‘We Know, You Know’ is narrated in three different voices, i.e. Marianne Smy, Helen Greenlaw (nee Morris) and Honor Smy. The story is told both in the present and the past.
Marianne is happily married and has a daughter, Honor Smy. She enjoys middle-class life. Her husband recently purchased a luxury flat. She is terrified as this flat is situated in an area where a mental asylum used to be. She clearly has a connection to it.
However, Jesse Brame cannot forget their short affair during their school years. The thing they did during these years, i.e. finding some notes in the abandoned mental health asylum, blackmailing an affluential politician, Helen Greenlaw, with them and covering for the murder that any of the three of them could commit. Jesse Brame wants to blackmail further Helen Greenlaw and tell everything to Helen Smy, not knowing that she is his daughter. Honor suffers from bipolar disorder and tried several times to take her own life.
Marianne Smy, in the first part of the novel, desperately tries to reach Helen Greenlaw to go to her daughter house and stop Jasse Brame from harassing her. Helen Greenlaw is very sceptical about the idea, and Marianne is too far to reach Honor in time.
The book is partly set in Nazareth Mental Hospital in 1958, and since this time, the hospital turned into luxury flats. In 1958, we were introduced to young Helen Morris, who is cold and possibly somewhere on the autistic spectrum. Having gotten pregnant with wealthy Robin Greenlaw, Helen tried to abort the child on her own, not wanting to burden him with her problems. She and the child survive the trial, but the authorities are involved. Her parents decided to confine her to a mental facility as the best solution. There, she received a diagnosis of a psychopath who should never hold a job.
Nevertheless, she finally utters Robin’s name. They get married and raise a child together. Helen Greenlaw gets a job in public service and is directly responsible for the decline of Nazareth Mental Hospital. Upon the death of her husband, she is elevated to the House of Lords.
In the final parts of the book, Jesse Brame doesn’t break the news to Honor. Helen Greenlaw kills Jesse Brame while driving, but she is charged only with dangerous driving and not murder. Jesse Brame’s family wanted her to be convicted of murder, and there is evidence that Marianne and Helen talked on the phone at the time. Overall, the ending is quite happy.
I am a big fan of Erin Kelly, and therefore, I strongly recommend it. Emotive writing, great characterisation and an interesting setting. Each part of a book ends with a cliffhanger.