Audrey’s family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected.
As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?
Published 21st February 2019 by Orion Books (UK)
~ Review ~
Oh wow. I don’t even know where to start with this review. It’s taken me all morning just to get started and I’ve deleted and started again a zillion times. So forgive me but I’m going to gush. THIS BOOK IS BEAUTIFUL! From the cover (I mean, Look at it!) to the gorgeously tender, heartbreaking and touching story inside – BEAUTIFUL.
I was lucky enough to discover Hannah Beckerman five years ago when I was sent a signed copy of her debut novel The Dead Wife’s Handbook (Which I reviewed HERE) and so was eager to read her long awaited second novel. And I was not disappointed.
If Only I Could Tell You is a story of a fractured family, a decades old rift and secrets that have never been shared. Audrey’s daughters Jess and Lily haven’t spoken since childhood and now thirty years later, with a diagnosis of terminal cancer, Audrey is determined she will bring them together before she dies.
I love Hannah’s incredibly honest and raw writing, she captures the very essence of humans. In If Only I Could Tell You, fear of the truth and a desire to shield and protect leads to half truths and misunderstandings. How often do we make presumptions without fully understanding the truth? How easy is it to let weeks, months, years slip by, the longer that passes, the harder it is to reconnect. How many of us have looked back and thought “if only”? I could relate to so many of the emotions and questions raised in this book, as I’m sure most people will.
The book is told in chapters from all three women – Audrey as she faces the end of her life, reflects on the past and yearns to reunite her daughters. Lily, who appears to have it all – success, poise and a need to be very much in control. And Jess, who refuses to tell Audrey just why she can’t forgive her sister. The reader really feels as if they get know each woman and understands what drives them.
Interspersed are flashbacks to the past and a slowly revealed secret that will both shock and break your heart. I was so unprepared for the truth, it took my breath away, had tears streaming down my face and my daughter asking if I was ok with great concern. This book tackles subjects of such sadness and grief, yet it is so beautifully and thoughtfully written, it truly is breathtaking at times. And despite the sadness, there comes an uplifting air and I ended it with a smile through the tears and a sigh of hope.
I read If Only I Could Tell You over an afternoon, where I had so many other things I should’ve been doing but could not bare to tear myself away. I was fully immersed in the three women’s lives and mesmorised as the tragic and touching story unfolded. I genuinely can not recommend this book enough and already know it’s going to feature highly on my books of 2019 list.
(I read an advance proof copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program)