I Thought I Knew You by Penny Hancock

Holly and Jules have been friends since university and have shared every important moment of each other’s lives. And they know all each other’s weak spots and secrets too. When Jules 13 year old daughter Saffie accuses Holly’s 16 year old son of raping her, their lives and the lives of their families will be torn apart forever. Who do you believe, the person you’ve trusted the most or your own child?

This situation is complicated by Holly being an outspoken advocate for rape victims who runs consent workshops at the university she lectures at. Also, Saul her son goes missing, and Jules husband Rowan has anger management issues. There’s plenty of complications in this story.

I think books like this work well when they have a smooth and fast plot. You want to know what happens next, and I think this is something that Hancock does well. She doesn’t rush over things at all, but she also doesn’t bog down the story with moralising or speechifying. It’s an interesting exploration of the issues, and a neatly plotted thriller as you question who is lying.

The way this book shows us different sides of the story, from Jules and Holly, is really well worked. At the start, Holly sees the issues of these types of cases as very black and white. Women should report it. It’s never the woman’s fault. These things are true, but she struggles to apply them to her own life or to know what to do when the situation applies to her own son. I also like that both Jules has the idea that they can somehow handle it between them, as friends, which makes sense for her character but is also very naive.

It’s worth noting that even though there is a rape in the story, it’s not gratuitous or violent, though is is very sad. I know reading about sexual violence can be very triggering for some.

This is a good thriller read. It explores some interesting ideas and has plenty of drama and tension. Would any mother believe their son was a sexual predator? What would you do in Jules or Holly’s situation?

Read It If: a good thriller of the mainstream style. Entertaining and not overly violent.

Thank you PGC Books for the review copy of this book. All thoughts here are my own honest opinions. I Thought I Knew You is out now.

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