You Let Me In is a novel that I received through a My Book Moment book box earlier this year. I’d heard good things about it, and while I went in expecting a good read, I didn’t expect to become quite so caught up in the events of Elle’s life. This is a novel that I couldn’t bear to put down – I was always desperate to find out what would happen next.
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…
When she is invited to a writing retreat in France, author Elle Fielding decides to rent out her beautiful cliff top house via Airbnb. It’s a bold move, and one that she isn’t entirely comfortable with, the idea of having a stranger in her home not sitting too comfortably with her. It does bring in some much-needed cash, however, and her sister is on hand should there be any problems. Returning home, she’s delighted to find the house intact and in the same condition that she left it. And yet, something feels off. Nothing she can put her finger on, but things just don’t feel right to her anymore. Trying to dismiss it as paranoia, she tries to get into writing her next novel, having written very little despite the looming deadline.
You Let Me In is one of those novels where I wasn’t sure whether to believe the protagonist or not. She clearly feels uncomfortable having had a stranger stay in her house, but are her concerns paranoia, or is she right to be concerned? When combined with Elle’s insomnia, this question came ever more to the fore, and I thought that Clarke drew this out brilliantly. The answer reveals itself slowly as the novel progresses and as more situations occur that are just a little off. It’s creepy, and while the events taken on their own seem harmless, it’s the sum of them that sets alarm bells ringing.
As the novel progresses, the reader gets to learn more about Elle. She’s a fascinating character, and while it seems that she has a perfect life, the reader soon learns differently. The building of Elle’s clifftop house – intended as a perfect home complete with writing studio – sounds like something from Grand Designs, and it’s clear that her neighbours weren’t happy when she knocked down the old fisherman’s cottage to make room for it, partially blocking their own view. On top of this is the separation from her husband – the reason for which isn’t immediately clear – as well as an incident from her student days. As fascinating a character as she is, I did find her hard to sympathise with at times, feeling that the situations she finds herself in were of her own making. This eased somewhat as the novel progressed, however, and I came to empathise with her more.
The plotting is excellent, and if I suspected early on who was behind the events, there were plenty of red herrings thrown in to make me question my assumptions. As ever, the why proves to be as important as the who, and that aspect of the novel wasn’t clear until the denouement. It’s brilliantly done, and looking back, all of the clues were there. This is a brilliant novel by an author who is new to me, but I’ll definitely be checking out her other work, as this is one of the best domestic thrillers I’ve read of late. Highly recommended.
You Let Me In is published by Harper Collins and is available in paperback formats.