Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all well. Today I’m posting my review of Alice Feeney’s latest novel, ‘I Know Who You Are’. I really enjoyed this book and simply couldn’t put it down! Keep reading to discover my thoughts…
Aimee Sinclair: the actress everyone thinks they know but can’t remember where from. But I know exactly who you are. I know what you’ve done. And I am watching you.
When Aimee comes home and discovers her husband is missing, she doesn’t seem to know what to do or how to act. The police think she’s hiding something and they’re right, she is – but perhaps not what they thought. Aimee has a secret she’s never shared, and yet, she suspects that someone knows. As she struggles to keep her career and sanity intact, her past comes back to haunt her in ways more dangerous than she could have ever imagined.
** TRIGGER WARNING ** Explores the theme of child abduction and abuse (physical, emotional and sexual). Physical violence is explored in great detail throughout the novel, with some scenes describing the act of murder. Explores the theme of sexual abuse, including scenes of rape. Makes reference to stalking and related criminal activity. Includes references to physical illness, specifically amnesia. Explores the theme of substance abuse, specifically alcoholism.
‘I Know Who You Are’ (May 2019) is Alice Feeney’s second novel, following on from ‘Sometimes I Lie’ (2017). Feeney is a writer and journalist, and has spent many years working with BBC News. She is a Faber Academy graduate from the class of 2016. Feeney has lived in London and Sydney and has now settled in the Surrey countryside.
The book has received very positive reviews, from the likes of Daily Mail: “This story romps towards a startling and totally unexpected conclusion, which will satisfy the most experienced thriller fans” and Woman & Home: “The twist will shock you to your core”. Many fellow authors also enjoyed the novel, such as Jane Corry: “A rollercoaster of a ride”, Louise Candlish: “Clever, compulsive, crazy – you will NEVER guess the ending of this one!”and Ruth Jones: “Dark, but utterly compelling”.
‘I Know Who You Are’ tells the story of Aimee Sinclair, an actress whose husband has just gone missing. The police quickly make her their number one suspect – but it soon becomes clear that there is much more to Aimee than first meets the eye, and she is running from her abusive past. Will the police ever find out the truth?
The narrative is told from the first-person perspective of Aimee, with each chapter switching between the present (2017) and the past (1987). Relayed in a diary-like format, the reader is given an in-depth perspective to Aimee’s thoughts, feelings and emotions throughout two distinct periods of her life. The narrative is easy to follow, yet still very effective.
My favourite character in the novel is Ciara. She has an extremely negative childhood, and suffers a great deal of abuse and instability. Ciara is a young, sweet, innocent child who experiences so many hardships during her life. She’s confused and has been emotionally manipulated, and has seen things that no child should ever have to see. I felt a great deal of sympathy towards her, and just wanted to give her a hug and tell her everything would be okay! Ciara is an extremely well-written character.
Aimee Sinclair is a successful actress who is very good at her job of “pretending”. She has acted all her life, and really enjoys escaping and being somebody else for a while. When Aimee’s husband goes missing, she is confused and upset, which is heightened when the police make her their number one suspect. But it soon becomes clear that Aimee has a few skeletons lurking in the closet, and there is much more to her than first meets the eye. Aimee is a three-dimensional, complex character, and I really enjoyed discovering more about her as the book went on.
** TRIGGER WARNING ** The novel explores the theme of child abduction and abuse in great detail, touching on the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of a young child. In my opinion, the emotional abuse is the most harrowing of them all, as we discover all the ways in which a young girl is manipulated and mistreated in her new “home”. Physical violence is also explored throughout the novel, with a particularly brutal scene describing a murder as witnessed by a child. The theme of sexual abuse is also included, with scenes describing the act of rape. The novel makes reference to stalking and related criminal activity. Physical illness is also touches upon, specifically with relation to amnesia. Finally, the theme of substance abuse is explored, specifically alcoholism. As you can see, this novel addresses many difficult topics. All issues are explored with appropriate sensitivity – but if you feel that any may be triggering for you, I suggest you skip this book.
Both consecutive narratives (the past and the present) greatly increase in suspense and momentum. Ciara finds herself in some very dangerous situations, and she must learn how she is expected to behave within her new home. The case against Aimee becomes more complicated, and it soon becomes clear that she must fight to clear her name. Will we ever find out the truth?
So, let’s talk about the ending. I really enjoyed the entirety of this book … until it got to the ending. I found the ending to be SO unrealistic and unnecessary. It seems that Feeney just threw a lot of curve balls into the mix, which I didn’t think worked at all. It almost seemed like the ending was separate to the rest of the novel – it just didn’t fit whatsoever. I was left really unsatisfied and disappointed by the ending, which is such a shame considering how much I enjoyed the rest of the book.
Overall, I recommend this novel to those of you who enjoy psychological thrillers, specifically those of you who would be comfortable reading scenes describing brutal childhood abuse. I loved Ciara’s narrative and found myself drawn to her more than I did to Aimee – but I was engrossed with the present day narrative too, as there was plenty of suspense and mystery throughout. For me, the book was unfortunately let down by it’s poor ending, and it loses a star for that reason. However, you may enjoy the ending more than me, so it’s certainly worth giving this book a read!
Happy reading 🙂