makes you react to what your reading – it really gets inside your head!

The concluding chapters of the book really pick up the pace and all the ambiguities throughout the novel are resolved; all ends are tied up. For me, this ends the book brilliantly as I personally don’t like being left hanging! Overall I would definitely recommend this book to everyone and possibly say it is one of my favourite books of all time! A strong rating of five stars if not more!

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