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October 24, 2019

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"And all at once Audrey understood that decades of unspoken stories were like strata of ancient rock: layer upon layer of family secrets impacting on one another until the truth was hidden so far beneath the surface that only the most committed could excavate  it." (p 309) 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

October 2019;  William Morrow; 978-0062952189
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); women's fiction
Family secrets that are kept too long can tear a family apart and even when the secrets come to light, the pain can still keep the family fractured. This new novel by Hannah Beckerman is about a family secret that destroyed the relationship between two sisters for over 30 years - they refuse to speak to each other or allow their daughters to meet. Their mother is desperate to reconcile her family no matter what it takes.

Audrey, the mom, has recently found out that she has cancer. Her one wish before she dies is to bring her daughters together again but she has no idea how to fix her family and help them recover from a deep family secret. The two sisters are Jess and Lily. They had been very close as young children but something happened within the family when they were very young and they are now in their early 40s and they haven't spoken to each again in over 30 years. The family secret is hinted at throughout the book but I must admit, when it was revealed near the end, I was very surprised - I thought that I had it figured out but I was sure wrong.

I really enjoyed the way that the author told this story. The secret was revealed slowly to keep the reader guessing. The story is told in alternating chapters by Audrey, Jess and Lily so that we get to know each character very well. All of the characters were so well written that they felt like people that I know in my life. And the big question throughout the novel is whether the family can find their way back to each other after years of secrets and silence.

This book was an emotional roller coaster with three wonderful characters and a lot of misunderstanding between them. Have Kleenex close because you're going to need it. This is a story about family, love, grief and honesty and one that I won't soon forget.

Buy If Only I Could Tell You at Amazon

About the Author

Hannah Beckerman studied English at King's College (London) for her undergraduate degree, and at Queen Mary  and Westfield (London) for her master's degree. She spent twelve years working in television, first as a producer for the BBC and subsequently as a commissioning editor for arts and documentaries at Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel USA. She lived in Bangladesh for two years, working for the BBC World Service Trust. She is now a full-time author and journalist as well as a book critic and features writer for the Observer, the FT Weekend Magazine and the Sunday Express. She is also a regular chair at literary festivals and events and has been a judge for numerous book prizes including the Costa Book Awards. If Only I Could Tell You is Hannah's second novel. She lives in London with her husband and daughter.

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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  1. i like stories where secrets are revealed and povs told from the each characters persepctive. like you said, you really get to know the characters that way
    sherry @ fundinmental

  2. I absolutely loved this one! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours