About the Book:
For fans of This Is Us comes a story of a family divided and the secret that can possibly unite them – a life-affirming novel with a twist will break your heart and an ending that will put it together again.
A secret between two sisters.
A lifetime of lies unraveling.
Can one broken family find their way back to each other?
Audrey’s dream as a mother had been for her daughters, Jess and Lily, to be as close as only sisters can be. But now, as adults, they no longer speak to each other, and Audrey’s two teenage granddaughters have never met. Audrey just can’t help feeling like she’s been dealt more than her fair share as she’s watched her family come undone over the years, and she has no idea how to fix her family as she wonders if they will ever be whole again.
If only Audrey had known three decades ago that a secret could have the power to split her family in two, and yet, also keep them linked. And when hostilities threaten to spiral out of control, a devastating choice that was made so many years ago is about to be revealed, testing this family once and for all.
Once the truth is revealed, will it be enough to put her family back together again or break them apart forever?
I absolutely fell in love with this magnificent story! This book is best enjoyed without reading any spoilers, so I will keep my review spoiler-free. I had NO idea what a roller coaster of emotions I was getting into with this book, but the author did a spectacular job at keeping all the emotions REAL without any unnecessary theatrics.
Told from multiple points of view, this novel tells the story of Audrey, a mother and grandmother who is trying her best to bring her estranged daughters Lily and Jess back together again. The reader does not know why these two have not spoken in years, only that something happened when they were young to break them apart. What could have possibly happened to drive such a deep wedge between the two sisters?
“She does not yet know it, but by the time she gets home this afternoon, the fabric of her family will have been altered irrevocably, and the morning’s events will repeat in her mind like a record stuck under the groove of a needle for the next thirty years.”
Audrey is heartbroken that her daughters, now adults with their own families, refuse to speak to one another. She must tread carefully but makes it her mission to somehow reconcile Jess Lily and their families. She knows if she pushes to hard, things will be actually get much, much worse.
“Sometimes, nowadays, only photographs reassured her that she hadn’t made it all up, that it wasn’t just a fantasy. That once upon a time her daughters had been friends.”
Lily and Jess live within a few miles of each other but have’t spoken in years. They live very separate lives, the only common thread being the relationship with their mother, Audrey. I loved the author’s exploration of family, love, forgiveness and marriage. Just when I thought the story was going in one direction, the author surprised me and went down a totally different path. But the common thread was a mother’s determination to bring her fractured family back together again.
“It was the same every time she drove down this road with Jess, whatever time of day or night, whatever day of the week: the hope that somehow fate would bring her daughters together on the streets of west London. But even though Lily and Jess had lived in the same city, three miles apart, for fifteen years, not once had they met by chance.”
What really drove Lily and Jess apart so many years before? The answers surprised me but were revealed in such a way that I really cared about the main characters and actually cried along with them. This is a very emotional story but also very hopeful and very real. I could not put this book down! This was my first book by Hannah Beckmerman and I absolutely adored her writing style. I feel as though I actually know these fictional characters. Beautiful, lush writing and a brisk storyline make this one of my favorite books this year.
“Because she was certain now that a person’s story didn’t follow a straight narrative trajectory from birth to death. There were countless beginnings and endings, countless opportunities to start again. There were as many different beginnings to a life as someone was brave and kind enough to allow themselves.”
(I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
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.