“What July Knew” by Emily Koch – Book Review

July Hooper is ten years old. She lives with her father, stepmother, and stepsister. Though she and her stepsister are only ten months apart in age, Sylvie is much more polished that July. She is more popular at school, and she gets along with July’s father better that July does. For July is always annoying her father and he is seldom, if ever, kind to her. Whenever she asks him any questions about her mother, she gets punished and she often goes to school with bruises that he has inflicted upon her.  She had always believed that her mother had died in a car accident when July was only two years old. However… on her tenth birthday, her teacher slips her a note which says “She didn’t die in a car accident”. She spends her summer vacation on a mission to find out more about her mother…

July Hooper was endearing in her innocence. We meet her in the pivotal summer she turns ten years old. She adores her father, Mick, and tries valiantly to please him and receive some affection from him. Mick though, is a violent man. July is often ‘taught a lesson’ when she misbehaves, or, when she asks questions about her dead mother.

This novel portrays family violence in a way that you can easily recognize that happenings such as portrayed in the book could be taking place right now, maybe even next door. The perpetrators of these violent acts are often completely different when out in public. They can be personable and charming, yet when they close the door and are in the privacy of their own homes, they can switch on a dime – and turn into monsters.

The book was more than just a story of domestic abuse though. It had more than a little element of mystery. What really happened to July’s mother? What were the circumstances that led to July’s family telling lies about her, and about her death?

The setting was written in a very sensory, and skilled way. The intense heat of the summer was almost palpable.

As the summer of 1995 progresses, we meet more of July’s family and acquaintances. We become more immersed in the mystery surrounding July’s mother. We wish fervently that July will get the outcome she deserves…

The ending was quite unexpected, yet felicitous in its authenticity. Highly recommended! July is a girl you should meet.This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Vintage/Random House UK via NetGalley.

Publication date: February 9, 2023
Publisher: Vintage/Harvill Secker/Random House UK

ISBN: 9781787301030 ASIN: ‎B09HZXD7CK – 336 pages

Emily Koch is an award-winning journalist and author of two novels, If I Die Before I Wake and Keep Him Close. Her books have been shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award, won France’s Prix du Bureau des Lecteurs Folio Policier, longlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award, and been selected as a Waterstones Thriller of the Month. Waterstones said her second novel ‘cements Koch’s place as one of the most exciting new crime writers of our day.’ She lives in Bristol, England.

Connect with Emily Koch via her WebsiteFacebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Literary fiction, NetGalley, Women's fiction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to “What July Knew” by Emily Koch – Book Review

  1. Pingback: ≫ "What July Knew" d'Emily Koch - Ressenya del llibre @HarvillSecker @EmilyKoch @PenguinUKBooks #WhatJulyKnew #BookReview

  2. Martie says:

    Sounds interesting. Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! It must be good if you’ve given it 5 stars Lynne!

    Liked by 1 person

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