When We Were Silent

When We Were Silent

A gripping and addictive feminist dark academia thriller


Brought to you by Penguin.

“I’m not here for prestige, I’m here for revenge.”

Lou Manson is an outsider when she joins the final-year class at Highfield Manor, Dublin’s most exclusive private school. Beyond the granite pillars and the wrought-iron gates is a world of wealth, privilege and potential. But Highfield is also hiding a dark secret – and Lou is here to expose it.

When Lou befriends the beautiful and talented Shauna Power, her plans are thrown into turmoil. Speaking out against the school would mean betraying Shauna, and Lou soon discovers that the Highfield elite will go to any lengths to protect their own reputation…even when the consequences are fatal.

Thirty years later, Lou is called to testify in a new lawsuit against Highfield. But telling the truth means confronting her past – and there is one story she swore she’d never tell…

For fans of GIRL A, MY DARK VANESSA and ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL, When We Were Silent is a propulsive, bold exploration of power, corruption and retribution.

'This book absolutely nails what it feels like to be young, female, powerless, and dead set on redemption' Julia Heaberlin, author of WE ARE ALL THE SAME IN THE DARK

'Taut, compelling, powerful and devastatingly relevant' Louise O'Neill, author of IDOL

©2024 Fiona McPhillips (P)2024 Penguin Audio


  • Fiona McPhillips captures the claustrophobic nuance of teenage loyalties, lies and privilege on every page. A twisting, turning dive into a web of long-buried secrets, When We Were Silent marks Fiona McPhillips as one to watch
    Jane Harper, New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author of EXILES

About the author

Fiona McPhillips

Fiona McPhillips is an Irish journalist, author, and screenwriter, and an editor at The Forge literary magazine. When We Were Silent, the runner-up for the 2021 Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger, is her first novel. Fiona lives in Dublin with her three kids, two cats, and a dog.
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