September 29, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

My Many Thanks To Camilla Bruce For Writing You Let Me In, Which Explodes With The Seductive Dangers Of The Fae

You Let Me In is a daring debut by Camilla Bruce that forces readers to take in a multitude of factors in and draw their own conclusions about the supernatural and traumatic family influence over one person's life. One thing you don't need to figure out? Because you already know? YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE FAE. - Releases 4/21 via Tor Books

You Let Me In By Camilla Bruce

Check out my interview with Camilla Bruce- and her latest, In the Garden of Spite


Although most know by now that I don’t give spoilers without a lot of warning, due to the structure and how the content is rolled out, I want to say upfront that nothing I speak of in this review will be spoilery. What I talk about is stated up front, in the blurb of the book and/or overall/general arc of the story. There are many specifics throughout the story that change much of the context. Telling you my opinion doesn’t matter (as you will see down below) or that it is Fae-related (you know that by Chapter 1) is not spoiling anything. Promise!

Do I need to say it in another language? I have been saying it since I read The Cruel Prince. Ok. Maybe not that long because I didn’t know when I read The Cruel Prince. That was my first introduction. Shortly after The Cruel Prince I knew, and I have been saying it ever since. YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE FAE. Yet, I don’t think people listen. And it isn’t like you have to listen to me. I’m pretty sure 90% of those that visit this site read a fair amount of fee-filled fantasy novels themselves. Yet, I constantly see the Fae referenced as magical, cute, and fun little beings… and oh wouldn’t it be fun to just go fly with them … no JUST STOP. They aren’t taking you to Neverland. The Fae would no sooner cross the street to spit on you if you were on fire.

Colin Jost

To be brutally honest? The Fae would no sooner cross the street to spit on themselves if they were on fire, nor let anyone else spit on them to put out the fire. Unless, of course, they tricked you into doing it as a favor to them and thereby you owed them for saving their lives. This would give them the opportunity to play mischief on your mess at their endless amusement. At which point, yes, they would let you spit to put out the fire that was killing them. YOU SEE WHAT THEY DID THEIR?

Believe It Or Not

Camilla Bruce’s debut novel You Let Me In is a disturbing force told from the perspective of the main character, Cassandra’s point of view, through a manuscript left behind for the would-be inheritors of her estate. Having presumably died, though very possibly having just disappeared, the eccentric famed romance writer has left one final tale to tell. In order for her niece and nephew to walk away with the fortunes she has left behind, they must take on the burden of hearing Cassie’s entire truth. That is, if you believe it is the truth.

This is the story as I recall it, and yours now too, to guard or treasure as you please. I wanted someone to know, you see. To know my truth, now that I am gone. How everything and none of it happened.

Bruce’s greatest strength is one essential for the general premise of You Let Me In to take hold. Oddly, it is one many books tend to suffer from. Bruce forces readers to make a crucial choice. It isn’t a choice readers wait until the end of the story to make. Throughout the story Cassie directly, as the author of the manuscript poses many complex dynamics that faced everyone involved to her niece and nephew (the readers), knowing full well that they could think better or worst of her, for it. A further dimension is given to these dynamics through the dialogue and actions of other pivotal characters that revolve around Cassy and the story, as she weaves it through her lens.

You Let Me In Review
Thank You to Tor books And Edelweiss for an ARC in exchange for an honest review

It is a close thing. To give just enough details to keep readers hooked, thinking and able to form their own opinions while leaving just. enough gaps to let their imagination roam and think for themselves. To let them draw their own conclusions without feeling “jipped” or unfulfilled is incredibly tricky. In books where that is the entire hook of the book, it often flails. To make that the whole hook of the book, in your debut? Is either insanely brave or insane? I’m not sure which but Bruce nails it.

Out Of The Mouth Of Babes

One thing you must know: I was never a good girl… Some of us are just born wrong.

I should say that there is a bias in this review. It should be obvious from the beginning. I believe Cassie’s story, without a doubt. You have two choices. Either you believe those that say Cassie suffered from mental illness her entire life or you believe that she saw what others could not. That, from a very young age, the Fae came to her and were a part of her life. First, with one – the Pepper-Man and then many throughout her life.

How that plays out throughout her life and those around her, including, as the blurb states, the many bizarre occurrences, deaths and times she took off without telling anyone? Now that would be spoiling a lot of things. Not to mention, other adults that came into and out of her life, of which I won’t speak of here but do play a large part in how Cassie tells her story in this last manuscript, and has an influence in how her story is presented, but how many perceived her, and her family.

Those are the two converging paths that make You Let Me In such a unique story to read. You have all these unique, well placed and maniacal twisty suspense, horror and thriller moments. But then you have true psychological dilemmas playing out in the context of family trauma. I was really forced to continuously put the two together and reevaluate my beliefs. There was no way to consider one side without the other and have a complete picture.

Yours, Mine And The Truth

The last key to unlock the door are the many points of view. While, yes, this is all being filtered through Cassie’s lens, there are many points of view to consider when it comes to both the supernatural and human side of each coin mentioned above. And, in actuality, while I can’t discuss it in great detail, there is one other firsthand point of view provided that lends another lens to the story.

However, again what you believe of it and the filter it might have of it, itself? That remains up to the reader. Again, either way? Bruce has laid out an intricate plot, characters and a multifaceted story that would allow an incredible discussion for book clubs to decipher for hours! Without feeling like they were left hanging, this story will stay with you for a while as you reconsider your own theories and look for clues that you might have missed previously.


Anyhow, there was this show on some channel I’d never heard of- Channel Zero? And then I think it might have moved to SyFy, called The Dream Door. My mother had me watch a couple episodes when I saw her in Utah a couple of years ago. It was odd? Terrifying? Really funny, even? Bizzare? It had this character called Pretzel Jack.

Jill (main character) created this character as a drawing that came to life as a kid and he protected her. Then he came back to life when she was adult. I don’t know what happened because after a couple of episodes I looked at my mother like– WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU LADY. Because. Just. No. The clown thought he was funny after he killed people (see clip below). Like … I don’t know. Anyway- the only point is that there was something about the Pepper-Man that made me think of Pretzel Jack…

Except and this is key: Pepper-Man is ten times the character that Pretzel- Jack EVER was. I just want to make that part clear. And while I only watched a couple episodes? I have to say I have no doubt You Let Me In blows away The Dream Door.



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