What I Did by Kate Bradley

Today I am sharing my thoughts on What I Did by Kate Bradley. This is the first book I’ve read by the author but I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading more. My thanks to Jenna Petts at Zaffre for inviting me to join the tour and to the publisher for providing the advance copy for review. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Netgalley

About the Book

Lisa is running.
She has taken her child, Jack, and she has run from his father.

Lisa thinks she’s safe.
She’s found a remote house where no one will be able to find them.

Lisa is about to wake up in her worst nightmare.
And now she must face what she’s tried to escape.

Risking everything to protect her little boy, Lisa knows that in order to survive she will have to fight, but it’s hard to face someone you loved, especially someone you still love, who knows who you really are – and what you are really capable of.

Family is everything. What would you do to protect it?

My Thoughts

This book really is quite clever. It takes everything you think you know and flips it. Not just once but several times. Prepare to be challenged and prepare to be surprised. Full of tension and suspense from the start, once it get its teeth into you, it won’t want to let go.

This is the story of a family – Lisa, her husband Nick and their son Jack. Everything should be perfect – Lisa and Nick are completely in love and Jack completes their family unit. Only everything is not perfect – far from it. Their domestic life is falling apart, bit by bit, and when her friends start to notice the bruises that Lisa bears from her many little ‘accidents’ she knows that things really do need to change. Now things do come to a head in truly dramatic fashion and some readers will find what happens shocking and perhaps not want to read on, but I would urge that you do because whilst horrific, the scene acts as a catalyst for a significant shift in Lisa’s life, the reason she ends up on the run and the reason why the story starts in such dramatic and tense fashion.

It really is hard to talk about what happens in the book without giving too much away, but I don’t think it hurts the reading to say that this book is about domestic violence and what lengths people will go to in order to protect the people they love. There are a number of shocking scenes and revelations in the book that often left me reeling, but nothing is taken to a gratuitous level of played simply for shock factor. It all builds into the bigger picture, feeding. the narrative and increasing the tension page by page. The story does move between past and present and the more we learn about the past, the more urgent and heart thumping the scenes in the present become because as readers we understand the threat that is present all the more.

The author has done a really good job of creating the character of Lisa. She is nervous, a little aloof and quick to walk away from friendships, all signs that you would expect in someone who has such a difficult family life. I can’t say that I always liked her, but something about the way in which the author has developed her character made me root for her, and not just because she was a victim. There is something more about her, something that belies the woman we see on the surface, downing painkillers just to cope with making some nigh on impossible choices, and refusing to seek the real help that her family needs. You can’t help but think that had different choices been made then things may have played out better, but then it retains the authenticity of the story as families do not always do the right thing if they believe they are protecting people they love.

The story does call upon some very topical themes, exploring the subject of domestic violence from a different angle. It is a tale of family, and of unconditional love. It makes you question just how far you would go to protect someone you love and what sacrifices you would make to ensure their safety. It is certainly a story that keeps you on your toes and makes you realise that you should never make assumptions as just when I thought I had the story cracked, something happened to completely overturn all I thought I knew. Shocking? Yes. Cleverly played? Undoubtedly.

A tension filled domestic thriller, packed with shocking revelations and some really emotional moments.

About the Author

Kate Bradley worked for many years managing services for people who are marginalised by society; her work has taken her into prisons, mental health hospitals and alongside the homeless. She currently works in education. She holds a first-class degree in English Literature, in addition to qualifications in creative writing and teaching. Kate lives in a small coastal town just outside of Brighton with her husband and sons.

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