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What You Did

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  53,449 ratings  ·  2,626 reviews
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 mak

Hardcover, 284 pages
Published August 1st 2019 by Thomas & Mercer
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Tracy Fleming-Swehla No, this book is awful. The characterization of the supposed protagonist is so badly done that I came off hating her. The book discusses a rape happen…moreNo, this book is awful. The characterization of the supposed protagonist is so badly done that I came off hating her. The book discusses a rape happening and there are some descriptions of the rape but I didn't find it to be triggering. However, this is such a terribly written book and there are so many better book club selections that I'd move on past this one.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  53,449 ratings  ·  2,626 reviews

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Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
At some point during this book someone tells the main character that she’s a f*cking idiot.

And they’re right.
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
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.
Nilufer Ozmekik
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-my-read-list
2.5 no no and again noooo, I did my best to be open minded, empathize with the characters, dealing with tremendous issues like delusions, rape, lies, but they are acting like idiots, especially the heroine might have taken out of the rest of her brain cells and hanged it to the coat rack before getting involved in this book as a protagonist of this story! Come on girl, wake up, okay if you don’t, I’m going to sleep, zzzzzz Stars…

Yay! I earned my unpopular reviewer position again! Feel free to t
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
I either have the worst luck choosing from Amazon 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.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
“But what we don’t understand is that love can turn on a dime. We don’t know how easy it is to feel it flip over to a dark side, cold and dead, like the moon spinning on its axis.”
― Claire McGowan, What You Did

Sigh. I am sorry. I hate giving two stars. And for a book I loved in the beginning.

This will teach me..Dita did not like it and I should go with Dita's recommendations since she has not steered me wrong yet.

So really I have nobody to blame but my little ole self.

So..this book has a GREAT
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 / 5

NOTE: My full blog tour post can be found at https://abookwormwithwine.wordpress.c...

What 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
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ali and her husband Mike are having an anniversary party with their old university friends. They are celebrating knowing them for 25 years, staying up late drinking and reminiscing about the past. They are awoken by Karen who is Ali’s best friend crying that she was raped by Mike.

Ali is stuck between a rock and a hard place as she wants to believe her husband is innocent but why would her friend lie?

The story goes back to when all the friends met at Oxford University, leading up to the ball whe
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 - 4 stars.

This is one of two Amazon 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 p
Amy Riddell
On page 144 of What You Did, Ali, our main character, the point of view which we are forced to follow and care about, has an epiphany. “If I wanted to keep my home, for my children’s sake, I had to get Mike’s case dropped, and fast.” Here we have a woman who allegedly works at a women’s shelter, advocating specifically for rape survivors, gearing herself up to present her best friend as a promiscuous liar so that the rape charge she has laid against Ali’s husband will be dropped. Why? So that he ...more
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
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
I've had a pretty cruddy run of books lately...and, unfortunately, after reading this, it is very clear my luck hasn't changed.

What You Did covers the lives of 6 college grads coming together for a 25 year weekend reunion. Also in my early 40s, stories like this appeal to me a great deal. These characters are my peers, so to speak. Unfortunately, all six (and their children) were intensely unlikable assholes. Worse, our main protagonist, Ali, might very well be the most ignorant main charac
Michael Macleod
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: female-writers
The main character is unfathomably stupid and there's hardly a single likeable character in the whole book.

If that's your thing then go wild, I guess.
Fred Shaw
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You and your husband host a party in your home for your best college buddies some 25 years after graduation. No one could have prepared you for what comes next, or what is revealed.

Three couples, actually 2 married couples and 2 singles, consume massive of quantities of wine with dinner. A few pass out, others stopped drinking and went to bed. Then a scream pierces the night, and your best friend comes in the house from the backyard, bloodied and hysterical, accusing your husband of rape. Your
Lynda Kelly
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
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 through......let this be a sharp lesson to other authors, editors or proofreaders, it can be done. All one need
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 bl
Frank Phillips
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really impressed with this thriller! Found myself not wanting to put it down and torn between what I thought what's going to happen oh, who done it, what I wanted to happen, etc. Can honestly say our protagonist, Ali, was definitely one of the dumbest I've read, and couldn't agree more when she was called something along the lines of a 'silly cow,' buy another character towards the end. Lots of triggers with rape and consent issues here, so it may not be for everyone. No complaints, can't give a ...more
Aug 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Imagine that you’re a prominent advocate for abused women, working closely of victims of sexual assault. Your best friend of decades staggers into your house, bloody and bruised with marks around her neck. She says she was raped. What would you do? Apparently, if you are the author of this novel, the answer is that you would obviously use every intimate thing you know about your friend and every systemic prejudice that works against victims to methodically destroy your closest friend. This is th ...more
Donna Backshall
I see some people loved What You Did, but for me it was only a 3 star read.

Mostly I didn't enjoy the chaos of being inside our main character's head, as hit after hit pounded down on Ali's oddly uptight life: accusations of rape, confessions of adultery, financial issues, a murder attempt, a suicide attempt, terminations of life-long friendships.

Perhaps I wasn't all that patient or sympathetic with Ali's string of troubles was because she wasn't a very likable character? Maybe all people are th
I am a big fan of Clare McGowan's Paula McGuire series. It is a police procedural set in McGowan's native Northern Ireland. I read this free Kindle edition because I'm a fan. But unlike her Paula McGuire series, this book lacked well developed characters. Overall, there was nothing to like or admire about any of them with maybe the exception of Bill (Bilwar). It is a thriller that centers on a group of Oxford graduates, 25 years since they met.

To call these people friends is a stretch. The story
ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook


I really enjoyed What You Did. The book gave a fairly accurate representation of the horrors and difficulties of dealing with the aftermath of rape, both for the individual survivor, the accused and the family as well. The novel gives a voice to the voiceless. It also makes it easier to understand how and why these perverts can manipulate entire families and societies into believing they're good people. These life lessons are so relevant.

There wasn't anything that I really disliked
Linda Strong

A college reunion doesn't go exactly as planned. One attendee staggers into the host's house, bleeding, clothes torn, with an accusation that she was assaulted .... by the host's husband.

Who is lying? Who is telling the truth? Why would this woman accuse her husband for no reason at all? Who does she trust ...her husband.. or her best friend?

All this chaos brings the past to the forefront. There are darker memories too. Memories that have lain dormant for decades. Memories someone would kill to
Tracy Fleming-Swehla
Aug 17, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tracy Fenton
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ali lives a charmed life with a stunning new house, wealthy husband, two children and a career she's proud of as Chair of a women's refuge and advocate for domestic abuse and rape victims.  When she arranges a reunion for her university friends to spend the weekend she didn't expect her entire life to be turned upside down and her world to be shattered, but that is exactly what happens when her best friend Karen staggers into the kitchen, bruised and bleeding and accusing Ali's husband of rape.

Jul 09, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of my Amazon First Reads picks for the month of July.

Amazon First Reads are always hit and miss for me. Some have been pretty good. Others? Not so much. This one fell into the latter category. No matter what I did, I could not get into it. The writing was terrible, the dialogue was bad and I disliked every single character almost instantly. Not a likeable one in the bunch. I picked it because I thought it sounded interesting after reading the synopsis and I do like psychological thr
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is WOW. It's a fast paced, full of twists thriller. It had plenty of twists to keep the story intriguing - just enough to keep me guessing but keeping the story simple.

Sometimes there are books that are a simple, easy read but are amazing. This is one of those books. Every part of the book was relevant. It didn't start talking about things that weren't needed. It had the events of the party, the event of 1996 and everything that happened since the party. It was so easy to read and keep
Joanne Robertson
Ooooo I REALLY loved this one! I’d been looking forward to it so much as well that it is such a relief to be able to say just how much I did enjoy it! Although maybe “enjoy” is too light and fluffy a word to use as this psychological thriller has a very dark, violent storyline that some may struggle to cope with due to its theme of rape. So I think Claire McGowan did an excellent job of keeping her plot tightly woven and her readers committed to discovering the truth about the night Ali’s world ...more
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An emotionally intense suspense read that tangles with #MeToo, modern feminist catch-22s, and Keeping Up with the Jones'. I can see plenty of readers really loathing aspects of this book, but I appreciated the issues it tackled and how it did so. The main character, Ali, is imperfect, flawed in just the way most of us are. She has deeply held convictions that are great in theory but are challenged in the worst possible way when her best friend accuses her husband of violently raping her. Long bu ...more
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
I didn’t care for this psychological thriller. First off, there is nothing new or unique in this story. More importantly, the author does a poor job of developing her characters. She really only develops one or two of them so when the big reveal happens, I didn’t care and wasn’t even surprised.
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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.

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