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  • Writer's pictureMandy McHugh

After All I've Done, Mina Hardy: A Review

This is one of those books that caught my eye solely based on the cover. Delicate and ominous, I requested it after the synopsis held my attention.

Recovering from a car accident that broke both her collarbones and left her with an acute amnesia of what happened, Diana is trying to piece together the events that led her to be in the car that night. Harriet, her mother-in-law, is lonely and desperate to help, and while she can't remember everything, she knows she was on the brink of divorcing her husband after she discovered his affair with her best friend Val. However, the more she remembers about that night, the more she realizes that nothing about her life is as it seems. Digging deeper proves dangerous, and Diana doesn't know who to trust or where to turn for help. What she knows more than anything is that something isn't right, and finding the truth is difficult when the people you rely on lie to you.

Told in alternating perspectives, After All I've Done is an interesting take from page one, not so much the amnesia story line, but the dynamics in the established relationships. Diana and Val's friendship is both toxic yet dependable. The blunt "my marriage is over" attitude that carries through Diana's parts is almost jarring in its candor. Val, too, is conflicted because she loves her friend but is pissed at the way things unraveled and is convinced Diana is faking her amnesia so her husband won't leave her. Harriet is...well, Harriet is every invasive mother-in-law on 100.

Overall, though, I didn't love this book. I liked some of the intrigue, Diana trying to piece back her memories and her troubling relationship with her deceased adoptive mother. The honesty, too, I appreciated. The characters wanted to make adult decisions without drama, but in spite of their very best efforts, drama was everywhere. I didn't care for the amnesia story line and found all but the final climactic moment predictable. And the conclusion, itself, I am torn about. On the one hand, rarely have I seen events turn in such a way. On the other hand, I wasn't invested in any of the characters enough to root for or against them. Diana and Val felt too similar at times, not withstanding their upbringing, but their dialogue and mannerisms were also similar. Cole and Jonathan also had similar notes, even with their separate residents. The most outstanding was Harriet, and I found her actions to be believable in their martyrdom, but also abrupt and erratic.

After All I've Done is a quick, easy read with one giant twist, but if you're looking for likable characters or a deep plot, this might not be the book for you. Thank you to Crooked Land and NetGalley for providing en eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.


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