Sunday, April 18, 2021

What You Did by Claire Mcgowan

TRIGGER WARNING: This book is about sexual assault.


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.

"But what we don't understand is that love can turn on a dime. We don't know how easy it is to flip over to a dark side, cold and dead, like a moon spinning on its axis."

My Thoughts

Guys, you can probably tell after reading the description, but this book is dark. The main character Ali is in a horrible situation where her husband is accused of sexual assault by one of her best friends. She's unsure of who to believe, and as the story continues and new information is uncovered, it becomes more and more difficult to figure out what is the truth.

There were some things that I really liked about this book and other things that I didn't really care for. But let's start with the good.

What I really enjoyed about the story is that Ali works at a women's shelter and works regularly with women who have been assaulted. Ali is educated on assault and knows how difficult it can be for women to come forward. She knows that a lot of women are assaulted by men that they already know, rather than strangers. She knows this.

And yet the second her husband is accused, she completely changes her tune and tries to think of reasons why he couldn't possibly have done it.

It felt really realistic because let's be real... if any of us were in Ali's position, I think we would begin to question everything we knew.  

But with that being said, it bugged me how Ali was in complete denial throughout a majority of the book. It seemed like there were a lot of clues that she was completely ignoring for years.

This story explores consent in multiple different ways. Through the event that happened in the garden that night. Through Ali's daughter, and her relationship with her boyfriend. Through situations that happened back when Ali and her friends were in college.

It's a complicated story.

The ending was a little baffling. There were a lot of leads in the story that led no where. I had no idea what was coming and I have a feeling even my Mom, who is excellent at solving mysteries and figuring out plots, would have no idea how this story ends.

Would I recommend this book? Probably not, but mainly because the dark subject matter made me pretty uncomfortable at times. It's nothing against the book. I just usually prefer to read lighter stories with lighter mystery to them.

3 stars.


Just to let you know, I listened to the audiobook for free through Kindle Unlimited. It's still available if you're interested in checking it out there as well. Sign up for Kindle Unlimited Here.

xo Marian

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