Category Archives: What You Never Knew

Review: What You Never Knew by Jessica Hamilton

Title: What You Never Knew by Jessica Hamilton
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Told in alternating points of view between the living and the dead, Jessica Hamilton’s debut novel will be perfect for fans of The Lovely Bones.

Idyllic Avril lsland, owned by the Bennett family, where their hundred-year-old cottage sat nestled in acres of forest. Forty-year-old June Bennett believed that the island had been sold after the summer of her father’s disappearance when she was only twelve years old. It’s months after the shocking death of her older sister May in a fatal car accident, that June finds out that the cottage was never sold. Avril Island is still owned by the Bennett family and now it’s hers.

Still reeling from the grief of losing her sister, June travels back to Avril lsland in search of answers. As she digs, she learns that the townspeople believe her father may in fact have been murdered rather than having abandoned his family in the dead of night, as she was led to believe by her mother. And that’s when she begins to notice strange things happening on the island–missing family possessions showing up, doors locking on their own, unexplained noises in the night, shadowy figures disappearing into the woods. It takes June no time at all to realize that her childhood summers at Avril Island were not at all what they had seemed to be.


What You Never Knew by Jessica Hamilton is an atmospheric mystery.

Forty-year-old June Bennett is divorced with fourteen-year-old twin daughters. Within the space of a year, she endures two tragic losses. But it is the death of her older sister May that hits her the hardest. Deeply grieving her loss, June is shocked to learn her mother lied when she told them she  sold the family vacation home. She decides to go to Avril Island where she discovers unexpected details about her parents, April and Simon. She also reconnects with old friend, Ezra Keen, whose family’s past is deeply intertwined with her family. Upon her arrival, June learns stunning information about her dad, who left them thirty years ago. Will June uncover the truth about her father’s disappearance?

June and May have always been extremely close and her sister’s death hits her hard. Their childhood was dysfunctional before their father left and their mother is never easy to deal with.  June’s arrival on Avril Island brings many surprises including the discovery someone has cared for the house and grounds over the years. She is also a bit nostalgic as she revisits her memories of their summers on the island. It is not until she discovers May’s photos that June begins to view their past through a very different lens. She also wants to know what happened to her father, but is June prepared for the truth?

June and Ezra played together as children, but their paths diverge as they enter their teen years. Ezra is still very laidback and easygoing, and they enjoy catching up on each other’s lives. June is surprisingly honest with him about herself and they enjoy romantic evenings together.

June does not always cope well with distressing news and she relies on wine to blur the edges. She also feels very close to May during her explorations and win the house. As she edges closer to finding out what happened thirty years ago, she begins to worry she might be putting her trust in the wrong people. How far will she go to get answers to her questions?

What You Never Knew is an engrossing debut. The storyline is engaging and fast-paced. The isolated setting is a little spooky and on occasion, rather eerie. June begins to understand herself better as she tries to learn why her dad vanished years’ earlier. Ezra is a charming man who is very loyal to his loved ones. With a dramatic plot twist, Jessica Hamilton brings this clever mystery to a shocking conclusion.  I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this fantastic mystery.

Comments Off on Review: What You Never Knew by Jessica Hamilton

Filed under Contemporary, Crooked Lane Books, Jessica Hamilton, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, What You Never Knew