I either have the worst luck choosing from Prime First Reads free book of the month or the books aren t that good or both The premise for WHAT YOU DID sounded interesting, the execution was not Billed as a psychological thriller WHAT YOU DID felt like neither At least I didn t waste money on it. 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 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. 5NOTE My full blog tour post can be found at You Did by Claire McGowan is the ultimate page turner that will keep you glued to the pages until the very last word It is also not going to be for the faint of heart see triggers for rape.What it s about Ali decides to put together a reunion with her friends from university after twenty years The six of them meet at Ali s home where she lives with her college boyfriend turned husband, and their two kids Cassie and Benjamin But what is supposed to be a fun reunion turns into a nightmare when Ali s best friend Karen stumbles inside from the garden saying Ali s husband Mike just sexually assaulted her Mike claims it didn t happen, but Karen is sure it did Ali doesn t know who to believe, and after things from their past start coming to light, things will never be the same again.I really, thoroughly enjoyed What You Did and I didn t want to put it down The chapters were all pretty short, and that combined with different character viewpoints really kept me guessing and speeding through it I really didn t like Mike, especially as the book goes on, but I found myself liking Ali a lot, even as she does things that are really dumb I don t know what I would do if my husband were accused of sexual assault, but I would like to think that I would still believe my best friend if she said he did it In other words, this book is really makes you think What You Did felt like it had a little bit of everything and wasn t strictly just about sexual assault even though that was definitely a main theme There is also a murder mystery aspect, and I really had no idea what was going to happen McGowan manages to make you doubt every person in the book, and completely kept me guessing I felt like there was something going on throughout the entire book which also made it a fast read for me The end managed to give me chills because it was so unexpected and that is something I love in a book.Song s the book brought to mind Criminal by ZZ Ward Final Thought I wasn t really sure what to expect from What You Did, but I am so glad I read it It looks like the reviews for this one are all over the place so I m glad I liked it as much as I did There wasn t really anything wrong with it at all, and I really enjoyed McGowan s writing style Reading this makes me want to read from her ASAP Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours and the publisher for providing me with an advance review copy of this book 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 predictabilityAs another reader stated earlier, the 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 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 First Read so in that sense was pleasantly surprised that the book kept me reading till late in the night, but 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 3 4 stars This is one of two Prime First Reads for July and it seems to have divided people I thought it was a bit like a driver who accelerates and decelerates for no apparent reason on a perfectly straight road At times the book had some pace and then it slowed down and I lost some interest The premise concerned who raped Karen on an old friends from university reunion weekend I found their conversations on the night of the incident tedious but then events on the following days piqued my interest again Although some of revelations seemed to involve musical beds and I wondered how people could be so blind to what was going on almost in front of them It s a book about deception including self deception, hypocrisy, delusion and illusion, pride and shame It showed well how the ripples of rape spread wider than the poor victim to the families of all involved and the devastating consequences for all concerned I thought the ending was good and that nearly pushed it to 4 star. 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 AgainWhen 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 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 any, 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 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 by her Well, this Kindle First book was an easy 5 Full of twists and secrets n lies, just my sort of story I was totally engrossed I ve never happened upon this author before, not quite sure why Her Paula Maguire series sounds really good as well so I ve put the first one of those into my wishlist a bit sharpish.And better still, I happened across ONE mistake, just one, the whole way throughlet this be a sharp lesson to other authors, editors or proofreaders, it can be done All one needs is some pride in their work, and if they have this then they ll find it s well worth paying someone to do these jobs correctly It matters so much to so many readers and can totally transform their reading experience of YOUR product So please think on and consider us a little All she did was use tick just the one time and not tic.bravo from me.I made notations throughout this on my Kindle on what I believed was happening and how one particular puzzle might reveal itself and I was wrong every time, of course Nothing new there What it must be to have an imagination.heheheOooh, I did notice, actually, that Cassie mentioned being old enough to do it so checked to see if the age of consent here in the UK has been dropped and it is still 16 so that was wrong.My favourite character was probably Bill, he seemed the most grounded and honest of the six of these university pals There were a few humorous remarks in this as well, I especially chuckled at Jodi s description of walking around with a bomb strapped to her as she described her pregnancy Thankfully, I ve avoided this life s pleasure myself I tittered too at the acknowledgements where the author gave a nod to HER university mates.This is one I highly recommend, sadly it was all over and done with too soon. Six college friends gather for a reunion 25 years later When one of the women stumbles inside after being raped, it puts relationships to the test and challenges who can be trusted.The characters are six so called friends Ali, Mike, Karen, Bill, Callum, and Jodi Ali and Mike are married and hosting the reunion at their home Karen is Ali s best friend, and the rape victim Bill has been living away, but is back after breaking up with his girlfriend Callum and Jodi are married and expecting their first child.Told from Ali s point of view When Karen claims Mike raped her, Ali has to make a decision to stand by her husband or her best friend As the story progresses, secrets are revealed Some secrets are newer ones, but some go back to their college days.This book was hard for me to get into, mainly because the characters were all unlikable people Some of the things that happen were hard to believe, especially where Ali was concerned Her naive behavior was difficult to read, and I would have preferred a stronger female protagonist.A domestic thriller with a lot of drama The story was interesting, but the characters left a lot to be desired.
Claire McGowan grew up in a small village in Northern Ireland After a degree in English and French from Oxford University she moved to London and worked in the charity sector THE FALL is her first novel, which is followed by a series starring forensic psychologist Paula Maguire She also writes as Eva Woods.
- Kindle Edition
- 282 pages
- What You Did
- Claire McGowan
- 12 October 2019 Claire McGowan