Source: Review Copy
Publication: 21st February 2019 from Orion
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?
Jess and Lily are sisters, but they haven’t spoken for more than three decades. Only one of them, Jess, really knows why. Audrey is their mother. She has watched her family fracture, unable to do anything to stop the anger and the hurt that this splintered family has endured.
Now she knows she has to act. With two teenage granddaughters who have never been allowed to know each other, Audrey has to find a way to expose the secrets of the past and to create a new path for the future.
Hannah Beckerman expertly weaves a sad and poignant tale that captures the heart and shows us that love has many meanings.
Audrey is our primary protagonist and we come to know her very well. Though she is approaching her last years when we meet her, we are allowed to see her as a young and ambitious woman, full of hopes and dreams at sixteen with a bright future in front of her. Though that future does not materialise, what we learn about Audrey is that she does not regret her decisions, but rather works to ensure that her future and those of her children is as good as it can possibly be.
As this novel moves gently backwards and forwards in time, we see the family through the eyes of Jess, Lily and Audrey and we can pinpoint the moment when everything went so badly wrong.
What we don’t immediately know is why it went awry, and I spent quite a lot of this book ascribing a quite different explanation of the circumstances in my mind. This meant that when the revelation did come, and it made perfect sense, I was completely surprised
If Only I Could Tell You is an emotionally engaging, tender and heart rending novel about the meaning of love. I was completely caught up in the lives of the characters and willing them to reconcile.
Verdict: Tender, poignant, immersive, I loved this book so much I shed a gentle tear here and there.
Hannah Beckerman is an author, journalist and broadcaster. She is a regular contributor to The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, and The Sunday Express, and was the book critic on Sara Cox’s Radio 2 Show. She chairs literary events around the UK and has been a judge on numerous book prizes including the Costa Book Awards.
Prior to becoming a
full-time writer, Hannah was a TV Executive who spent fifteen years
producing and commissioning documentaries about the Arts, History and
Science for the BBC, Channel 4 and Discovery USA before turning her hand