Clare Mackintosh’s I Let You Go is a difficult book to review. There are revelations within the plot so integral to the success of the novel that revealing them would spoil the reader’s enjoyment. With that in mind, this review intentionally contains very few plot details.
Suffice to say, I Let You Go is the story of a tragic accident and the ramifications resulting from it. Set largely in the environs around Swansea, the novel employs multiple points-of-view in order to slowly unspool its secrets. Each of these voices provides another piece of the larger puzzle at the core of the novel.
The novel is structured in such a way as to allow the reader to stay one step ahead of the investigating team – assuming that the reader is following the correct path. Given the multiple possibilities for false paths, however, the reader has no idea which is the right one and is bound to stray from whatever course they first choose.
One last-minute twist may be considered unnecessary and because it really doesn’t change the ultimate impact of the novel, might have been better left out. That said, its inclusion is a valid authorial decision and does not taint the novel. Keep in mind that I Let You Go is not a light read. Depictions of the accident and the activities before and after it are presented in unflinching detail, so readers with sensitivities are advised to proceed with caution.
With this debut novel, Clare Mackintosh has proven herself a natural storyteller. Her ability to successfully manipulate the reader will only become more honed as her career continues and history is sure to look back at I Let You Go as the start of an incredible writing legacy.