Book Review: You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke

The blurb:

Nothing has felt right since Elle rented out her house . . .

I’M IN YOUR HOUSE

There’s a new coldness. A shift in the atmosphere. The prickling feeling that someone is watching her every move from the shadows.

I’M IN YOUR HEAD

Maybe it’s all in Elle’s mind? She’s a writer – her imagination, after all, is her strength. And yet every threat seems personal. As if someone has discovered the secrets that keep her awake at night.

AND NOW I KNOW YOUR SECRET

As fear and paranoia close in, Elle’s own home becomes a prison. Someone is unlocking her past – and she’s given them the key…

Spine-tingling, chilling, and utterly compulsive, this is the thriller that EVERYONE is talking about right now


My review:

Okay, honest admission here: I very nearly didn’t read past the prologue of You Let Me In. You must understand this was not anything to do with the author or her style of writing – I’d been desperate to start the book – but simply because of the way Lucy Clarke had instantly tapped into one of my worst fears, the idea of someone being in my home ‘unsupervised,’ for want of a better expression. This has always been a dread of mine but never so much from the fear of what they might take potentially (televisions can be replaced) but more what they might do in that witching hour of being alone with your things. It’s that conscious attack on your possessions, your privacy and your personal space, as opposed to those daily unconscious invasions that happen all the time, that you yourself are guilty of, such as sitting in a coffee shop seat that is still warm from its previous occupant or perhaps having to stand bunched in together in a train carriage – the very idea of personal space goes out the window then.

But as the premise of You Let Me In is that famous author Elle Fielding has let out her fabulous Cornish home for a fortnight to total strangers, she has effectively opened herself up to this conscious attack I worry so much about. Of course you would hope that your two-week tenant guests would go no further than sharing your cutlery and towels but there would always be that feeling of ‘what if…’ Certainly on returning home Elle immediately senses that something is different, that some change has taken place and she begins a journey during which she begins to question her state of mind as more and more unsettling events occur.

As the reader you learn about her past through flashback chapters but in the present time as the story unfolds you begin to realise the wall Elle has built around herself, this barricade of perfection to hide prying eyes from the chaos and guilt whirling within. The perspective shifts from Elle in the present day to that of the exceptionally creepy and mysterious ‘Previously‘ during their stay in Elle’s home and I’m also even more pained to admit that about halfway through the book I was so convinced I had it all figured out that had I not been reading for review purposes, I may well have skipped to the end to see if I was right. But I didn’t and of course I was wrong (like, seriously wrong) and I’m so glad that I saw the story fully out to its denouement.

This has to be one of the most genuinely unsettling but beautifully written books I’ve read in a long, long while; the atmosphere was so tense, so frigid with the Cornish backdrop and its ever changing seascape adding that extra dimension.  My stomach was hollow as I read, my hackles raised in alarm, ready for the next icy shock.  Elle’s house, while beautiful in a show home kind of way ultimately would become her prison in more than a metaphorical sense; its walls (and not just those made of water from the tremendous views) closing in from all sides. I can’t say much more without giving too much away but the themes of love, jealousy, honesty, trust, loyalty and family are all explored here.

A major sub-theme of the book is how much Elle documents her ‘perfect life’ on social media and how much of herself she has potentially laid bare to anyone who might be following her. That sense that there is no such as thing as privacy anymore even if you’re inside your own home, if you’ve already let someone in via your latest status. You Let Me In is about a physical person having access to Elle’s home but it is also very much about the 50,000 odd followers she has on Facebook as well.

You could potentially argue that had the startling event in Elle’s university days been investigated more thoroughly or if perhaps she had been more open with her family about it, that may have potentially lessened some of the negative feelings that led to events later in the story. I think my only real niggle though is why did Elle continue to keep the contents of the tan leather case – did on some level she always hope its contents would be discovered? That’s a book club question right there.

In conclusion I can honestly tell you that for the past two nights since finishing You Let Me In I have dreamt about someone being in my house so my glowing review aside, on that basis alone, this story has worked its chilling magic.

5/5

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Please note – this review was previously posted by me in the past under another username/social media/blog. Cover artwork and blurb has been cut and pasted for use in this blog post review from that currently being used on Amazon.co.uk.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: