The Judas Tree by Amanda Jennings

Childhood betrayal casts a long shadow…

From the author of The Haven and The Cliff House, this is a devastating thriller set in a Cornish boarding school.

‘A gripping page-turner’ Tammy Cohen, author of The Wedding Party

At a bleak boys’ boarding school in Cornwall in the eighties when bullying is rife, Will and his best friend, Luke, are involved in a horrific incident that results in Luke leaving.

Twenty-five years later their paths cross again and memories of a painful childhood come flooding back to haunt them both.

Will’s wife, Harmony, is struggling after a miscarriage that has hit her hard, and wishes Will would open up about what happened. But as Will withdraws further, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic stranger from her husband’s past, Luke, and soon all three are caught in a tangled web of guilt and desire . . .

From Amanda Jennings, author of The Cliff House, comes a haunting thriller about betrayal and revenge.

I’m a really big Amanda Jennings fan and I absolutely adore everything she writes! She always makes me run a gauntlet of emotions with her beautifully written novels so I was really looking forward to reading The Judas Tree which I had previously read under its original title of The Judas Scar back in 2014…or so I thought!! I have it marked as “read” over on Goodreads but it became apparent to me after just a few pages that I had NEVER read this book before! On one hand I’m furious with myself for missing out on a book I thought I had already read but being Miss Positive (as always!) I was just so glad that I finally had a chance to read one of the best books I’ve read this year! Yes, The Judas Tree will definitely be appearing in my Best Books of 2022 list-I adored every single page of this heartbreaking and tragic story.

At the heart of The Judas Tree is an event that happened during Will’s time at his boarding school in Cornwall. The reader isn’t told exactly what has happened to begin with but we are aware that it affected him badly alongside his best friend Luke. Will is now married to Harmony and hasn’t seen Luke since school…until he turns up one day at a social event they are both attending. This chance meeting acts as a catalyst for a shocking revelation that will ultimately affect both men but in very different ways.

This is a slow burning, character driven storyline that inspired many conflicting emotions in me. Harmony was probably the character I related to the most so I did find myself getting both frustrated and annoyed by some of the actions that she took. Her reaction to her miscarriage and the ensuring problems communicating with Will felt so realistic that I often felt as though I was invading their privacy, listening to a conversation that wasn’t meant for me to hear. I could understand why her relationship was struggling because of the information I knew about Will that she didn’t and I really wanted to shake them both and make them see the error of their ways! But I also understood Will and why he hadn’t opened up to the most important person in his life about the event that was now returning to cause difficulties in their lives. And then there was Luke and he was the character that I really wanted to hate but I just couldn’t-instead my empathy for him overtook any other emotions I had and all I could think about was teenage Luke and I cried for the boys that he and Will used to be.

I just didn’t want The Judas Tree to end. Probably because I was too scared of how it WOULD or COULD end! So it became a book that I read slower and slower, savouring every word and letting them fill me with a succession of emotions-apprehension, fear, sadness and anger. Honestly I really was an emotional wreck by the time I finished the last page! I’m so glad this book is getting another chance to be read by more readers and I can highly recommend it!

The Judas Tree is published tomorrow 24th November 2022 by HQ.

Amanda Jennings has written six novels, and numerous short stories for anthologies and magazines, and is published both in the UK and abroad. She is a contributor to BBC Radio Berkshire and a long-standing judge for the Henley Youth Festival literary competition, has taught writing workshops, and enjoys appearing at literary festivals. Before becoming an author, Amanda worked at the BBC as a researcher, and studied History of Art at Cambridge University. She lives in a cottage in the middle of the woods in Oxfordshire with her family and a varied assortment of animals.


Published by


I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.