Did she or didn’t she?


Book Review:  If She Did It by Jessica Treadway

The blurb says, ‘A beautifully written and deeply suspenseful novel about what it means to suspect your child of an unthinkable crime.’ And for once, I agree.

The book is written in the first person; the narrator being Hanna who was a victim of a home invasion where she was bludgeoned by a croquet mallet. Her husband died in the same attack.

Because of Hanna’s horrific head injuries, and the obvious traumatic experience of receiving them, she has no memory of the actual attack or who committed it. Still, the prosecutors have managed to charge and convict her daughter’s boyfriend of the crime.

The books opens as he has just won the right to an appeal, meaning he may walk free if Hanna cannot finally remember what happened and take the stand.

At this point, Hanna’s life is also altered when her daughter Dawn, who has been living in another town since the original trial, suddenly calls to say she’s decided to return home to live with her mother. The timing of this decision adds to the tension, given that everyone other than Hanna (including the police and prosecutors, and friends and family including Hanna’s other daughter) believe Dawn had a hand in the crime.

I liked the scenes of Dawn moving back in/living in the house with Hanna especially. Treadway’s subtly here was just right for the tone of the book. I love how all the everyday things Dawn does have a sinister outlook. Is Dawn the innocent she claims to be and Hanna (and the reader) just imagining the threatening aspects in her actions? Or is she plotting to try to take an axe and give her mother forty whacks? I would have actually liked Treadway to have dragged this part out a little longer.

I also enjoyed the reactions of Dawn’s return presence in Hanna’s life by the various townspeople/friends/family. Again, I think I would have recommended Treadway focus on this a little more, but still, it’s a minor whine.

I finished the book very quickly because I was eager to know the truth, as in if she did it.  I was also pleasantly satisfied that there was no gimmicky shock ending (yes, I’m thinking of you, Gone Girl). The ordinary is, of course, always much creepier.

I’d definitely recommend this book, and I will be on the lookout for more Treadway’s books. Thanks Reading Room and Hachette Australia for this ARC, I really enjoyed it.

4 to 4 1/2 stars out of 5.


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