**Disclaimer: I received a free early access reader’s copy of You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this opportunity.
You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce is an adult novel that falls in sort of the mystery thriller genre. However, it has some fantasy and horror elements as well. It tells the story of Cassandra Tipp as she writes about her life before she mysteriously disappeared. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads. You Let Me In releases on April 21st.
Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
You Let Me In delivers a stunning tale from debut author Camilla Bruce, combining the sinister domestic atmosphere of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects with the otherwordly thrills of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
Cassandra Tipp is dead…or is she?
After all, the notorious recluse and eccentric bestselling novelist has always been prone to flights of fancy–everyone in town remembers the shocking events leading up to Cassie’s infamous trial (she may have been acquitted, but the insanity defense only stretches so far).
Cassandra Tipp has left behind no body–just her massive fortune, and one final manuscript.
Then again, there are enough bodies in her past–her husband Tommy Tipp, whose mysterious disembowelment has never been solved, and a few years later, the shocking murder-suicide of her father and brother.
Cassandra Tipp will tell you a story–but it will come with a terrible price. What really happened, out there in the woods–and who has Cassie been protecting all along? Read on, if you dare…
I’m not really sure, in hindsight, what drew me to this book. The cover is kind of intriguing and the blurb is definitely interesting as well. I guess it was probably the blurb that drew me in the most. I didn’t know anything about this book when I picked it up and by the time it came time to read it, I forgot what it was really about and had to check out Goodreads to remind me.
This book was a weird reading experience. I didn’t expect there to be any supernatural influence in this story so the whole faerie aspect caught me wildly offguard. Looking at the blurb again now, I should have expected it with the comparison to The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Outside of that, I was really engaged in the story and I devoured it. I needed to know what was going to happen and which version of reality was the real one. However, despite devouring it, there were lots of parts of this book that deeply unsettled me and made me uncomfortable. So if you do pick up this book, be cautious and know that it deals with themes of emotional and sexual abuse.
One thing that I really liked about this book was the writing style. It was sort of in second person in that the narrator was addressing the reader, so it was somewhat similar in writing style to You or to The Turn of the Key. In this case, Cassandra Tipp was addressing the heirs to her estate, her niece and nephew. The style really drew me in. It hinted at things and left enough to keep me guessing and therefore keep me reading. That’s really what you want in a mystery/thriller. I genuinely had no idea what to expect and theories developed as I continued through.
The premise of this story felt really unique. Despite the style being reminiscent of other stories, I don’t think I’ve ever read a story quite like this. I don’t want to spoil too much about it, because I think a lot of the charm is being surprised by what happened. However, a really strong aspect of this story was that you were never really sure what was happening with Cassandra and her family. Was she actually seeing faeries? Or was she processing her trauma in a way that that was what manifested for her? Or was it a bit of both? I think the fact that things weren’t super clear allowed the thriller aspect to really develop. It was a lot of he said, she said, and it’s unclear who you can trust. This was part of the reason I felt uncomfortable with the novel. When it’s unclear who to trust, it becomes hard to know who to hate for the horrible things they did to a little girl.
Cassandra was an empathetic character. She struggled and you can understand why she lashes out. You want her to thrive and be happy, but it always seems to elude her and it’s sad to read about. Even when she seems happy in adulthood, it doesn’t feel like a true happiness. It more seems like she just doesn’t know better.
The ending of the story leaves you hanging in a certain way. I can’t spoil it any further, but I was like holy moly when I finished reading it. It’s one of those stories that is hard to process and figure out your feelings about. However, it was hard to put down and it was definitely an engaging read.
So, if any of this sounds interesting to you, I suggest you pick this book up when it comes out on April 21st.
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