I Let You Go: Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go: Clare Mackintosh

Title: I Let You Go

Author: Clare Mackintosh

Review by Thivija Sabanathan

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh follows Jenna Gray as she attempts a new beginning. Following an accident where mother lost child, Jenna abandons Bristol for the anonymity that Wales provides. Haunted by grief and guilt, she struggles but kind neighbours, a reignited creativity and even a handsome dentist provide the beginnings of the thought of future.

Meanwhile, DI Ray Stevens and his team search for the culprit. While ‘impossible’ sometimes feels appropriate when describing the likelihood, they persist, driven by the desire to ease a mother’s pain.

The story starts off slowly and, at times, I wondered about the state of mind an author must be in to believe this concept as worthy of a crime novel. However, I struggled through and I soon found myself not struggling at all. I grew attached to the various characters: I watched them emerge out of the pages, layer by layer, and I even fell in love with a few of them on the way. However, I wasn’t interested in the mystery aspect of the novel, which left me dissatisfied.

Plot twist

Then comes the Plot Twist (it deserves the capitalisation). You can attempt to guess, but I promise that you will not be successful; I often proudly declare that guessing is one my strongest skills, but none of the multiple theories that were circulating my mind came anywhere close.

I didn’t believe it. The slow beginning, with its rustic cottage and soft-spoken characters, lulled me into a false sense of security, then my entire understanding of this world was annihilated before I even realised the end was nigh. Post-Plot Twist, I flicked back, in search of contradiction, but instead found that everything that I thought to be true never was. The subsequent multiple twists that leave you guessing until the very end results in the bleary-eyed 4:00 a.m. realisation that the past few hours have disappeared along with the pages leading to the final one.

I Let You Go

Mackintosh’s experience as a police officer adds authenticity

I Let You Go is cleverly written to the point of awe, and the fact that it’s Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel fills me with excitement as I envision the quality of her future second novel. Her former experience as a police officer adds to the authenticity of the experience while her understanding creates extensive empathy. From the story that is first presented, the direction that the book heads in is unimaginable.

A New Beginning

The idea of a new beginning is an interesting one. It can be found in multiple pieces of literature, film or any medium of expression. Life presents us with difficulties, and we may feel unable to confront them, hence to be rid of the past, with its regrets and bad memories and obligations, can often feel like the only possibility of a future.

However, as Jenna discovers, it is impossible to run away from the past. It could be due to the fact that we are our past; each experience that our life is composed of has shaped us into the way we are today. The past will always follow you, trail you like your shadow; running away is a redundant act. To accommodate to the present and create a path for the future is the best option, but perhaps that is also impossible – it appears to be so for Jenna.

By Thivija Sabanathan

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