Book Review: You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert

Reviewer: Kate

you knew me whenI received a copy of You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert in exchange for an honest review.


Katherine Hill left her small New England hometown in pursuit of a dream. Now, twelve years later, she’s a high-powered cosmetics executive in Manhattan and a much glossier version of her former self, unrecognizable to her family and old friends. Not that she would know—she hasn’t been home in over a decade.

Laney Marten always swore she’d never get “stuck” in Manchester, Vermont. No, she was destined to live out her glamorous big-city dreams. Instead, she wound up a young wife and mother. That was when her best friend ran out.

When Katherine receives word of an inheritance from former neighbor Luella Hancock, she reluctantly returns home to the people and places she left behind. Hoping for a second chance, she’s met by an unforgiving Laney, her former best friend. And there’s someone else who’s moved on without her—someone she once loved.

Tethered to their shared inheritance of Luella’s sprawling Victorian mansion, Katherine and Laney are forced to address their long-standing grudges. Through this, they come to understand that while life has taken them in different directions, ultimately the bonds of friendship and sisterhood still bind them together. But are some wounds too old and deep to mend?


I am a sucker for this kind of book. From the first pages you know that this story is well written, well paced, and populated with characters that you know and like. I’ve always believed the author’s job is to reflect life and help us see sense in what otherwise seems like nonsense. Emily Liebert does just that in this lovely coming of age book (yes, you can still be coming of age even into your thirties—wisdom is a work in progress). If you’ve ever had that feeling of Where did I get lost along the way? This book is for you. Liebert allows us to see exactly where the fork was in the road for these two characters and the ill-advised choices they made to get there.

You Knew Me When bounces back and forth between the teenage angst years and the thirty-something angst years of the two main characters Kitty/Katherine and Laney. Twelve years separate them from each other and from themselves. But You Knew Me When also allows for the redemption that so many of us seek, but don’t’ have the gumption to go find.

Both Laney and Kitty are ballsy women in their own right. And both are scared to death of the rejection they’ve suffered in the dozen years of isolation from each other. The unspoken questions, the silent suffering of both characters has molded them into versions of themselves that their younger selves would not recognize. Enter the meddling little old lady—there has to be one—and an opportunity for mending and healing. Luella is an interesting character, a woman who speaks profoundly and orchestrates an emotional coup from the grave. How can you resist a woman like that?

This book is a great read for these cooler, longer nights. Curl up with this one. Things aren’t always as they appear; and it is possible to go home again.


4.5 stars

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