‘That was always the one thing Highfield valued more than grades or celebrity alumni: silence.' 

When We Were Silent credit Ruth Marie Murphy

When We Were Silent credit Ruth Marie Murphy

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, forcing her to choose between protecting the life she has so carefully reconstructed and taking down a corrupt institution, once and for all.

In this gripping dual narrative thriller, Fiona McPhillips, an exciting new Irish voice, explores power dynamics and privilege and asks if redemption is possible in the face of an elite school that has never been held accountable for its culture of silence, corruption and abuse.  

When We Were Silent by Fiona McPhillips is published by Bantam (£16.99).

The Author

Image of Fiona McPhillips credit Ruth Maria Murphy
Fiona Mc Phillips credit Ruth Maria Murphy

Fiona McPhillips is an Irish journalist, author and screenwriter. In 2019, she started an MA in Creative Writing at Dublin City University, graduating with first class honours. Since then, her prose has been published in The Manchester ReviewBarrenHobart and elsewhere and her poetry has appeared in AtriumHeadstuff and The Galway Review. She was awarded a 2021 literature bursary by the Arts Council of Ireland. Her debut novel, When We Were Silent, was runner-up for the 2021 Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger.

Fiona lives in Dublin. You can keep in touch at www.fionamcphillips.com and on X  on Instagram