Review: I Know My Name by C. J. Cooke


3 stars


What would you do? If you woke up on a deserted island, with no recollection of who you are and no idea how you got there, surrounded by four strangers? Your only clue to your identity is an unspeakable yearning to have a baby back in your arms.

What would you do? If you were a devoted husband and father with a beautiful, successful wife, and one day you arrived home to find your wife gone, and your children alone in the house?

A nationwide hunt begins for Eloise Shelley. A sweep of the family home reveals that the baby cameras were bugged – someone was spying on the Shelleys.

Can we ever really know what goes on behind closed doors? Who was Eloise? Finding out might just cost her her life…


I’m really sad to be posting this review with only 3 stars but that’s just the way it is. I began this book really excited and loving it, all the way to around 60% where things started to go downhill for me. Let me explain my thoughts…

First thing to note with this novel is the passion and emotion it’s written with. There is absolutely no doubt that Cooke has a knack for writing. Writing that can simultaneously give you the shivers and produce strong parental feelings all in one go. There is nothing wrong with the way this is written, in fact, that’s my favourite thing about this novel, the beauty of the language and descriptiveness used.

Characters in this novel are good. I thought Lochlan was the most developed and well present character out of them all. Eloise’s character was interesting and I was invested in her story with the others on the island but I feel like more could have been done to make us empathise with her, both when she was scrabbling around the island with ominous strangers and when all was said and done and we find out what really happened. Maybe it’s just me but I couldn’t connect with her on a personal level.

The story in this one is interesting. Eloise, grown woman, dedicated mother and charity advocate vanishes from her home, leaving her two young children all by themselves. What ensues is a desperate search for her, by her loving but distant husband and overbearing grandparents. There are definitely some cliches in this book, but the story starts strong and remains strong all the way through and it definitely concludes itself in an interesting and different way to other similar books in the market.

My problem is that I couldn’t connect with the ending, and maybe that’s because I guessed what was going on at around 50% and it didn’t shock me. I was just waiting for the reveal to be revealed and in that time I lost my enthusiasm for the book. Not only that but the ending could have been done better. It was too rushed and time moved too quickly for the real impact of the story to hit you.

This is, of course, all personal opinion. I didn’t not enjoy it. It was different in ways and I loved the writing style, but I lost my connection to the story along the way and ultimately, the story needs to grip you from beginning to end to be really successful. In the end, my thoughts are this: good debut, shows lots of potential to be a strong, emotive storyteller, but this one just missed some sort of mark with me.

Buy it here: Amazon UK | Book Depository | Wordery

Thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.


6 Replies to “Review: I Know My Name by C. J. Cooke”

  1. Nice review! The synopsis certainly sounds interesting, but it’s a bummer you were able to solve the big mystery of it only halfway through – that always ends up being a bit of a let down!

    Liked by 1 person

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