Book Review: “What You Did” by Claire McGowan

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.

Another name for What You Did could have been “a cautionary tale.”

We’ve all made questionable decisions or done things we’re not proud of, and sometimes those poor choices come back to bite us.

Because if you ever find yourself in a situation where your best friend is accusing your husband of rape, you can safely assume you took a very wrong turn somewhere in your life.

What You Did is the first book I’ve read by Clarie McGowan and overall I thought it was pretty good. As one reviewer said, it was probably less a psychological thriller and more a psychological mystery as the book was really about uncovering the truth as to what happened in that backyard.

The writing was good, the characters were well developed, and if you like mysteries, I thought it was spot on.

Probably my biggest criticism was Claire McGowan telling us multiple times in the beginning how things were about to get worse. It was fine the first time. I thought the set up in the first chapter set the mood. But then she kept going back to it, which to me felt a little lazy. Didn’t she think the story and plot were compelling enough by then? Was she that worried we were going to stop reading?

Other than that, I did enjoy What You Did and would give it 4 stars.

An alternative title for What You Did by Claire McGowan could be a cautionary tale. My full review here. Click To Tweet

Here’s the link where you can download your copy.

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