Oh lawd... this book was creepy. It was very reminiscent of Elizabeth Haynes' Into the Darkest Corner.
The Book of You - Claire Kendal
A mesmerizing tale of psychological suspense about a woman who must fight to escape an expert manipulator determined to possess her, Claire Kendal’s debut novel is a sophisticated and disturbing portrait of compulsion, control, and terror that will appeal to fans of Before I Go to Sleep, The Silent Wife, and Into the Darkest Corner.
His name is Rafe, and he is everywhere Clarissa turns. At the university where she works. Her favorite sewing shop. The train station. Outside her apartment. His messages choke her voice mail; his gifts litter her mailbox. Since that one regrettable night, his obsession with her has grown, becoming more terrifying with each passing day. And as Rafe has made clear, he will never let her go.
Clarissa’s only escape from this harrowing nightmare is inside a courtroom—where she is a juror on a trial involving a victim whose experiences eerily parallel her own. There she finds some peace and even makes new friends, including an attractive widower named Robert, whose caring attentions make her feel desired and safe. But as a disturbingly violent crime unfolds in the courtroom, Clarissa realizes that to survive she must expose Rafe herself. Conceiving a plan, she begins collecting the evidence of Rafe’s madness to use against him—a record of terror that will force her to relive every excruciating moment she desperately wants to forget. Proof that will reveal the twisted, macabre fairy tale that Rafe has spun around them . . . with an ending more horrifying than her darkest fears.
Masterfully constructed, filled with exquisite tension and a pervasive sense of menace, The Book of You explores the lines between love and compulsion, fantasy and reality, and offers a heart-stopping portrait of a woman determined to survive. Claire Kendal’s extraordinary debut will haunt readers long after it reaches its terrifying, breathtaking conclusion.
Clarissa makes a terrible choice to accept a drink from Rafe and her life will never be the same since. She is fresh out of an adulterous relationship where she tried so hard to get pregnant only to end up a failure. She has lost friends and credibility, but that leads her to a book reading where Rafe is. It all goes down hill from here. He stalks her, he terrifies her, and those around here think she's losing it. Simultaneously she is a juror on a case of a woman who was brutally raped and tortured. Both women felt they couldn't tell others because they each had unsavory things in their history which would pull their credibility into play.
I was terrified for Clarissa. Half of the book is her diary entries and it's heartbreaking. You feel the fear she feels, you feel the escalation of Rafe's aggressiveness and yet.... you can't put this book down. I was reading this before bed this past weekend and I'll tell you I had the most terrifying dreams I have had in quite awhile. The only thing I could have done without is the growing relationship with one of her jurors. It turns intimate and to me, I kept thinking this is the WORST thing ever for a person in a position such as Clarissa. Engaging in this kind of relationship seems a bit reckless, but given her state of mind- it's not surprising. I didn't love the ending, it made me not really care for Clarissa. Except given her terrible her history with men, it makes sense.
If you like a thriller, this is a good one for you.