This is the story of two sisters who are both adults with children of their own. The sisters have always had a somewhat rocky relationship. This is largely down to the fact that the eldest daughter Caroline was her mother’s obvious favourite, whilst Joanne has always been her father’s favourite. The sisters are constantly competing for the love of their parents.
JOANNE – is married to Paul, a web designer, and is the mother of two young girls, Grace and Livvie. The family have relocated from Bristol back to Jo’s hometown in order that Jo can work as the accountant for her father’s estate agency firm. When her father asked her to come back, Jo felt she couldn’t say no.
Jo has struggled her entire life with anorexia, and now that her beloved father has just passed away, her symptoms resurface. Jo is hiding a devastating secret and she is ridden with guilt.
Now, to compound matters, her husband Paul is acting distant, and she knows he is hiding something important from her. His secrets are fracturing their relationship and threatening their marriage.
Her mother and her sister are anxious that the family business be sold, whilst Joanne feels that her father would have wanted it kept under family ownership.
Their family is being threatened AND someone has been in their house while they were out…
CAROLINE – is married to Rob and is the mother of Adam, a young man in his late teens. Her husband Rob is bullying, cruel, controlling, devious, and at times sadistic. Though she presents to the world as having a perfect life, her circumstances couldn’t be further from perfect. Caroline works in the office of the family run estate agency. Her son Adam is abroad traveling – a fact that she is grateful for, as she wants him as far away from his abusive father as possible.
Caroline is hiding something from her husband under the mattress in the spare room of their house…
After reading this author’s brilliant debut last year, I was super excited to see if she could follow it up with another great read. I needn’t have worried, because “Look What You Made Me Do” was a corker!
The novel eloquently explores the idea that two people, living in the same house, sharing the same experiences, can have memories of those people and events that are completely different from each others. Almost as if they had lived different lives altogether.
The title of course refers to victim blaming. This was foremost a story about spousal abuse where the husband blames the wife for ‘making’ him abuse her both emotionally and physically. In addition, it also delves into the subjects of sibling rivalry, parental favoritism, and guilt.
The characters were fully developed and treated in an understanding and empathetic way. The scenes were vividly written evoking a tense revelation of the hidden dysfunction in an outwardly ‘perfect’ family.
This, the author’s second novel, has affirmed that I will follow her writing career avidly, reading each of her novels as fast as she can write them.
Highly, highly, recommended to all fans of domestic thrillers.
ISBN: 9781409193029 Pbk. ISBN: 9781409193043 336 pages
Nikki Smith lives near Guildford, Surrey with her family and a Burmese cat called Saffi who thinks she’s a dog.
“Look What You Made Me Do” is Nikki Smith’s second novel following her debut thriller “All In Her Head“.
Follow Nikki Smith on Twitter @Mrssmithmunday