What have I done? by Amanda Prowse

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What have I done? by Amanda Prowse

Buy What have I done? by Amanda Prowse at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: Ten years ago, Kathryn Brooker killed her husband Mark. Was she a cold hearted killer or a woman who could not take her abusive husband’s treatment of her any longer? Although sentenced to prison, Mark’s death is a release for Kathryn who can start to rebuild her broken personality. However, what Kathryn had not considered was the devastating impact that her actions would have on her two children, Dominic and Lydia. What have I done? is a moving and shocking story about domestic violence and its everlasting impact on all the family.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 323 Date: February 2013
Publisher: Head of Zeus
ISBN: 9781781853788

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When Kate Gavier married Mark Brooker, she was full of optimism for their marriage and their future. However, from the first day of their marriage, her dreams were shattered as she realised that Mark was nothing more than a cruel bully. He even insisted on calling her Kathryn rather than Kate which is how she prefers to be known. There followed sixteen years of torment and torture as Mark strove to control his wife and punish her for any wrongdoings – of which there were many. To the outside world though, it looked as though Mark and Kathryn had the perfect loving marriage, mainly due to Kathryn’s resolve to spare her children, Dominic and Lydia, from knowing of and witnessing their father’s cruelty. One day though, she snapped and, for the first time in her life, fought back. Hours later, Mark was dead and Kathryn was locked up in a police cell being questioned about what happened.

The reader knows that Kathryn has killed Mark from the first page but the extent of his mental and physical cruelty is uncovered throughout the book that keeps moving backwards and forwards through time. The story is harrowing in places but also uplifting as the reader follows Kate’s journey to recovery over the ten years that follow Mark’s death. Some of this time is spent in prison but then Kate has to decide what to do with the rest of her life once her sentence is completed after five years for good behaviour.

There were many themes in the novel, not least the one about domestic abuse. As a fictional novel, it makes challenging reading at times and it’s difficult not to read with a sense of disbelief that any woman could allow her husband to treat her the way that Kate allows Mark. What probably makes it more harrowing though is that, although Kate’s story is fictional, there will be many instances where similar stories are true. There is also the impact that Kate’s actions have on her teenage children. It’s obviously terrible that their mother has killed the father that they loved; what is worse though, is that everything in their past that they thought was true has turned out to be a lie. How can they find solace in their memories having learned that whilst behaving in a jovial, loving way to them, their father was actually a cruel, sadistic bully and that their mother, whilst pretending theirs was a happy, caring family, was actually trapped in a nightmare that they knew nothing about.

This is an absorbing tale of despair, courage and friendship. I wouldn’t say that it is an enjoyable book but it is compelling. It works well as it moves between the events of ten years ago and fills in the gaps up to the present. This way, pieces of information are slowly revealed to the reader and therefore keeps one wanting to read more.

Why not also take a look at Sworn Secret by Amanda Jennings?

Buy What have I done? by Amanda Prowse at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy What have I done? by Amanda Prowse at Amazon.co.uk

Buy What have I done? by Amanda Prowse at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy What have I done? by Amanda Prowse at Amazon.com.


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