‘The Book of You’ by Claire Kendal – A Book review

Time for some chatter about a book, and a rather good book at that – I had an inkling when I was offered the chance to review it, and I’m glad I was right.

 It’s rather hard to explain, considering how much I enjoyed this book, why it’s taken me longer than I’d have liked to write this post – Books are among my favourite things to review but there’s something about putting the post together, I struggle to get all of those thoughts that live in my head, about these fantastic books, and bring them outside of my head. Yeah, I’m sounding a bit loopy, sorry for that.

I guess, what I mean is, I love reading a book when I know I’m going to review it because it means I pay even more attention and I think about how much other people may like it, as well as how much I do. But externalising those thoughts is harder. That said, this is one of the reasons why I want to review More books, because books are a massive part of my life (how else would I have read more than 25 in less than two months) and I want to share that on here even more, because of that.

I’m digressing, again, aren’t I? Ok… Ok… Deep breath, it’s review time.

I think you’ll be able to get an inkling of what sort of book this is based, entirely, upon the quotes on the cover and on the, additional, sleeve – This isn’t a hearts and puppies, walk in the park (though there is a walk in the park, but it’s not a very nice one), sort of book. Sorry, I know, very unfair of me when it’s valentines, I should be giving you romance but I’m, clearly, a rule breaker and this is what I’ve got to offer. 

‘The Book of You’ by Claire Kendal is a dark thriller. It alternates between telling the story of the main character, Clarissa, and sharing entries from her journal, one that she’s keeping in order to document the harassment that she’s living with from a man called Rafe – A man that she works with, who she shared one night with, after her marriage broke down, a night she hardly remembers due to drink, and a night which she regrets.

From the very outset this book is fantastic – The title works so well, it’s a title that tells you so little but also says so much. And look at the cover, of course you’re driven to the shadow on her face, and the reflection in her eye, both of which are very creepy, but then you notice that her lips are chapped and, I think, that tells a little bit more.

The book is disturbing, I’m not going to mince my words with this, it’s unsettling and it makes your skin crawl. It’s not pleasant, but it’s utterly compelling. It’s not beautiful in plot but it’s beautifully written. You can loose yourself in this book without even realising it; I really did.

You can’t like this book because it’s not very nice, but you can love it because it’s an incredible read – And I’m not using that word flippantly, I thought that it was incredible.

The story? Well it follows Clarissa as she begins jury duty; something which may feel like a burden to some feels like a miracle to her as she’s assigned to a case that promises to be long which means that she can avoid work and, she hopes, avoid Rafe and his unwanted advances. Sadly her hopes are dashed rather quickly and it, soon, becomes clear that he doesn’t plan on leaving her alone at all.

As the story develops you really do feel her unease, you read his behaviours and shudder and you want to stop reading but you can’t and you don’t Really want to stop.

I’ve experienced harassment, stalking and even death threats. I’ve experienced these behaviours from more than one gentleman (I’m being kind by using that word) and in a variety of manners, None of my experiences come close to the chilling story that’s told in this book but it would have been impossible to read it without thinking about those experiences I’ve had – As such, if you’ve had harrowing experiences, and are still coming to terms with them, then maybe put this book back on the shelf until you’re in a better place.

Kendal is, clearly, a very talented author, as well as a talented writer. I use these terms separately as, more and more, I feel like these two things aren’t mutually exclusive. A lot of people have a good story, a lot of people learn how to write… not everyone has both and not everyone can use them in conjunction with each other – Kendal does. The format of the story is really well executed and her style of writing is fantastic for this genre (and I’m sure it would suit others too). The plot is, as I’ve said above, as chilling as it is compelling.

I know I’ve talked about how dark this book is, but if you’re a thriller fan then that’s what you’d be looking for. I highly recommend this book and I will, eagerly, be anticipating future works from Kendal – She shall sit among my, other, favourite thriller writers (One of which is Elizabeth Haynes whose quote is featured on the cover). Very impressed.

You can buy the book for anywhere between £2.99 and £4 (prices current to when this post was written) here from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Book-You-Claire-Kendal/dp/0007531648

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I was sent this book for my consideration for review purposes – All opinions are honest and are my own

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