Review of I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Published: 6th November 2014
Little Brown
Pages: 384


In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever. Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating…


Thank you to Little Brown for kindly sending me a copy (not a review one) for my Mum’s September Macmillan Coffee Morning. I just couldn’t resist reading it.

I Let You Go begins with a shocking prologue concerning a mother, her young child and a crash. The plot was tense, exciting and thrilling from the first page. The point of view coming from the detective was an interesting move to make on Clare’s behalf as we usually hear from them through someone else’s eyes but it worked well. Jenna’s world has come crashing down; she’s got nobody to help her, only the police who can only do so much and I really sympathised with her.

“I don’t want a cup of tea, but I take it anyway.”

The pace of the book was slow and I’ll be honest – it drove me mad! I wanted it to be a quick paced but it just wasn’t. When Jenna moved away, her chapters really picked up – we saw the best and worst in her yet she still made quite an impact on me. As for the chapters of Ray (the police officer), we seemed to learn a lot more about his life than I expected. But why? What did he have to do with the plot and why was his life relevant? His colleague Kate made me a bit suspicious; there was something about her that made me feel on edge and she took the police case too close to home.

“Then, before he could question what was happening, he was kissing her.”

The first part of the book ended with laughter, water, fear and some confusion from me, the reader. What the fiddle sticks is going on? We hear from someone else, someone new in a flashback – one which really grabbed my attention. Who is he and what has he done to Jenna? It was frustrating not knowing but it truly did perk the narrative up in my eyes.

“Wherever you’ve gone to, I’ll find you. And then I will come for you.”

With themes of domestic violence, broken families, fear, sexual force, new friends and love – there’s nothing which this thriller doesn’t touch upon and due to the large amount of variety, it won me over. When people talk about I Let You Go – the big twist is mentioned and I’ll be honest; I wasn’t shocked, I didn’t think it was a huge twist and shock. It was very well played out with the domestic violence aspect but I didn’t find it to be a big jaw dropping turn of events. I really did enjoy how Clare wrote the dramatic ending but, and I hate this, it was what I expected to come from that storyline. If you think back to when Jenna first moved, it all clicks into place and Clare very cleverly dropped the jigsaw pieces in the right place for readers to put together.

“I smile; I am no longer afraid.”

Twitter: @claremackint0sh