2019 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release

New Release Book Review: I Thought I Knew You by Penny Hancock

Title: I Thought I Knew Youi thought i knew you small

Author: Penny Hancock

Published: March 12th 2019

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Pages: 384

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars

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.

For fans of He Said, She Said and Anatomy of a Scandal, Penny Hancock’s I Thought I Knew You is about secrets and lies – and whose side you take when it really matters.


Generally, I have found that an author who has caught the eye of the renowned Richard and Judy Book Club, is well worth investigating and making the commitment to read. I really enjoyed I Thought I Knew You. Fans of domestic fiction will really appreciate this one. It pits two mothers against one another, as they deal with the fallout of a serious allegation involving both their children. I Thought I Knew You is issued based, thought provoking and incredibly addictive.

Delving deep into the world of friendship, loyalty, trust and parenting, I Thought I Knew You considers the fallout of a terrible accusation. Best friends since university, Jules and Holly have shared so much over the years. From loss, to infidelity, birth and career changes, these two women have been stuck together like glue for every moment. Even their children have a sibling style relationship.When an awful accusation is aimed at Holly’s son Saul, by Jules’ daughter Saffie, the friendship these two women have is tested to its very limits. Both rally against one another and each is in denial about the fact that their child might be lying. It is a tough bind, but Penny Hancock examines the repercussions of lies, secrets and false admissions.

Penny Hancock has only just come to my attention through her novel, I Thought I Knew You. I was immediately taken aback by Hancock’s narrative and writing style, there was something incredibly addictive about the prose, it really worked to draw me in to the unfolding tale.

I Thought I Knew You is divided into two distinct character voices, this means that the chapters alternate between Jules and Holly’s point of view. I always enjoy books that are structured in this manner, and I Thought I Knew You is no exception. Dividing and swapping the points of view between the two leads allows us to delve deep into the minds of the main characters. It also charges the reader with the difficult task of trying to decide which team to settle on. I think for the majority of the book I was team Holly, but I did feel moments of sympathy for Jules. I was less enamoured by Jules and her family life, plus a few decisions Jules made didn’t sit too well with me.

As a mother, it is a little too easy to understand the predicament faced by these two female friends. I could completely understand Holly’s tunnel vision and one-sided belief that her dear son Saul could not have committed the said crime that he is accused of. I am not going to mention the crime accusation, as I do not wish to spoil this aspect of the book for any potential readers. What I do know conclusively is that I would defend my son to the moon and back, exactly as Holly did. So, Hancock is on the money with this one, her character responses are realistic, emotionally pulling and compelling.

Back to team Jules. I had a hard time liking Jules’ daughter Saffie, but I feel she was represented accurately on the pages of this novel as a typical teenager. As for Jules’ husband, I found him pretty intolerable. Hancock has managed to combine both skilled storytelling with very good characterisation. I Thought I Knew You is a definite page turner, I just had to know if the allegations that were made against Saul contained any grain of truth. I was also interested in whether or not the two women would be able to repair their broken relationship. I was satisfied by the final turn of events, with the plot twists and diversions that I had to contend with.

I Thought I Knew You is a book defined by themes of truth, lies, betrayal, love, loss, friendship, loyalty and faith. It explores the bonds of motherhood and friendship, within the one involving novel. It will strike a chord with a wide audience range, the mothers and parents out there will find this one particularly eye-opening.

I Thought I Knew You by Penny Hancock was published on 12th March 2019 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of I Thought I Knew YouPenny Hancock, visit here.

*I wish to thank Pan Macmillan for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.




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