What You Didby Published 01 Aug 2019
|What You Did.pdf|
|Publisher||Thomas & Mercer|
A vicious assault. A devastating accusation. Who should she trust, her husband or her best friend?
It was supposed to be the perfect reunion: six university friends together again after twenty years. Host Ali finally has the life she always wanted, a career she can be proud of and a wonderful family with her college boyfriend, now husband. But that night her best friend makes an accusation so shocking that nothing will ever be the same again.
When Karen staggers in from the garden, bleeding and traumatised, she claims that she has been assaulted—by Ali’s husband, Mike. Ali must make a split-second decision: who should she believe? Her horrified husband, or her best friend? With Mike offering a very different version of events, Ali knows one of them is lying—but which? And why?
When the ensuing chaos forces her to re-examine the golden era the group shared at university, Ali realises there are darker memories too. Memories that have lain dormant for decades. Memories someone would kill to protect.
What You Did Reviews
At some point during this book someone tells the main character that she’s a f*cking idiot.
And they’re right.
2.5 stars for predictability
As another reader stated earlier, the Amazon first reads are not usually great books so I didn’t have high expectations for this one and in that light, I wasn’t disappointed and could actually give this 3 stars for a fast read. However, I hated so many of the characters, guessed the killer/rapist half way through and didn’t understand people motivations.
Why did Mike end up with Ali over Karen, couldn’t Karen, instead of Ali, have lied for him after Martha’s murder? Why did Karen flunk her finals and never get a degree? That wasn’t ever explained other than that she and Mike were sleeping together. Huh? He managed to graduate... And didn’t he realize Jake was his son- why didn’t he help Karen out with some money, apparently she needed it, even if it was just as a friend.. Mike and Ali apparently had enough to lend to Callum.
And what about Bill, he really couldn’t find lasting happiness because he still carried a torch for Ali 25 years later? And why did he, , when he had been so disappointed in her lying at uni to protect Mike. And based on that, why would he be so surprised, and disappointed, that she’d throw Karen under the bus and supported Mike after the rape? And hate that it is implied he’s come back to her at the end and all will be happy.
And what with the rich kids, especially the boys, always being the spoiled, amoral antagonist in books these days- it’s such a cliche, even Aaron was a schmuck. Jack, who steals a knife and stabs his father (or was he going after Cassie? That is never really explained...) is really a decent kid, because he’s poor and misunderstood.
If I read about one more person ‘tutting’ I would have screamed. And my last bitch here, couldn’t anyone have anything better to say about poor Martha other than that she was so lovely? Is that why her death was such a tragedy? Did she have any other characteristics o5er than white blond hair and a beautiful face?
As mentioned, don’t expect much from an Amazon First Read so in that sense was pleasantly surprised that the book kept me reading till late in the night, but more like a big piece of supermarket cake, low expectations that tastes good while going down but really leaves you a bit mad at yourself afterwards for once again taking the easy way and not for just splurging on a real treat...
Rape. Affairs. Domestic abuse. This novel covers a range of sensitive issues but does so in a manner that does not make the reader feel uncomfortable. Instead, McGowan creates a thrilling, pulsating read that establishes a world that is becoming increasingly claustrophobic for the protagonist, Ali.
I was immediately hooked by this book. The writer cleverly creates a non-linear narrative that means we, as readers, do not follow the chronological sequence of events on that fateful night that Ali's best friend, Karen, accuses Ali's husband, Mike, of rape. It's a nightmare for Ali and this is the catalyst of her seemingly perfect life beginning to fall apart. McGowan provides different perspectives on that night in question and this enriched the narrative as it felt like I was part of the police, and Ali's, investigations. Ali is determined to find the truth about her husband and is torn apart by loyalty to her husband and loyalty to her friend. Indeed, as the plot progresses, readers discover that there is more to this reunion of university friends on that disastrous evening; "friends" are not what they seem and there are hidden secrets, including one pivotal moment back from university. Accordingly, McGowan treats readers to not only the mystery of Karen's attack, but also the events leading up the murder of a student at university, during the Summer Ball - the night that Ali and all of her friends attended.
Providing so many angles and different ideas thoroughly added to my enjoyment of this narrative. Whilst there are many sensitive topics at play here running through the story, McGowan's treatment of them is careful and does not make uncomfortable reading. The moral dilemma that Ali faces with regards to supporting her husband or friend over the accusations is particularly interesting because Ali works with victims of attacks with the police force. With the threat of career implications, Ali suddenly finds herself in a situation not too dissimilar to her clients. It also reminded me of the #MeToo campaign and the power of women's voices; not being afraid to stand up and be counted.
Throughout the story, I really felt Ali's world closing in on her. The confusing emotions that she experiences are passed on to the reader and I felt like I also shared her panic and claustrophobia. As the fallout continues from Karen's accusations, Ali's family is also impacted in areas that she did not consider. McGowan carefully adds ambiguities to the narrative to keep the reader guessing and for me, I was definitely hooked right until the ending.
Finishing the novel was exciting and surprising. I was not expecting the contents of the Epilogue and this reflects the plot in its entirety. The twists and turns added to the mystery that we are all trying to find answers to, and the further questions about the Summer Ball, also meant that I was constantly trying to read further into the motives of different characters.
This was an excellent read and thoroughly enjoyable. Pacey and intriguing, McGowan does not prolong the narrative. For me, it did not finish too suddenly but instead, the plot reaches its natural conclusion. A fantastic piece of writing that was brilliant from start to finish.
Thanks Amazon Prime for this free book but I dislike everyone in it and it is sending me straight back to the refuge of some old favorites.
DNF @ 40% because it is equal parts boring, loaded with characters I just can't connect with, and somehow self-righteous.
It's hard to say exactly what it is but I just feel done.
Hoo, boy! Talk about a book you can’t put down!
Six university friends meet up for a reunion after twenty years. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before in another book review but it bears repeating : reunions are bad! Nothing ever goes the way you think it will. We’re not just talking about people changing, having nothing in common anymore, petty jealousies and the like. Oh no, this reunion right here is a total disaster!
It all starts when Karen staggers in from the garden, traumatised and bleeding, saying she’s been raped. Bad enough. But Karen claims her attacker is none other than her best friend Ali’s husband, Mike. Who should Karen believe? Her best friend who’s always been there for her? Or her husband who’s given her more than she ever could have imagined?
I rather quickly came up with a theory but I was left to second-guess myself at every turn throughout the story. It didn’t help that I didn’t particularly liked Karen and was unsure whether I could trust her version of events. That seemed rather apt though, considering Ali’s standpoint. She works for a Women’s Refuge, has experience in the field of domestic abuse and dealing with rape victims and yet, it was fascinating to see her doubts, to see her almost go against everything she stands for because things are just so different when they involve people you know and love.
To get a feel for the dynamics in these friendships, we are also taken back to the nineties, when the six friends were at university. But there are darker memories, things that suddenly look rather different now and an accumulation of bad decisions that may just come back to haunt Ali and her friends.
Full of secrets, lies and deceit, my loyalties kept shifting. It’s just impossible to determine which one of these friends can be trusted. From the very first page, What You Did is extremely addictive and utterly compelling. Claire McGowan has delivered a truly clever plot and a fantastic page turner. This is definitely one to read in one glorious sitting, if you can! And just when you think it’s all over, there’s a delightful little sting in its tail. This is often such a tricky genre but I think Claire McGowan nailed it. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I can’t wait to read more by her!