Wednesday 9 September 2020

If I Could Say Goodbye by Emma Cooper @ItsEmmaCooper @headlinepg @lararosetamara #TheFirstTimeISawYou

Jennifer Jones' life began when her little sister, Kerry, was born. So when her sister dies in a tragic accident, nothing seems to make sense any more.

Despite the support of her husband, Ed, and their wonderful children, Jen can't comprehend why she is still here, while bright, spirited Kerry is not.

When Jen starts to lose herself in her memories of her sister, she doesn't realise that the closer she feels to Kerry, the further she gets from her family.

Jen was never able to say goodbye to her sister. But what if she could?

Would you risk everything if you had the chance to say goodbye?

If I Could Say Goodbye by Emma Cooper is published in paperback by Headline on 17 September 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I have read, reviewed and adored Emma Cooper's two previous books; The Songs of Us and The First Time I Saw You, so was delighted to receive my copy of If I Could Say Goodbye.

Once again, this talented author has produced a story that brings a great big lump to the throat as she details the unrelenting grief that main character Jennifer experiences when her younger sister Kerry tragically dies. However, as with her previous novels, there's a huge injection of humour too and I found myself going from wiping away tears of sadness, to mopping up the tears caused by hilarity. This is a skill, and this author has it in spades.

There's a different feeling to this book, whilst it is still packed with carefully created and colourful characters, there's an edge to it that I didn't feel when I read the author's first two books. That's not a criticism, I think it shows that Emma Cooper is growing in confidence whilst retaining her own style.

The story is told through the voices of Jennifer and her husband Ed, with tiny appearances from the late Kerry, but only Jennifer can 'see' Kerry, and that's a cause of both concern and comfort for her. Jennifer is wracked with survivor guilt; replaying the moment that Jennifer died, over and over again. Imagining if things had been different; if she hadn't been looking down at her phone; if Jennifer hadn't moved quickly. Ed, on the other hand, whilst devastated about the loss of Kerry, is also trying to cope with Jennifer's reactions whilst holding together things for their two children.

Emma Cooper slowly and perfectly creates a bond with her readers. At times the story is quite slow-paced, but we are learning about Jennifer and Kerry, and their incredibly close relationship. Ed's chapters are a little more frivolous, whilst he has his own struggles, he faces them with a humour that is endearing. He's one of those male characters that you cannot help but fall just a little in love with.

Overall, this is a story of grief, guilt and love. It is an in-depth look at how one tragic moment can impact our entire lives, and how that moment can make us constantly reevaluate ourselves and everything around us.

If I Could Say Goodbye is a deeply personal, sensitively written story with a healthy injection of humour. A little bit quirky, very powerful and packed with love. Recommended by me.

Emma Cooper is a former teaching assistant, who lives in Shropshire, with her partner and four children. Her spare time consists of writing novels, drinking wine and watching box-sets with her partner of twenty-four years, who still makes her smile every day.

Her debut, The Songs of Us was snapped up in multiple pre-empts and auctions and is now being translated into seven different languages.

Emma has always wanted to be a writer - ever since her childhood, she's been inventing characters (her favourite being her imaginary friend 'Boot') and is thrilled that she now gets to use this imagination to bring to life all of her creations.

The Songs of Us was inspired by Emma's love of music and her ability to almost always embarrass herself, and her children, in the most mundane of situations. She was so fascinated by the idea of combining the two, that she began to write Melody's story. Working full-time with a large family meant that Emma had to steal snippets of 'spare' time from her already chaotic and disorganised life; the majority of her novel was written during her lunchtime in a tiny school office. She never expected to fall so deeply in love with the King family and is overwhelmed that others feel the same.

She has three loves in life: reading, writing and her family...oh, and music, cheese, pizza, films - Maths is not one of her talents.

Emma keeps in touch with her readers and loves to hear from them on twitter @ItsEmmacooper

Instagram @itsemmacooper

Author Page on Facebook

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