It seems like ages since my last ‘Readers’ post, but with my wedding and Lesley’s work commitments, it has proved difficult for us all to get together and discuss our latest choice. Given recent upheavals in my own life, I’m also glad I finished this one a couple of weeks ago, as I’d have hated to hold up the proceedings any further. So, without further ado, I present you with Lesley’s latest choice - ‘I Let You Go’ by Clare Mackintosh.
Pegged as a fantastic psychological thriller, not dissimilar to ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘The Girl on the Train’, I was excited to see how this story would unfurl and couldn’t wait to start reading. I managed to get it for the bargain price of £5.59 on Amazon, but you can pick it up for cheaper if you prefer the Kindle edition.
The book begins with a brief prologue, detailing an accident involving the death of a small child, which then sets the scene for the rest of the events in the novel. With three different perspectives, we are continually given different angles with which to view the main character, culminating in a shock reveal, which ties up the story arc nicely. I know that Lesley particularly enjoys crime novels and, although this strays from the typical ‘who-dunnit’ style (as the crime is not actually the focus of the story), I still think it delivers an interesting examination of both police and criminal behaviour.
Split into two parts, the first deals with tracking down those responsible for the crime, while the second part deals with the fallout from the arrest of the perpetrator. Part one follows Jenna, who appears to be connected in some way to the accident, while simultaneously following the progress of the police investigation. The author very cleverly describes all police scenes through the third person view point, as if to distance the reader from the crime, given that the police themselves are not emotionally involved. The life of Jenna is then described in the first person, leading the reader to empathise with all her feelings, while also disguising major plot points, given the confusing emotions experienced by the character.
The second part introduces a third view point to the story in the form of Jenna’s controlling husband. While his part is also spoken in the first person, it only ever focuses on Jenna herself and instead seems to give a ‘second person’ view point on Jenna’s life. This additional perspective takes the story on a sinister turn, as the reader begins to fully understand the level of abuse Jenna has undergone to make her the person she is.
Clare Mackintosh was a police officer for twelve years, before taking to writing full time, so she is able to convey an accurate representation of how a police investigation of this type of crime is likely to play out. She also has the unique perspective of a mother who has also lost her own son, and was able to channel some of those feelings into the character development in this novel.
We all agreed that it was a fantastic story to follow, and kept us guessing until the big reveal at the end (even if some of us suspected beforehand). The unique use of first, second and third person viewpoints made for extremely interesting reading, and helped with discussing the important topic of domestic violence, without tackling it head on. Sarahjane argued that the ending seemed unfinished, but I imagine that any victims of domestic violence would possibly never feel closure, therefore the ending still fits well. Overall, I rate this novel as another, high ranking 4.5/5, with the only bad point being the relatively slow start with part one – although, once the story was established, I couldn’t put it down!
Our next book is my choice again, and was selected because I used to work in a lab with the author while I was completing my Master’s Degree project. ‘Magenta Opium’ by Sharon Baillie seems like an interesting story, check back with us in May to see how we got on!