Delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for What You Did by Claire McGowan today! My thanks to Emma Welton at Damppebbles Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!
Author : Claire McGowan
Title : What You Did
Pages : 308
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer
Publication date : August 1, 2019
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
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.
| MY THOUGHTS |
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!
What You Did will be published on August 1st.
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
Born in Northern Ireland in 1981, Claire McGowan studied in Oxford, then lived overseas in France and China. She is the author of standalone thriller The Fall, and the Paula Maguire series, including The Lost, The Dead Ground, The Silent Dead, A Savage Hunger, Blood Tide, and The Killing House. The Paula Maguire series was optioned by the BBC in 2014. A ten-part radio drama written by Claire was broadcast on Radio 4 in early 2019, and as a screenwriter she was selected as the 2017/18 Nickelodeon International Writing Fellow.
Claire set up the Crime Thriller Writing MA at City University, London, and has also taught for the Arvon Foundation, Guardian Masterclasses and at many literary festivals.
As Eva Woods, she has published four women’s fiction novels, including the bestselling How To Be Happy.