WHAT SHE DESERVES by Clare Bentley
Two years ago, Kaidence Hadaway thought she had met the man she would spend the rest of her life with. But when Mitchell Stevenson lost his job a year later and has to move in with her, she is thrust into a life of abuse.Without her parents around and with her friends gradually driven away, she takes the punishment she feels she deserves until fate brings a police officer to her door, who makes it his mission to rescue her.But just when she decided it’s time to get out, Mitchell discovers the secret she’s been hiding. Will she make it out alive? Or will she be so close only to fail?
Release Date: March 2020; 583 pages
Wow. Where to start? Probably best to start with a warning: the subject matter of domestic abuse is a hard one to tackle, and Bentley pulls no punches with her debut novel (pun NOT intended). If you trigger easily, this is likely not the book for you.
The mind is a powerful thing—a place where we can find confidence and the strength to endure, but also capable of crippling us to our core with fear, self-doubt, and loathing.
Kaidence Hadaway’s story opens mid-beating, setting the tone for what is about to be a hell of an emotional ride as Bentley takes us through the ups and downs of trying to live a double life. With little family left, and no remaining friends to lean on (thanks to the mind games of Mitchell, her abuser), Kaidence opts to hide her abuse. Until she can’t.
A chance meeting with Officer Jackson Chase, while not an immediate fix to her problems, starts to open the door to her salvation. As her live-in manipulator, I mean boyfriend, gets deeper into her head, the missed days at work add up along with her injuries and injustices, leading to the increased need for professional intervention from those in the medical field and law enforcement. Unfortunately, with the amount of humiliation, degradation, and physical attacks she has endured, only Kaidence can decide when she’s had enough. What follows is a “two steps forward, one step back” situation. With every new friend she makes and chance at life she takes comes the inevitable “step back” as Mitchell’s vitriol and anger rain down on her. Somehow, she gets back up each time, stronger than before.
The technical writing aspects of this book are a little rough in places. Slipped tenses, rapidly shifting points of views (sometimes within a single paragraph), minor punctuation issues, and some inconsistencies in the narrative along with some concepts being repeated multiple times (making me, as the reader, feel the author doesn’t trust me to “keep up”) influenced my rating.
My editorial opinions aside, Bentley delivers a story not to be missed in What She Deserves. It’s an experience that truly is raw, real, and relatable.
Bravo, Ms. Bentley.