Book review: You Sent Me a Letter by Lucy Dawson

Thursday, May 19, 2016 Permalink

I loved the premise of this book: a threatening figure appearing in one’s bedroom and leaving instructions to read a sealed letter in front of family and friends.

The agony of wondering what it might say and turmoil as you ponder what secrets might be revealed. I mean… what’s not to like?!

And though I kept turning the pages, I have to admit the plot fell down in a number of places for me.

Book review: You Sent Me a Letter by Lucy DawsonYou Sent Me a Letter
by Lucy Dawson
Published by Atlantic Books
on March 3rd 2016
Source: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 1782396225
Pages: 263

At 2 a.m. on the morning of her 40th birthday, Sophie wakes to find an intruder in her bedroom. The intruder hands Sophie a letter and issues a threat: open the letter at her party that evening, in front of family and friends, at exactly 8 p.m., or those she loves will be in grave danger.

What can the letter possibly contain?

This will be no ordinary party; Sophie is not the only person keeping a secret about the evening ahead. When the clock strikes eight, the course of several people's lives will be altered forever.

I liked Sophie. She wasn’t an unreliable narrator but I found her to be extraordinarily frustrating.

The threatening intruder gave her very specific instructions when leaving the letter. But I would have locked myself away in a bathroom and steamed the damned thing open if it was me. In that respect, her behaviour didn’t seem very realistic.

I also found the comedy of errors and her half-hearted plan in the lead up to the party a little bizarre. It didn’t entirely make sense.

Meanwhile Sophie’s pretty certain who’s responsible for the letter and the information it holds, but feels helpless to do anything about it.

The twists and turns introduced by Dawson were interesting and I was intrigued. But ultimately, also, confused.

I did guess the ‘who’ early on, but then thought I was wrong and Dawson did a good job of keeping us questioning our assumptions.

I also found myself perplexed as to the good vs the bad guys. But perhaps that was Dawson’s message – we aren’t necessarily one or the other, but capable of both. And I guess that’s true.

So… I enjoyed elements of this book, and for the most part was eager to understand the who, what and why. But… as I thought about it later the plot holes and improbability of parts of the novel grew.

And I still had questions despite knowing the who and why.

That’s not to say I’m not keen to read more by Dawson as I liked the complexity she offered we readers. I think it just needed to be a little tighter.

You Sent Me a Letter by Lucy Dawson was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin (Murdoch Books) and is now available.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

  • Jo
    May 19, 2016

    Interesting. I’d read her 1st 3 books & found them ummm disquietening in a think I know which direction this is heading but don’t want to look away way.

    • Debbish
      May 19, 2016

      This is very much the same Jo and I liked that about it. I hadn’t heard of Dawson before this!

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