What Have I Done? – Amanda Prowse

This is where we stretch our definition of Frothy slightly- I’ve included it because it’s a quick easy read, gripping, and cheap- but the subject nature is not frothy at all! Kathryn Brooker appears to lead a blessed life; wife of the charming and popular headmaster of a prestigious private boys school, two well-behaved teenage children, and not having to work other than maintaining their beautiful home. So why does she calmly stab him in the stomach and leave him to die, and why is she so relieved to be in jail? This happens at the very beginning of the book, so I don’t think I’ve spoiled the plot there. Over the next ten years we see chapters of her life from serving time, to her release, to finding her path, becoming the Kate she used to be, and trying to reconnect with her traumatised children.

Kooks for your Kindle?– You can probably already tell this book isn’t the type to have wacky side-kicks, but her best friend Natasha is a breath of fresh air within the serious subject matter. Fellow former ex-con Janeece makes a good contrast too, and there are a few other sensitively drawn characters, but the focus is on Kate. Her children are brought to life vividly, by someone who clearly knows teenagers. Her husband Mark has to be read about to be believed, especially how someone could be so charming and likable to his children, friends, and the outside world while being such a monster to his wife. I suspect he might be a psychopath, certainly by the end of the book you’ll be extremely understanding of Kate’s actions.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– A tricky one here, for twenty years Kate was the very definition of self-sacrificing, and I didn’t fully understand why. From a practical point of view, if she left him and involved the police, she surely would have kept her children. But from a psychological point of view her husband had manipulated and broken her to such a point that leaving was unthinkable. I’m not sure how the children didn’t hear anything for all those years. Her sister put it best when, as young women, she accused Kate of being like a character in a Famous Five novel- her life at the private school did nothing to expose her to the real world. Her joy at the relative liberty of jail was thought provoking, and her continued appreciation of freedom didn’t abate long after she was released.

Painting a picture for your paperback?– We dip into Kate’s life at various points, from snippets of her life under Mark’s control, to becoming a valuable member of prison society, to an amazing discovery in the Caribbean, and finding her calling back in the UK. All of which were evocatively described, especially the colourful Saint Lucia. I was surprised someone could get out of jail and immediately leave the country, maybe she wasn’t under parole conditions.

Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s hard to read stories about someone who’s downtrodden for any period of time, but fortunately we immediately know there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Kate’s journey to regain the lost pieces of herself is fitting and poignant. It was very well written, apart from a couple of odd point of view changes towards the end (within the same passage), and Kate’s changing mental states were all effectively conveyed. The conclusion was just right, overall well worth a read for something quick and darker than your average frothy read.

Frothy Ranking: 3.5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Currently Amazon have it for £1.59, althought it was a even cheaper not long ago, click the price for the latest.

US: Amazon for $7.28

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