Saturday 17 January 2015

Review ~ The Book of You by Claire Kendal.

Title: The Book of You.
Author: Claire Kendal.
Publisher: Harper.
Genre: Psychological Thriller.
Publication Date: January 1, 2015.
Source: Bought.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won’t leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there.

Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can’t be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand.

Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them – and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagined.

The Book of You was an intense and unnerving read – with a startlingly realistic portrayal of stalking and the horrific impact it can have on somebody’s life. I was drawn in right away, as we see Rafe’s menacing approach to his colleague Clarissa. Claire Kendal throws us in at the deep end with a novel that messes with your mind from page one right to the very end. Rafe made my skin crawl. He was bloody creepy and his actions were quite subtle and clever and frankly a little scary. Thanks to the author’s stunning representation of Rafe’s character, reading The Book of You at night had me hearing every single noise and looking over my shoulder a bit. He was so controlling and manipulative and the ease at which he could discover Clarissa’s whereabouts and little things about her was so unsettling. His repeated use of her name had me cringing and I just felt so sorry for her, having to live such a sheltered life, turning into the victim she never wanted to be.

The novel is told in two formats – the third person which tells of the present day, and in the ‘Book of You’, which is a diary style format where Clarissa is building up details of Rafe’s stalking and intimidation. I loved the format of this book. Though it did take a little getting used to, it was so interesting to hear from Clarissa’s perspective and see her thought process and the way she took everything in. Her narration was fast and really focused in on Rafe’s every movement and action, or the ones she knew about anyway. I thought this really built up the suspense whilst showing how tortured a character Clarissa had become. Clarissa was a flawed character. She wasn’t perfect, she didn’t live a mistake free life and she of course didn’t naturally know how to deal with the twisted creature that was stalking her. The way she responds to the stalking is to be discovered as you read it and I think will have received a mixed reaction, but personally I thought she was brave and nobody would deserve to be treat the way Rafe treats her.

Clarissa is desperate to escape her workplace, so she doesn’t voluntarily have to spend any time with Rafe. When she’s made a juror for a particularly long court case, she thinks her luck is in but as we see the case develop, it all feels a little too close to home for her. It was so fascinating and pretty uncomfortable to see how the case was linking in with Clarissa’s own experiences and how she could connect with the character involved in the case and gain more knowledge of the kind of actions Rafe could take, how trusting of her people may be and the ultimate manipulation which could take place. The Book of You was really such a gripping read and it had me on the edge of my seat, wincing at times as the breathtaking story unfolded. I expected the novel to have that one massive moment which shocked me, or for things to be explained a little more. Though that wasn’t really the case, in a way it made the whole story feel a lot more real and hauntingly quite easy to believe. A sign of a good book for me is one which has me emotionally invested and The Book of You did that perfectly. I was hooked on this story, always in anticipation of the next move and equally disturbed when it happened. The Book of You was everything a good psychological thriller should be.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK


  1. Made me cringe with the thought :(

  2. I'm really loving psychological thrillers lately and am looking forward to reading this even more now after your amazing review!

    1. Oh I love a good psychological thriller too! Thank you :) Really hope you like it!


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