Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Book Review: I Thought I Knew You by Penny Hancock

I Thought I Knew You
Penny Hancock

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication date: 12th March 2019
Imprint: Mantle
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Mystery
Pages: 384
RRP: $29.99
Format read: Trade paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

Jules and Holly have been best friends since university. They tell each other everything – trading revelations and confessions, and sharing both the big moments and the small details of their lives: Holly is the only person who knows about Jules' affair; Jules was there for Holly when her husband died. And their two children – just four years apart – have grown up together.

So when Jules' daughter Saffie accuses Holly's son of a terrible crime, neither woman can possibly be prepared for what this means – for their families or their friendship.
Especially as Holly refuses to believe her son is guilty.

I thought I Knew You is a thought provoking read with a he said, she said premise.

After the death of her husband Holly and her 16 year old son, Saul, move to a small country town to be closer to Holly’s best friend, Jules.

Saul is all dark hair, black clothes and sullen. He is finding it hard to cope with his father’s death 6 years ago. He is not making friends at his new High School and Jules’ 13 year old daughter, Saffie, wants nothing to do with him.

Holly had a secret she was keeping for Jules from her husband but she didn’t know Jules was also keeping a secret from her. Two friends that knew everything about each other, or thought they did. Inseparable since Uni nothing could tear their friendship apart. Until Jules’ daughter makes a serious accusation against Holly’s son.

Jules confronts Holly but Holly doesn’t believe Saul could possibly do this and Jules can’t believe that her daughter would lie.

As more people find out what has happened the situation blows out of control through gossip, conjecture and judgement. Tempers are flared, someone goes missing and people are threatened.

This book is one of those mysteries that you can’t put down. The pages fly by so quickly as the mystery ramps up and the plot thickens. The characters begin asking themselves how well do they really know their best friend, son, daughter or even their husband.

Penny Hancock has used two different narrative styles. Holly’s point of view is in first person whilst Jules’ is in third person. I felt more connected to Holly and more sympathy for her through her first person perspective.

Throughout the book my allegiances were jumping back and forward as tempers flare and accusations are flying.

Penny Hancock includes themes of consent, mother guilt, anger management, loss of a parent and not fitting in.

I Thought I Knew You is a compelling mystery that will have you glued to the book until the very last page.


Photo credit : Goodreads
Penny Hancock is the author of Tideline, a Richard & Judy bookclub pick, The Darkening Hour and A Trick of the Mind. She works as at Anglia Ruskin University, supporting students with their writing, and lives in Cambridge. She is married with three children.

 Author website  ||  Twitter  ||  Instagram


  1. Hi Veronica,

    Now this one is right up my street and although I haven't read anything by this author, I see that I have already ear-marked one of her previous books to read, on the back of a recommendation from another blogging friend.

    The ratings are at a really high average on Goodreads too, so it is definitely heading for my list!

    Thanks for an excellent review and recommendation :)


    1. This one was sitting on my shelf for so long and it was exactly what I needed, a compelling, fast read. I will be looking for more of Penny Hancock's work.