ARC Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Author: Clare Mackintosh
Source: eARC via NetGalley
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date03 May 2016

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Summary:

On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them. Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner, says, “I read I Let You Go in two sittings; it made me cry (at least twice), made me gasp out loud (once), and above all made me wish I’d written it . . . a stellar achievement.”

Review:

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I requested this book. I was in the mood for a slow burning thriller, one that I could escape into, one that reminded me of The Girl on the Train. When I started reading Jenna Gray’s story, I wasn’t sure what to think, or who she was. At first glance, she’s the grieving mother, one who will do anything to escape her home town to find some peace and quiet.

Peace is what Jenna finds when she moves to a small Welsh beach town. The community is small but they look out for each other. They care about each other but are weary of strangers. It’s a place Jenna feels like she finally found peace. At least she thought she did.  When her history comes back to haunt her, to try to kill her, we finally see the truth of who Jenna is and what she’s gone through. She’s more than just a grieving mother. Mackintosh does an expert job layering Gray’s character in such a way that when the truth is revealed we, too, are relieved to finally have understanding, to finally have closure.

The inclusion of the two Bristol police officers, while it kept the tension of the novel up, drew me out of the novel. Their story, the focus on the struggle of job versus relationship, career ambition and family life, was something that was deeply personal to me. But it detracted from the importance of Jenna’s story, what she’s gone through, and ultimately her ability to grieve.

Overall, this was a great read. I couldn’t put the novel down. I wanted a deeper look into Jenna’s life, and what she’s gone through, but that would’ve pushed this novel into a different genre entirely.

If you’re searching for a slow burning thriller, I Let You Go is definitely for you.

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