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An addictive novel of psychological suspense from the award-winning author of Night Night, Sleep Tight, about three generations of women haunted by a little girl’s disappearance, and the porcelain doll that may hold the key to the truth . . .

Seven-year-old Lissie Woodham and her four-year-old sister Janey were playing with their porcelain dolls in the front yard when an adorable puppy scampered by. Eager to pet the pretty dog, Lissie chased after the pup as it ran down the street. When she returned to the yard, Janey’s precious doll was gone . . . and so was Janey.

Forty years after Janey went missing, Lis—now a mother with a college-age daughter of her own—still blames herself for what happened. Every year on the anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, their mother, Miss Sorrel, places a classified ad in the local paper with a picture of the toy Janey had with her that day—a one-of-a-kind porcelain doll—offering a generous cash reward for its return. For years, there’s been no response. But this year, the doll came home.

It is the first clue in a decades-old mystery that is about to turn into something far more sinister—endangering Lis and the lives of her mother and daughter as well. Someone knows the truth about what happened all those years ago, and is desperate to keep it hidden.

New York Times bestselling author, Hallie Ephron, discussed her latest novel, YOU’LL NEVER KNOW, with The Big Thrill:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Some questions and thoughts about what makes a family. Is it genes or shared experiences? Can it be moderated by expectations? And what happens when the ties that bind are ruptured, can they be mended?

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

It examines the aftermath of a crime (a child is kidnapped) through the lens three generations of women, and the family secrets that keep the truth hidden.

Was there anything new you discovered, or surprised you, as you wrote this book?

The pleasure of writing from different viewpoints of women of different generations whose lives have been affected by the opportunities available to them.

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

It was inspired by a friend whose mother made porcelain dolls. When my friend went to pack up her mother’s home, under the beds she found boxes and boxes and doll parts. Legs. Arms. Bodies. Eyes. That image inspired me to write this book about a doll maker; the story starts and ends with a porcelain portrait doll.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

Agatha Christie, of course, who defines the structure of a crime novel. Patricia Highsmith who showed how to write real characters who are disturbing and creepy. And PD James for the way her stories, characters, and especially settings work together.


Hallie Ephron is the New York Times bestselling author of ten crime novels and domestic suspense thrillers, including YOU’LL NEVER KNOW, DEAR (William Morrow, June 2017)). She is an Edgar, Anthony, and four-time Mary Higgins Clark award finalist. She is also author of the recently revised WRITING & SELLING YOUR MYSTERY NOVEL. For 12 years she was the crime fiction book reviewer for The Boston Globe and won the Ellen Nehr Award for Excellence in Mystery Reviewing.

To learn more about Hallie, please visit her website.