It’s been 192 days, seven hours, and fifteen minutes since her last drink. Now Astrid is trying to turn her life around.
Having reluctantly moved back in with her mother, in a quiet seaside town away from the temptations and painful memories of her life before, Astrid is focusing on her recovery. She’s going to meetings. Confessing her misdeeds. Making amends to those she’s wronged.
But someone knows exactly what Astrid is running from. And they won’t stop until she learns that some mistakes can’t be corrected.
Some mistakes, you have to pay for…
Astrid is a recovering alcoholic who hasn’t had a drink for 192 days and counting. I found her to be such a realistic character – Kara brilliantly portrays the struggles an individual goes through in order to combat an addiction and the affect it has on that person’s friends and family. Astrid is a lonely young woman; her friends have been pushed away or got to the point of not being able to cope with Astrid’s drinking. She has moved into her mother’s house, and it’s a situation that both find difficult, with Astrid feeling as though she’s under constant surveillance. While it’s a horrible position to be in, the reader fully understands her mother’s position of trying to help Astrid, however invasive she may seem at times. Astrid faces the constant temptation of having “just one drink” – she’s used alcohol as a crutch for so long that the temptation is ever present, particularly as the events of the novel unfold. And both Astrid and the reader know that she would never stop at one if she were to give in to that urge…
In Flintstead, Astrid attends AA meetings, and while she isn’t looking to make a connection, and certainly not find a boyfriend, she meets Josh, and a tentative romance begins. I think that Kara makes the reader sympathise enough with Astrid that they want things to work out for her – it seemed to me that she’d suffered enough, although it’s clear that her past hasn’t quite finished with her yet. In forming a bond with Josh, she is left with the impossible choice of whether or not to confess to her past alcoholism. I understood her reasons for not doing so, and yet couldn’t help but think that it would count against her in the end. Particularly as, without knowing the impact, Josh thinks nothing of suggesting a drink in the local pub every now and again, adding to the idea that one small one might be ok.
As well as dealing with her recovery and the possibility of a new romance, Astrid’s past comes back to haunt her in this novel. This past isn’t immediately made clear to the reader, but it is hinted at with more details gradually revealed as the story progresses. While Astrid has tried to remain anonymous in Flintstead, it seems that someone knows who she is and what she has done. Someone who doesn’t think that Astrid should be able to move on in the way that she is trying to do. I enjoyed seeing the novel play out, although I did think that the culprit was obvious, and the big reveal didn’t come as a surprise. That said, there were some clever elements to it, and Kara adds a few twists to make you wonder who is on Astrid’s side and who is against her, but Who Did You Tell? didn’t have the same level of suspense that I found in The Rumour.