Monday, May 27, 2024



Louise Manson is the newest student at Highfield Manor, Dublin’s most exclusive private school. Behind its granite walls are high-arched alcoves, an oak-lined library...and the dark secret Lou has come to expose.

Lou’s working-class status makes her the consummate outsider, until she is befriended by some of her beautiful and wealthy classmates. But after Lou attempts to bring the school’s secret to light, her time at Highfield ends with a lifeless body sprawled at her feet.

Thirty years later, Lou gets a shocking phone call. A high-profile lawyer is bringing a lawsuit against the school—and he needs Lou to testify. Lou will have to confront her past and discover, once and for all, what really happened at Highfield. Powerful and compelling, When We Were Silent is a thrilling story of exploitation, privilege, and retribution.


When We Were Silent is Fiona McPhillips debut novel and it is a winner!

I love Dark Academia, and I am always looking for the newest book in the genre to hit the shelf, so finding When We Were Silent was a thrill.

The story is told in two time periods, the past, which takes place at an elite high school in Ireland, and then also in present day. Louise, the main character, is from a normal working class type of family, she is a scholarship student at a high school that is full of privileged and rich students, both the school and the students are full of secrets, for instance, Louise's best friend Tina, who commits suicide after an incident with a teacher.

When you are reading the present timeline, Louise has a family, she is happily married, and struggles with her troubled teenage daughter. Soon Louise is called to testify in an abuse case that happened at the school and she has some hard choses to make.

McPhillips has put the dark in Dark Academia with When We Were Silent. It is dark, it digs deep into the #metoo movement, along with other difficult subjects like class struggle and mental health, but she does it with dignity and compassion.

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