A secret family history of love, anguish and betrayal.
After her beloved grandmother Rozenn’s death, Morane is heartbroken to learn that her sister is the sole inheritor of the family home in Cornwall—while she herself has been written out of the will. With both her business and her relationship with her sister on the rocks, Morane becomes consumed by one question: what made Rozenn turn her back on her?
When she finds an old letter linking her grandmother to Brittany under German occupation, Morane escapes on the trail of her family’s past. In the coastal village where Rozenn lived in 1941, she uncovers a web of shameful secrets that haunted Rozenn to the end of her days. Was it to protect those she loved that a desperate Rozenn made a heartbreaking decision and changed the course of all their lives forever?
Morane goes in search of the truth but the truth can be painful. Can she make her peace with the past and repair her relationship with her sister?
I received this book for free from the author via NetGalley. All comments and opinions are entirely my own, and I am writing a voluntary review.
I hope you’re ready to travel to World War II-era Europe, because this book will sweep you back through time and make you feel like you’re walking with Rozenn through the streets of German-occupied Paris and Brittany! You’ll also get a peek at life across the Channel in Great Britain, where modern-day main character Morie spends much of the first half of the book. As Rozenn’s favorite granddaughter, Morie is both shocked and hurt when the reading of Rozenn’s will reveals that she has left her house and belongings to Morie’s sister. But, when Morie discovers fragments of her grandmother’s letters from a mysterious, unnamed person, she decides to go on a solo quest to discover the secrets about Rozenn’s life in France. Armed with her small, seemingly insignificant inheritance- an old pocket watch with strange initials- and desperate to prove that she is not a pathetic loser, despite her failing business and recent breakup, Morie sets off. What will she learn in the old fishing village on the Breton coast? Grab a copy of You Let Me Go to find out!
I really wanted to love this book. The cover is gorgeous and the premise is intriguing. There were several parts I did like, for instance, there is distinct emotional maturation to be seen in both main characters throughout the book, which was satisfying as a reader. The format of switching POV’s every chapter was a cool way to meld contemporary and historical fiction. The visual descriptions of Paris, Brittany, and Cornwall painted a pretty picture of each, so now I especially want to visit Cornwall.
Eliza Graham did a great job of building tension between the Germans and the French and Breton people whose homeland was being occupied. She also showed the range of positions taken by the French and Bretons at that time, varying from joining the Resistance to betraying countrymen. And I loved that she included a mentally disabled character, showing both how difficult life can be for disabled persons AND how worthy of love, respect, and protection they are anyway! Points for diversity and inclusion.
However, I really struggled to even finish this book. The first 60% of the story is extremely slow. I am a really forgiving reader, pushing through slow starters and always giving a book a solid chance to reel me in. It is exceedingly rare for me to quit on a book, but the only reason this one didn’t land on the DNF list was because I was determined to fulfill my obligations as a reviewer. I’m glad I persevered, as the ending was nice and unexpected (I would be shocked if anyone predicted the end of this story, so it’s got that going for it!). But, honestly, I was pretty relieved to just be done with it. Again, I rarely feel that way about a book.
I think the author could have resolved this issue by cutting some redundant parts and shaving down time spent building suspense for storylines that didn’t really contribute to the big picture. For instance, for the first several chapters, Morie’s accident is referred to very vaguely and mysteriously, leading the reader to believe that it is a major plot point. But, all it does is contribute to Morie’s backstory for why she feels like a failure, which was accomplished perfectly fine with just the breakup and business troubles. Yes, the accident triggered those things, but that doesn’t mean it deserved even half of the weight it was given at the beginning of the story.
Like I said, the author wrapped things up pretty well in the end and there were some really nice aspects to parts of the story. It’s still a book worth reading, if you have the patience to trudge through the first half. But, personally, it was not my cup of tea. I rate it 3 out of 5 stars.
Content Warning: Pornography used with positive connotation; some Sexual Content (mild); Discriminatory Behavior regarding Race and Disability; Substance use (smoking tobacco).