Book Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go
by Clare Mackintosh

Publication date: November 9th 2014
Publisher: Sphere (first published November 6th 2014)
Pages: 371

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?

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 . . .

Source: Goodreads


I picked this up in the library after enjoying Clare Mackintosh’s “I See You“, a gripping story about a woman travelling on the underground. “I Let You Go” is an older book by this author and I thought that it would be the perfect thriller for my week’s commute. Sadly I don’t think these two books could be less alike in my eyes.

“I Let You Go” has a strong start. Five year old Jacob is killed in a hit and run and a team of detectives are trying to find the person responsible. Days, weeks and months pass and it seems like this case will never be solved.

A few chapters in the story’s protagonist, Jenna Gray, packs up and leaves her home to escape the memories of this terrible event. We follow her to the Welsh countryside where she finds herself living in a creaky old cottage, taking pictures on a sandy beach and dating the local vet. Everything is so fine and dandy that you could easily forget you were reading a thriller.

After a while, the pace in these chapters became slow and I’m sorry to say that I started to lose interest in where the story was going. Then, at the half way point there is a twist. Labelled as “Part Two”,  this sudden change didn’t sit well with me. I thought it was ridiculous at first and honestly felt like giving up on the book altogether but something made me want to see how this story was going to end so I stuck with it.

It wasn’t just the plot that I fell out of love with. The characters weren’t all that great for me either. I found them to be unforgettable and a little under-developed and after a while I realised I wasn’t really a big fan of any of them, including the leading lady, Jenna.

The story is told from a few points of view, including that of the detectives working on Jacob’s case. These chapters were the least interesting for me and their presence in the story didn’t feel very necessary. It couldn’t really understand why we needed to know about Ray’s marital problems, or the fact his son was struggling at school and I’m pretty sure we didn’t need to know about the toppings his wife served up with his chilli one evening. For such a minor supporting character, I couldn’t really understand what his personal life had to do with anything (?)

Overall rating: “I Let You Go” seemed a promising read when I picked it up but unfortunately this wasn’t for me. While it started well I started to lose interest somewhere in the middle and didn’t care for any of the characters or what happened to them. I like thrillers to grip me throughout and keep me on my toes, but this one sadly couldn’t, therefore it’s 2 stars from me.

See my other reviews of books by Clare Mackintosh here:

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