Thursday, May 1, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Book of You by Claire Kendal

Title: The Book of You
Author: Claire Kendal
Genre: Adult Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: April 1/2014
Acquired:  Print ARC provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

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.


I felt like I was trapped inside of an extremely small hole as I read this book. From Clarissa's first words, I felt imminent danger, and an irrepressible need to climb out for air. The tone was set, straight away, in The Book of You, and it was one of a suffocating tension, of good ol' spine chilling, shadow lurking, FEAR. This was definitely one of those books that held you precariously close to the edge, and watched you try to thrash yourself to safety.

Rafe. The cause of every spark of negative emotion within Clarissa's being. Rafe. A man she once welcomed a little too closely into her life. Rafe. Someone who has now dangerously obsessed with her. Rafe. Clarissa's stalker. That was my attempt at a suspenseful synopsis. The Book of You is written from Clarissa's perspective, alternating between journal entries addressing Rafe, and Clarissa's real time, day-to-day life. Rafe is a constant presence in Clarissa's life, whether physically, in her nightmares, or in the little "gifts" he has taken to leaving for her: letters, ballet tickets, notes, rings. With no one else to turn to for help, Clarissa begins to collect, and document, evidence of Rafe's infatuation. When she starts a 8-week jury duty position, she can't thank her lucky stars enough. Surely she's safe there, and out of his reach. Surely he can't turn the few people in her life, against her. Surely..someone is going to believe her when she finally starts speaking out...

The Book of You was appropriately named. It was completely woven through with a Rafe's presence: his voice, his body, and his disturbingly specific involvement in Clarissa's life. I fell asleep some nights, half expecting to awake, and find him standing in the dark by my bed. Claire Kendal did such a great job of creating an extremely stifling atmosphere. I was just as desperate as Clarissa to find a way to shake his grip, to alert SOMEBODY of what this man was doing to her. The characters were few in this book, but each person played such an important role, especially when it came to the manipulation, whether intentional or not, of Clarissa's state of mind.

I wouldn't rate The Book of You as a highly successful psychological thriller, but it definitely achieved what it set out to do, which was to realistically portray the VERY REAL dangers of someone with an unhealthy attachment. It's obvious that Rafe was crafted to be a step above your average stalker-his attention to detail, and calculated movements, were sometimes a little too much. But with similar situations happening just outside your door, The Book of You will seep into your brain like a poison, and have you begging for an antidote.

Recommended for fans of: Psychological Thrillers, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Haynes, S.J. Watson, The Silence of the Lambs.


Claire Kendal was born in America and educated in England, where she has spent all of her adult life. The Book of You is her first novel. It will be translated into over a dozen languages. Claire teaches English Literature and Creative Writing, and lives in the South West with her family. She is working on her next psychological thriller.

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Thank-you to Trish from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to Harper for sending me a print ARC to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour

1 comment:

  1. That was a pretty good suspenseful synopsis! Thanks for being on the tour!


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