BOOK CLUB: I Thought I Knew You

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Author: Penny Hancock
ISBN: 9781509867868
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: 12 March 2019
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

I Thought I Knew You is a new release by Penny Hancock, an author who is new to me.


This is a book that intrigued me when it came across my desk and I thought it would be a fantastic fit for book club. The premise makes it sound like quite a tense and engaging read, and I look forward to finding the time to read it. In the meantime I look forward to hearing what our members thought.

I Thought I Knew You explores the friendship of Jules and Holly, best of friends since university. They tell each other everything, have shared the highs and lows of life and have been there for support through the hardest days.

Jules and Holly each have a child, born just three years apart the two have grown up together.

No-one is prepared for the fallout when Jules’s daughter Saffie makes a serious allegation against Holly’s son Saul. The allegation impacts everyone and everything in their lives, how does a friendship survive an allegation that has a profound effect on one child when perpetrated by the other?

The situation is made worse when Holly refuses to believe her son could be guilty.

I Thought I Know You is a tale of secrets, lies and where you find your loyalties lay when it comes down to the hard stuff. A tale of friendship that survives it all and seems unbreakable, until it comes face to face with a choice between a friendship and your child. I really want to read how this one plays out.

Penny Hancock can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and her website.

I Thought I Knew You is published by Pan Macmillan and is available now where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan 25 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading I Thought I Knew You so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below

I can’t wait to hear what our readers thought.

22 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: I Thought I Knew You

  1. I Thought I Knew You is an intriguing read that looks at the effects of a serious allegation made between two children on a close friendship, as well as other relationships. I enjoyed this book quite a lot, although at times I did feel like slapping a few of the main characters!!

    This book was easy to read & I struggled to put it down.

    Thanks Beauty & Lace and Pan McMillan for this read!

  2. Two days was all it took me to read ‘I thought I knew you’ by Penny Hancock and it would have been less if I didn’t have to go to work right at the good bit!

    What a story! I started reading late one afternoon and got pulled in straight away. Without giving anything away, something happened and I formed an opinion. Then a bit later on I formed another opinion, similar to the first, but I knew ‘for sure’ what was going to happen. Well, I can tell you that I was wrong. Not completely wrong, but wrong enough to be taken by surprise by the ending.

    This is such a well written story with characters that could be you or me or anyone we know. Sides are going to be taken and how will you choose? My only gripe was that I wished there was a ‘year later’ or ‘5 years later’ or that sort of thing because how do you get over something like that? Thank you Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read this amazing book >:o)

  3. I thought I knew you.

    Reading the synopsis of this story I immediately found it intriguing and I am grateful to Pan Macmillan and Beaty and Lace book club for the opportunity to read it in exchange for an honest review.

    I thought I knew you is the story of two long-time friends, Holly and Jules, and an accusation that turns their lives upside down and threatens to break the bonds of their friendship irreparably. Jules was there when Holly gave birth to her son, Saul, and when Jules’s daughter Saffie was born 3 years later the two grew up together almost like siblings. Jules and Holly are ‘odd-mothers’ (the non-religious versions of godparents) to each other’s children, and act as mentors and confidants to them. But when your best friends child makes a horrific accusation against your own, who do you believe?

    Holly is a university lecturer who is an activist on campus for women’s rights, and is particularly passionate about advocating for and educating women and men about sexual assault and what constitutes consent. When Saul is accused of rape, it makes her start to question her work, her parenting and even eventually her sons innocence. Holly is well aware of the fact that only a very small percentage of reported rapes turn out to be false allegations, but how can she believe that her son is a monster? Given Holly’s work, Jules feels betrayed by the fact that her best friend doesn’t believe her daughter, even going to far as to blame Saffie for what happened. I think Holly’s job added an additional layer of complexity to the conundrum in which these families found themselves.

    I thought I knew you is written alternating chapter by chapter between Jules and Holly, in order to tell each of their stories, however the chapters of Holly are written from the first person perspective, whereas Holly’s are third person limited perspective. So you do get more of a sense that this is Holly’s book, not Jules’s. For this reason I think I pretty quickly decided that Holly would be the one vindicated in the end, but not before there were some devastating consequences. The book became a bit of a ‘whodunit’ or, more so, a ‘why’, because I couldn’t imagine such an accusation would be made lightly, even by a thoughtless teenager. There were enough small hints to figure it out before the final reveal, but it left me guessing long enough to keep the book interesting.

    I really enjoyed this book, and discussing the topic of the book with friends and family led to some interesting conversations around ‘what would you do?’ I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes to be kept guessing until the end, and enjoys a good easy read.

  4. Thankyou Beautyandlace and panmacmillan for the opportunity to review such an excellent book. ‘I thought I Knew You’ by Penny Hancock was truly a book I couldn’t put down!
    Holly and Jules are very close friends their friendship going back to their university days.
    Holly having been widowed when her son Saul was 10 years old (now 16years), is now married to Pete who has two young daughters.
    Jules is married to Rowan with a 13 year old daughter, Saffie.
    Saul is a bit of a loner, not popular at school and just doesn’t fit in.
    When Saul was 14, 4 years after her first husband’s death Holly moved to the same village out of London where Jules was living.
    Their strong friendship becomes severely tested owing to an incident between Saul and Saffie. Saffie and Saul have been childhood friends up until now as Saffie together with her school friends think Saul is very strange and don’t like him.

    There are secrets and there are lies in this great book, it’s very interesting, a little sad and certainly food for thought.
    I am now looking forward to reading Penny Hancock’s earlier books I’m sure they won’t disappoint.

  5. Firstly, thank you for this introduction to a wonderfully talented author.

    I loved reading this book, I don’t want to give away anything, but I have to say the book was easy and simple to read.
    It is written in two different views, and it’s a unique view of things that have happened. Either way, it’s easy to follow what happens and how people feel and see the events.

    I was very tempted to stay up all night with this book to know what happened next, but unfortunately I had to get up early, so I had to wait in suspense!

    This book also had some moments which pull at the heartstrings and really tell you about how life is. I loved this insight that the author has, well done!

    I did feel that towards the latter middle and end of the book, was a let down, but that’s only my personal opinion. I can’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil the story!

    I’m looking forward to reading more from Penny Hancock, because her words captivate the reader with the honest aspects of life.

  6. I received this book from Pan Macmillan and Beauty and Lace book club with no knowledge of the storyline, nor the author. I jumped right in to the unknown and it fulfilled every expectation.
    The main characters were all introduced in Chapter 1 concisely, but with enough depth to engage with each and every one. Penny Hancock’s writing style is so easy to read, and the sequence of events flowed really well.
    The story is about two girlfriends who have been close since their younger years and maintain a strong friendship through marriages and children. One even moves from her home city to the countryside to be closer to her friend and her family. It was easy to relate to most of the story’s characters, more so because I have a son the same age as the main male child character. I was super empathetic to his experiences, and his mother’s relationship with him as it changed during his moving from childhood to adolescence.
    The middle section of the book was a little slow and became repetitive in style and content. The style also swapped between first person of one of the main female characters, and then to the third person for the other, in alternate chapters with their respective names as the chapter titles. I was so enthralled by the story at the start, that it wasn’t until Chapter 13 that I even noticed this writing technique.
    I was in a doctor’s surgery waiting room while reading just past midway of the book and had to stop for fear of weeping publicly. The last half of the story really got to me for reasons mentioned above.
    This is the quickest I have read a book in a long time, and I sped through the last few chapters desperately seeking confirmation of an ending that I wanted and hoped for the family.

  7. Thank you to Pan Macmillan and Beauty and Lace for this book. I would have to say this is probably one of the best books I have read in the last 6 months. The storyline delves into the relationship between two best friends, Holly and Jules, who went to college together, who now have families of their own. They are so close that when Holly is widowed she picks up her son Saul and moves to the same town as Jules and makes a new life for herself. But it isn’t all rosy, her son doesn’t fit in. And the problems multiply when accusations are made against her son.

    This book started off with a good grounding in the characters. It is written from the point of view of the two women and centres around some very strong issues. it is quite thought-provoking. It raises many questions and there are twists and turns in the book and this will make you question your own response to the situations that arise.

    I easily felt for the characters in the story and whilst the middle of the book was a bit slow, I still found it captivating and desperately wanted to finish it. I couldn’t put the book down and read half of it in one night! It’s a deep and insightful look into issues for today. I am definitely looking for other books written by Penny Hancock.

  8. “I Thought I Knew You” is a relationship drama, with some elements of the thriller genre to give the novel momentum. As the title suggests, it explores the extent to which we know other people, or even ourselves, especially in times of crisis. It’s a tautly written novel with strong characterisation, and will both entertain readers and give them something to think about.

    After Holly’s first husband died, she moved out of London to a small village, in part to be closer to her friend Jules. They met in university, know all of each other’s secrets, and know each other inside and out. Their children, only three years apart, are almost siblings. Things aren’t perfect for either woman, but they’re good.

    Then Jules’ daughter, Saffie makes a serious allegation about Saul (Holly’s son), and things fall apart with a speed and completeness that shocks both Holly and Jules. The allegation and the way Jules and Holly react to it exposes fissures in their friendship, and in their relationships with their husbands, children, and other members of the community.

    How well do Holly and Jules know each other? How well do they know themselves? Their children? Their husbands? Their workmates? The people they call friends?

    Most readers will not be terribly surprised at the way the allegation plays out. It’s telegraphed pretty early on, although Hancock introduces a juicy red herring that will mislead many about the details. This element of the novel is well handled, with tension well maintained, so that readers will care about working out who’s telling the truth.

    But a large part of the novel considers that question of how well we know anything, and whether there’s more than one truth about a situation. The novel alternates between Jules’ and Holly’s viewpoints, letting us consider both perspectives in some depth. Both are sympathetic and well drawn characters, and it’s hard to choose one over the other.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It’s really thoughtful, and a novel that engages your emotions without manipulating them. It’s realistic, and challenging, and a really good read. Highly recommended.

  9. I Thought I Knew You by Penny Hancock is a very moving book which will fill you with many emotions in regards to friendship, love, loss, accusations and remorse.
    Jules and Holly had been best friends since university. Their close friendship continued through adulthood, with their children being born 3 years apart. When Holly`s husband Archie dies, Jules encourages Holly and Saul to move closer to herself, her husband and daughter Saffie.

    Saul 16 had always found it hard at school being bullied and ostracised by his classmates while Saffie 13 was growing up fast and was more concerned about her appearance and popularity. As parents they had always been the other mother for their children but everything changes when allegations fracture their friendship when Saffie accuses Saul of rape and says she is pregnant.

    The story tells how four individual lives are turned upside down. Jules and Holly’s friendship is pushed to the limit as they struggle and try and make sense of the accusation. Who do you believe? Who can you trust?

    Even though I’m not a mother it is a very thought provoking book and it makes you wonder what you would do if you were put in this position and how could a friendship mend after such heartache was caused.

    A fantastic book which I highly recommended. Thank you B&L and Pan Macmillan

  10. I Thought I Knew You was an easy book to read and was very well written. It flowed well and made me fly through the chapters easily so I was able to finish it in one sitting.

    I liked how each chapter alternated between the point of view of Holly and Jules. Seeing the story from both sides of the fence was very satisfying. .

    I agree with another reviewer that a ‘year later’ would have been great for the ending as I feel I didn’t get enough closure with the ending.
    Thanks for the opportunity to read this book beauty and lace ❤️

  11. “I Thought I Knew You” is a story of friendship, love, betrayal and forgiveness.
    I thought I Knew You is a story of 2 close friends. When allegations are made by one’s child against the other’s does their friendship and their other relationships survive… does everyone survive! Consequences are devastating or are they.. is this the purge everyone needed to grow up and get on with life or does it destroy them?
    When ‘it’ hits the fan, who will believe you, stand by you, stand up for you and protect you. Do you really know the people your closest to.
    The main characters took a black and white view of life which annoyed me a little because life and people are very grey. Nobody is perfect. Do the characters understand this in the end?
    I found the book a little slow to start. When txt type was included I nearly threw it to the wall. But then as the story unfolded I was compelled to keep reading to find out the truth and the lies. The underlying theme of this book was well apparent and repeated again and again. Too much I think.
    I enjoyed this book. I give this book 8.5 / 10. Good Read.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace Book Club , HarperCollins and to Penny Hancock for the opportunity to enjoy this book.

  12. I THOUGHT I KNEW YOU – PENNY HANCOCK

    This was a difficult read, not because of the writing (which I found to be great) but because of the subject matter.

    Holly and Jules have been lifelong friends. When Holly’s husband dies, Jules convinces her to move out of London and join her and buy a house in the small village in which she lives. The story unfolds when Jule’s daughter accuses Holly’s son of raping her. With the ensuing rumour mill of a small town, and the idea of someone being innocent before being proved guilty, it makes it difficult to know who’s side to be on, or even know if you need to choose sides.

    Who do you believe in a case like this? Is it an automatic response to believe that no one would lie bout being raped? This novel brought up a lot of questions and it really would be a perfect study for a bookclub.

  13. Whoa!

    Great read. So many interesting themes arise in this book – friendship, romantic intimacy, parenting, feminism, masculinity, truth – and that’s just the start of it! But it’s not just a read with a point to make – it’s entertaining, too! The characters intrigued me, and the story line is very real. I loved watching the friendship between Holly and Jules and the fractures it endured. I highly recommended this book. It gripped me!

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Pan MacMillan!

  14. What a great novel to make you think! A intriguing story which hooks you early with well written characters in an incredibly difficult situation.

    Two best friends who share everything and think they know everything about each other are forced to reevaluate when the daughter of one friend makes a serious allegation about the other.

    Who do you believe your own child or your best friend?

    Parts of the story were like watching a train wreck. The situation, close relationships and lives fell apart so quickly once those seeds of doubt were sown.

    I found it an uncomfortable read at times as I have a daughter around the same age and would hate to imagine her in a similar situation.

    I would highly recommend this book. It will be one you will be thinking and talking about for awhile.

  15. What a great book! Once I started I couldn’t put it down. The story is written so well that you can imagine the characters and everything that happens. Just when you think you know what is going on and what is going to happen…nope…it doesn’t and you just keep wanting to read on to see where it takes you. And it’s not where you think it was going to take you.
    I can honestly say I would read more of Penny Hancocks books.
    Highly recommended. Thanks Beauty and Lace,

  16. I Thought I Knew You is the latest, contemporary release from British author, Penny Hancock. This is my first novel by Hancock and I was hooked from the very beginning with its atmospheric setting in Fen Ditton. The reader follows the lives of two protagonists, Jules and Holly, in the U.K village. Both women were unique individuals who told their stories in alternating chapters. To avoid any unnecessary confusion, Jules’s voice was heard in the third person and Holly, in the first. Through these two characters, Hancock explores the relevant themes of motherhood, family, friendship and ultimately, women’s rights.

    Like all women, Jules wears many hats. She is constantly doing the best she can for the those she holds dear in her life. One hat Jules wears is mother. Her daughter is thirteen year old Saffie, who is still naive and innocent while being desperate to grow up. Jules love for her child is evident when I first met her and I admired her for putting Saffie first and foremost. Jules other hat is wife and her husband, and Saffie’s father, is Rowan. Whenever Rowan was present, I felt an underlying sense of unease and danger that grew over time. Their marriage certainly had its problems that Hancock gradually reveals. Jules’s best friend is Holly.

    Holly’s life has taken a different course to her closest friend. Holly had been a widow for many years after the death of her husband, Archie. Her son, Saul, was a young child when his father died and is now sixteen years old. Two years ago, Holly found love with another man, Pete. From the very beginning, Holly’s love for her child is obvious and the need to protect him is strong as he is encounters difficulties growing up. While Saul and Saffie shared their childhood, they are like chalk and cheese; while she is outgoing and popular, he is introverted and unpopular.

    With Saul and Saffie leading very different lives, they both deal with problems their own way. When Saffie experieces a horrific situation that many women, young and old, enounter, she deals with it in the only way she knows how. Hancock highlights that thirteen year old girls are still just children who are unable to navigate an adult world. The fall out and consequences are far reaching for both women and families. Both women believe their child, fracturing their once strong friendship and demonstrating that nothing is fiercer then a mothers love.

    I Thought I Knew You is the next read for fans of The Rumour and Big Little Lies.

    Thankyou to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this book.

  17. I could not put this book down, the story is so engaging and thought-provoking – who would you side with when things go wrong, your child or your best friend? Penny Hancock’s portrayal of how quickly relationships can unravel seemed unsettlingly realistic. I felt sympathy for both the main characters from whose perspective the story is told, and became really engaged with the story – my attention was held right until the end.

    I highly recommend this book – thank you to Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan for the opportunity to read it.

  18. Absolutely loved this book: “I Thought I Knew You” by Penny Hancock. I read it until I was bleary eyed in the wee hours of the morning
    Holly and Jules have been friends for many years, but what happens in their lives changes everything in a few short minutes
    I. Kept second guessing which way the story was going and admit that I was nearly always wrong. So many emotions, so many twists and turns,and humanity at its raw best
    Many thanks to Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan for the chance to review such a page turner. I will certainly for searching out Penny Hancock’s earlier books

  19. I really enjoyed this one and raced through it to find out the conclusion. Two best friends and their families are pushed apart by a terrible event. This is told in their various view points and it was a hard one to read….the author threw in quiet a few hints and twists as to what way this story could end up…a great family/domestic drama

  20. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan for the opportunity to review I thought I knew you.
    I found that I couldn’t put it down from the start.
    The story follows two families who are very close but torn apart by one terrible accusation.
    The book was read from different characters perspectives which made it a little hard but all in all a great book.

  21. This is the first novel I have read by this author,

    Loved this book, It explored the relationship between 2 women & their children. How their lives are torn apart when Saffie makes an accussation against Saul. Who to believe?
    It was well written from the point of view by both women.

    Would recommend this novel, thank you

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