Thursday 21 February 2019

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman BLOG TOUR @hannahbeckerman #IfOnly @orionbooks

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman is published by Orion Books today; 21 February 2019

I read and reviewed this book at the end of last year and have been shouting about it ever since. As part of the Blog Tour, I'm delighted to share my review again today.

A twist that will break your heart . . . An ending that will put it back together 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? Moving, thoughtful and surprising, If Only I Could Tell You is impossible to put down - and impossible to forget

To be honest, I'm struggling to find the words to describe just how much this book has affected me. With themes that have felt very personal to me at the moment, at times I found it quite difficult. However, the writing and the story line are just so very very beautiful that I found myself becoming comforted by it, despite the absolute tragedy within the story. it is incredibly powerful and so very moving.

This is the story of a family, and how long-held beliefs can affect relationships and feelings. The author takes two sisters; Lily and Jess and allows her readers to gain such an insight into their lives, yet there is one tragic event that both binds these women together, but also has broken them. Not only are they broken, but their whole family are shattered by it. The rippling effects of the waves made by what happened with Jess was ten-years-old and Lily was sixteen have informed every decision that they've made since.

Hannah Beckerman has structured this novel impeccably; the reader gets to know Jess and Lily as adults, along with their own two daughters, and their mother Audrey. We are also taken back to the events of June 1988, the time that this once close-knit, loving family was torn apart, never to recover.

Jess and Lily couldn't be more different. Lily is successful, wealthy and driven.  Jess is a single-mother, always watching the pennies and appears to be increasingly unhappy. It's difficult to warm to Jess, especially as the reader is unaware of her reasons for cutting her sister from her life, it's only as we learn the truth that we can empathise with her and understand that it was sorrow and the misunderstanding of a child that led her to take the steps that she did.

If Only I Could Tell You deals with some serious and life-affecting issues, and Audrey, Lily and Jess certainly have more than their fair share of dark times. However, the absolute perfection of this author's writing and plotting does not make the reader feel overwhelmed by this issues and each event fits perfectly into the plot.

I have no doubt that when this is published in February next year, it will be praised highly. There is absolutely nothing to criticise at all. It is tender and intelligent, with a perception of family issues that is startling at times.

Utterly wonderfully heartbreaking, yet precise and searingly honest too. The perfect read.

Hannah Beckerman studied English at King's College, London and for a Master's degree at Queen Mary and Westfield, London. 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.
Hannah is now a full-time author and journalist. She is a book critic and features writer for the Observer, the FT Weekend Magazine and the Sunday Express and a regular chair at literary festivals and events. She 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. 

Find out more at
Twitter @hannahbeckerman
Author Page on Facebook

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