Published: 3rd March 2016
Started reading: 21 July
Finished reading: 24 July
With her fiancee Marc away ahead of her 40th birthday, Sophie is sleeping alone when she is visited by a man who hands her an envelope and threatens her, saying that if she does not open it at precisely 8pm the following evening, he would harm her and her family.
Sophie immediately believes that Marc’s ex-wife Claudine is responsible and, consumed by fright and anxiety, does everything in her power to prevent the contents of the envelope from hurting as many of her family and friends as possible.
What could Sophie have possibly done to receive such threats? Does she know what really happened between Marc and Claudine? And who, underneath it all, is really pulling all the strings?
This book does not waste any time in getting started. It begins with a dramatic and suspenseful scene, which sets up a very intriguing premise that automatically caught my attention and caused it not to waver. The scene is set for what is a tense and mostly entertaining story, however it is not completely without its faults.
Let’s start with the positive stuff. The writing style is excellent – I really felt like the urgency and tension was there at all times, but what impressed me most was how Lucy Dawson almost always found the right words to capture each moment, often in a very emotive way which reflected a lot of my feelings as I read.
‘Reflective’ is actually a very good way of describing the writing. It is clear that a lot of thought went into creating this story and each individual character. Sophie is the narrator, and we experience all of her thoughts in very fine detail, almost in an analytical way.
I think the book might have worked slightly better in the third person, but Sophie is an engaging narrator all the same. She has her flaws – some of which are pretty serious – but I do think she meant very well so it was hard not to turn against her in the situation she is in.
The dialogue is very good and the supporting characters in the main are well developed and believable. I did have some issues with the pacing – the context and timeline of the book makes it understandable to an extent, but I do think some of it is a little too drawn out at times.
There are some interesting twists. Indeed, I spent most of the time after the letter was opened on tenterhooks, reading on keenly in search of the killer twist, and although one or two fairly dramatic things did happen, it never truly arrived.
It was actually quite a curious ending, as it all felt a bit low-key and left me with a sense that the story was incomplete. It was all a bit ambiguous, but overall this was very decent and enjoyable read.
A former magazine editor, Lucy Dawson published her first bestselling book in 2008, and has gone on to write four since then. She lives Devon with her husband and children, and confesses to finding writing in the third person uncomfortable.
That is interesting, because I actually think You Sent Me A Letter would have worked slightly better in the third person!
A generally good read which would have been even better but for a consistent pace and more fulfilling ending. I award You Sent Me a Letter a rating of three stars.