I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Having previously read and liked I See You and Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh, I was excited to read I Let You Go. The blurb draws you in with the mysterious November event that changed Jenna’s life and the premonition that it will catch up with her. I have to say, the outcome wasn’t what I imagined. The truth and solution is quite hard to read; in fact the whole book addresses a lot of serious issues, but I do feel that it’s important for authors to not shy away from these troubling subjects.

So, this book is divided into 2 parts, with part 1 ending 162 pages in on a cliffhanger. At this point you question everything you’ve just read, but the confusion is exhilarating and spurs you on to keep reading. I was unsure why there were 2 parts and what a link could be, then through the change in perspective gradually dawns on you where its heading (I do still wonder whether it actually needed to be split as it carries on from the first part pretty much the same.)

Reading how the relationship progresses between Jenna and Ian from both sides is so interesting from a social point of view, but on an emotional level it is so distressing! The miscommunication, mistaken betrayal and loyalty all in the name of “love” just makes you want to scream because although they both misread situations, it is relatable and clear how it is so easily done in real life. How an intense desire turns into predator vs prey through systematic control and manipulation. Clare thoroughly knows her characters inside and out, because the language and atmosphere in the abusive scenes is spot on, and the insight into authority and consent is eye-opening and heart-breaking… but potentially so real.

The parallel story throughout the book is centered around the detective Ray, his team and his family, but I really didn’t side with him at first; I kept having this feeling he was going to go off rogue, and I didn’t think the book needed another flighty, unreliable character. Jenna was understandably wary and jumpy, and Ian had his fits of rage and unprovoked attacks. Ray does have questionable integrity but on the whole his instincts seemed to be in the right pool. I think I would have preferred him to be a good through and through family man just to add a bit of softness and tone, but as this book doesn’t focus too hard on the police operation, he nevertheless rounds the book into a well-written thriller.

Overall, you can tell the book has been planned and well thought-out with a lot of emotion and serious issues addressed. There was a cliffhanger at the end of Let Me Lie which felt a little unnecessary and the same at the end of I Let You Go. The book would suit a happy ending, and it kind of bugs me that because it isn’t part of a series there isn’t a next book to address the hanging question. This wasn’t my favourite book by Clare Mackintosh, mainly because the subjects explored were so tough to read and it wasn’t “enjoyable”, plus the ending left me feeling “meh”. I will still pick up her next books to read, so she’s definitely a highly recommended author, just this one missed the spot for me. – GJ

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