(Pardon my French).
It’s impossible to review without letting a few things slip and since the premise of this book is built on a twist, it’s really not fair of me to just put it out there without warning.
If you’re intending to read this book then don’t read this post. Or… read it after. You might want to talk about it.
5 year old Jacob is hit by a car and killed on the way home from school one afternoon and the driver fails to stop. Jacob’s mother holds him in her arms as he passes on, and her life will never be the same.
Blaming herself for the accident, she feels all eyes are on her, accusing her of neglect and eventually, she leaves her home in Bristol to escape the past.
Jenna chooses a secluded cottage on a cliff in Wales to deal with her past, where she builds a new life, a far different life to the one she knew.
Meanwhile, DI Ray Stevens is on the case with his protege Kate, who won’t let the case go, even when their original campaign yields no leads.
Will Ray and Kate unravel this complicated story and finally find the driver responsible for robbing Jacob of his life – and find justice for his mother? And will Jenna ever put her guilt behind her and be happy again?
Only one way to find out!
Reading this book has opened my eyes to the concept of the ‘trigger warning’ and I wonder more than ever before about when and where they should be placed. I mean, I get that it must be hard to warn readers when you’re presenting a thriller with a twist that most of them won’t see coming but honestly, I went into this book expecting something completely different and getting way more than I bargained for.
I don’t know if I was ready to read another book about spousal abuse. It left me feeling uneasy and yes, unlatched memories I wasn’t up for revisiting.
The abuse suffered by our protagonist is way more violent than anything I’ve experienced (luckily) but Jenna’s dialogue as she realises her relationship has gone bad but doesn’t know how to leave, the heinous things her husband says to her and the way she almost loses her family forever, is all too real to me.
My own experience of psychological abuse (and it is abuse) is way more subtle and therefore harder to accept when you’re in it (e.g. “I’m imagining it, aren’t I? Maybe he’s right, I’m being paranoid.”) – but it’s still abuse. I started to read these scenes and I was like “Great. Another fucking man ruining another fucking life!”.
The book is, of course, more than that. It’s fairly gripping; the initial story is heartbreaking and it’s written quite well (but not amazingly). You might find yourself rooting for Jenna, despite the horrible accident she’s supposedly caused. You might find yourself rolling your eyes at the predictability of DI Stevens, the detective assigned to solve the case, as he battles with his feelings for a young, pretty colleague (but of course!). You might find yourself getting irritated that his wife Mags is painted in such a dowdy 2D light, despite the fact that she was an even better copper than Ray, before the kids.
And you might click your tongue at the idyllic retreat Jenna takes herself on to escape the past. Windswept beaches, a rescue dog and wellington boots. Sounds perfect doesn’t it? And just how perfect is her love interest, Patrick? So far so Sleeping with the Enemy (1991).
I know these aren’t really criticisms, as such. Just that most women escaping domestic violence don’t have the luxury of escaping to the wilds of Wales, I guess. I don’t know what I expected of this book really, if anything but it didn’t give me anything new, or thought provoking. It just turned my stomach and made me feel angry in the second half, especially when the true culprit of all the terror gets his underwhelming just desserts.
Maybe I’ve just over-saturated my consciousness with thrillers lately, and much better ones too, like The Girl on the Train. I’ll think very carefully before I read another book in this genre, even though it’s one I’m generally attracted to.
- I Let You Go
- Publisher: Sphere (7 May 2015)
- ISBN-10: 0751554154
- ISBN-13: 978-0751554151
- Bought paperback (new)