Archive for June, 2014

What have I done by Amanda Prowse


Could you destroy your family to save your children? Kathyrn Brooker seems the very picture of a fulfilled wife and mother. Anyone who peered through the downstairs window at the four figures sitting around her kitchen table would see a happy family without a care in the world. They would envy Kathyrn her perfect life. But they would be wrong. Kathryn is trapped in a nightmare. And she is about to do something to change it. Something only a truly desperate woman would do…

After reading reviews and researching this book I was very much looking forward to it as a book group read. That was until one of my group had started to read it early and thought it was terrible. Oh dear – was I in for it. However, all was not lost when it came to our meeting for we did indeed have an excellent book group discussion. Personally, I loved the book, but most of the group found it very hard to get past the fact that it was very poorly written and factually incorrect in areas. On these points I have to agree, but the actual story was what hooked me. Some books that aren’t well written aren’t a problem for me, but books with bad plots and story lines are the ones that make me sigh dramatically. I found myself asking the good old-fashioned question: what would I do in this situation? and I found myself constantly wondering just how on earth this woman survived like she did for so long.

It’s incredibly sad to know that many women (and men as well) live under the power of another. I found it quite difficult to understand just how this can happen, but as the story unfolds your eyes succumb to the gloom and you begin to realise just how easy it is to become a prisoner in your own home. Some of the group felt that this story wasn’t realistic enough to hook them in and gain their affection, but I for one was definitely hooked. OK, some of it was a bit unbelievable, but it did get us discussing the reasons why, which in turn fuelled our already heated debates.

The ending was a bit unusual and didn’t quite live up to the rest of the book, but it did what it needed to do. Some of the group felt as though the author had tried too hard with this story and it seemed to sit in-between a very emotional novel with deep meanings and eye-opening content, and an overly-written creative writing project. Some of the group felt that it should have been one or the other and the fact that it’s neither one nor the other takes away the true meaning of the story and the strong points its trying to make.

As a book group read I thought that this worked really well. There were many issues that we were able to pull from the novel and even the parts that people didn’t like were issues we could discuss and debate. So, if you’re looking for a literary novel to read then this isn’t the book for you, but if you’re after a book to challenge your views and open your eyes on what exactly goes on behind closed doors, then I recommend you give this a try.



About the group

The Tees Valley Book Group meets at Stockton Central Library at 6.30pm on the first Tuesday of the month.

If you would like more information about what the group is reading, please visit


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