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Thriller set in Bristol and the Gower Peninsula (the “twist” is what everyone is talking about)

29th January 2016

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh, thriller set in Bristol and the Gower Peninsula.

We are late coming to the #ILetYouGo party. However, it has been worth attending! The “twist” is what everyone is talking about, and yes, I too got caught out by it and didn’t see it coming!

IMG_3277The story starts out with a hit and run accident and Jacob, a young child fresh out of school that day, is killed. He had happily been skipping along anticipating milk; biscuit; twenty minutes of television, fish fingers for tea…. a heart stopping opener.

The investigating duo of Kate and Ray arrive on the scene and as the book develops they rub along in an amicable working environment. For me, their relationship was not the strong point of the book, they are chatty, they work long hours, go to the pub, but the way their friendship pans out lacks building blocks.

Jenna’s world imploded on the day of the accident and she takes herself off to fictional Penfach on the Gower Peninsula where she tries to rebuild her life. The locals are initially supportive and she builds a small business photographing the sea and the beach, where she carefully writes messages for those who pay her to do it. It’s a small income, she has virtually nothing now and lives in a run-down cottage that probably no-one else would rent.

IMG_3425One of the strands running through this is a relationship where domestic violence and abuse begins to rear its ugly head and the author tackles this invidious dynamic with insight and credulity. Below we have Comment from a couple counsellor…

British seaside life is well depicted, the long stretches of rolling waves washing up on the sand, the grey skies brightening into Summer. I could really imagine myself walking along the beach and the oftentimes wild and barren outcrops above, with the wind whistling and a dog at my heals, very, very British.

Charlotte for the TripFiction Team


I have read this book and was caught up in the unfolding relationship where Domestic Violence began to take hold. I will only refer to the characters as male and female, because it might be all too easy to proffer a spoiler.

In one review, I read that the male partner was a “panto” character, but I disagree. Relationships, such as the one described in the book, often start where one partner is pulled in and adored, flattered, and seduced, but that all consuming care (for that is what it often feels like) morphs gradually and insidiously into control. The way the male behaves in the book and the subtle elements of control he threads into everyday life with his partner has clearly been well researched. As the female bows to his demands and gradually loses her perspective on what is going on, she remarks: “I started to feel i didn’t exist any more, that I’d become another one of his possessions”.  She is cowed, and loses her perspective on what is actually going on; he bullies and then recants and apologises; he blames her for failings that are his; he punishes and controls when she abandons him to go out with friends… She walks on eggshells; he sulks when she wants to visit her sister. Then systematically he starts to isolate her from those around. At first it is verbal and emotional abuse, but it soon ratchets up.

If this in any way feels a familiar story then there is help out there. If you are seriously concerned for you own welfare, then most police authorities have Domestic Violence and Abuse Units. And if you want to explore what might be going on for you with the help of a professional, any relationship issues where DVA features, then stop by Relate and talk to someone who is familiar with the scenario.

Tina Geary

BA, MA, Cert. Couple Therapy, Dip Psychosexual Therapy



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