If Only I Could Tell You

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

2.5 stars rounded up

Two sisters and their mother, caught in a continuous web of misunderstandings, grief, hidden truths and many regrets. 

A story line that I feel had so much potential had it been written in a completely different way, one that led the reader to the answer through character development and growth as a family... instead what I read was a non-stop “catch me if you can” game of dangling the truth in front of me in order to get me to keep reading this book. If it hadn’t been for just wanting to find out what on earth happened... I don’t know that I would’ve finished this book. It was also a bit too dramatic. 

The ending was good. A little twist. 

I just am not a fan of this story unfortunately. Jess was a 10 year old child in a 30 (or 40?) year old body throwing a grief-riddled temper tantrum her entire life, ruining her life, her daughters, her sisters, her mothers, and anyone else that walked along her path. They book talks briefly about her job and then randomly that part of the story just goes away and it never comes back. 

Lily is a feeble push over that never stops trying to please and let’s every single person she knows walk all over her. She allows her sister to carry on this ridiculous tantrum for 20-30 years without ever really trying to get her to tell her. SURE sure we find out in the end “why” which was an eye roll in my opinion and was simply to tie up a loose end.

And the mom. I liked her most but she had issues in the book too.

There’s just bits and pieces of this story that don’t make sense and are just thrown together or randomly disappear with no explanation. I like to read a book to enjoy simply the story, the people, the writing... not simply bc I want to know the answer and could care less about half the people in the book. 

Oh and I’m still mad there was NO reconciliation of the daughters with their mothers, no more info on or character/story development on Daniel, no telling Phoebe, etc. 

I hate writing reviews that lean more on the negative but clearly I just really wasn’t a huge fan of this book.. :(
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Honestly I would say for me this was a 2.5.  Three characters who see see the events over the years unfold....I could not connect with any of them and there were too many ugh as ifs for me to reallly fall into this book.
Audrey is the mother of 2 adult daughters, Lily and Jess.  The book evolves over the three of them covering how the family came to be torn apart.   There are also 2 granddaughters who cannot have a relationship due to the family secret that tore the family apart.
I feel like the book tried too hard and the person who decided to compare it to 'This Is Us' really should not have.  Nothing like the show in terms of connection and character development.  They all seemed annoying and whiny to me and as all the 'secrets' unfolded I did not like them any more.  If anything I thought HOW did this go on for 30 years?
Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.   Sorry for the review but I cannot lie.
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I didn't enjoy reading this book - and I think most of that hinges on the way the story is told. It is obvious early into reading the book that something traumatic has happened to the family, they each talk about it constantly without really talking about it. But since the perspective is told from each of the different women, having them talk about it, without really talking about it because increasingly frustrating. All of their internal dialogue felt clunky and inauthentic because of this secret they were holding from the reader. It took their trauma and turned it into a suspenseful plot point. Additionally, I guessed wrong - as I think most readers probably would, and that was disorienting too.
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Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Beyond amazing I enjoyed this book so very much. The characters and storyline were fantastic. The ending I did not see coming  Could not put down nor did I want to.
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An engrossing family drama. A secret divides the family and although Audrey, the mother, wants to bring her daughters back together; is it possible?   I cared for and felt compassion for each of the characters.
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I loved this book! It was beautifully written, and I loved the way the author told the story from three different perspectives-this made the story so much richer. This is a story about loss, how misunderstandings can change the whole direction of a life, and how we must be willing to open our hearts and forgive, no matter how hard that sometimes is. Highly recommended!!
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How much would you endure to protect someone that you love? That is the question at the heart of this novel, If Only I Could Tell You. Adult sisters Jess and Lily have been estranged for decades by Jess’ choice, but now their mother Audrey has only been given months to live. As the adult sisters navigate their daily lives in modern times, we are given snippets of their lives growing up. As the deep dark secret of the family is revealed, it will become clear that nothing is what it seemed.
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This book is very sad and depressing, but it is so beautifully written. It flows so nicely, and I loved the shorter chapters. The overall structure was nice as well with the alternating POVs. 
While it started as a bit of mystery, the ending was a bit predictable, but it was almost appreciated since most of the plot was heavy!
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This book just didn’t do it for me. I liked the short chapters and the writing though.  The content, not so much. I feel like the family drama was way overdone. Very depressing without enough feel good to balance it out. There are many 4 & 5 star reviews out there and that is great. Just not what I expected or was hoping for.
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As this book starts, we know that "something bad" happened when these two sisters were younger, and they have been estranged their entire adult lives because of it. We also quickly learn that their mother is now dying of cancer and wants nothing more than her daughters to get along. The story is well paced, and doesn't drag. We learn little by little what happened in the past.. Although it all felt a bit Liane Moriarity-esque, I think that part is well done. I did want to keep reading. 
I do have two complaints though, and they're pretty big problems. The first, and most problematic, is the premise itself. The way the "misunderstanding" occurred between the sisters, one of whom was only 10 years old,  and the fact that no adult did anything to remedy it in 30 years is completely unbelievable. The younger sister continued to literally act like a child until the very end, and no one thought to get to the bottom of it?  The second, was that the actual storyline really happened in the past tense, but there was a lot of really underdeveloped, drama for the sake of drama, not really relevant at all to the story filler about the sister's current lives. I also really did not like the  way the final chapters were done.
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Reading this book was like riding an emotional rollercoaster!  

Even though Lily and Jess are sisters, they have been estranged for almost three decades.  Jess harbors so much anger toward Lily and neither Lily nor their mom, Audrey know why.  This family has so many secrets and each one is slowly revealed as the book reaches its heartbreaking conclusion.

Hannah Beckerman takes us through pretty much the entire range of human emotion throughout this book; sadness, grief, confusion, anger, hope, and love.  This is the first book I’ve read in a long time that made me feel so deeply.  I loved the storyline and had to keep reading to learn the secrets everyone kept from each other.  Highly recommend!

I appreciate @netgalley and @williammorrowbooks for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.
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While I got more into the book the second half, it took me that long to care.

This book is written from three point of views-- two estranged sisters and their ailing mother -- between the present time and a moment during a horrible time during the sisters' childhoods. 

I usually like books written in this way because you get to know all the characters and not just one, but the horrible thing that happened doesn't get explained until later in the book, and once you find it out, it doesn't make sense that it would have been ignored throughout the beginning of this book.

Definitely a tear jerker by the second half, but I still didn't feel very connected to any of the characters.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. It did not influence my opinion.
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When you are a child, you remember things a certain way.  You don’t think of other scenarios, just what you see.  This is the problem go Jess.  This action starts an almost 30 year estrangement between Jess and her sister, Lily.  No one except Jess knows why and she’s not talking. This story unfolds as mother, Audrey, is fighting her own battle and wants to reunite her family.  

This novel was family drama, at its best/worst, all characters evolving and enfolding their own battles.  Have tissues handy as your heart won’t be able to take all the drama. Well written.  Every individual handles grief differently, this family is no different.  Each situation will frustrate you and tug at your heart at the same time.  The last chapter...oh my!  

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC.  Opinion is mine alone!
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Good book! You will spend 3/4th of the book yearning to uncover what is the driving force behind Jess' hatred. The last 1/4th of the book seemed a bit drawn out and the ending was predictable but good nonetheless. A story that shows that no matter how old you are, you can still be ambitious and make a change. This novel will have you tearing up at this family's tragedies --someone always has it worse than you. Be thankful and kind because you never know what someone has gone through/is going through!
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As hard as I tried to like this book I just couldn’t..  In my opinion the main characters were selfish and self-absorbed. and  I found the circumstances of several characters’ deaths to be dark and disturbing.  In addition I found several situations in the book to be unrealistic including Audrey being able to attend choir rehearsals and fly to New York when she was on the brink of death from Stage 4  cancer.  i requested this book because it said in the description that it would appeal to fans of This Is Us but I didn’t see any similarities between this novel and the show other than the bond between twins or triplets.  Thank you for giving  me the opportunity to read this ARC but because my review is less than favorable I will not be posting it on Goodreads and Amazon. since it is my understanding that poor reviews can hurt the success of a book.
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This is a quick beach read.  It's a bit too chick lit for my taste but I still had no trouble reading and finishing it!  Its a story of untold truths that keep a family apart - it's a reminder to never let our assumptions rule our family lives.  

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me an early release in exchange for an honest and fair review.
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I received an ARC copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest opinion of it. I felt like this book was dealing with way too many issues at one time and I thought it was boring and I honestly could not get through it.
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Thank You NetGalley and HarperCollins for this advanced readers copy .

This book pulls at all your heart strings. It talks about infidelity, about cancer, about death and about families torn apart by these issues. I know for me when we found out about what everybody didn’t want to talk about. It was an extremely hard topic to read and essentially go through with these characters. nonetheless I think this book is really good for someone who may be grieving from a loss that they can’t comprehend yet. I feel that this book helps them see that pushing people away, being angry and not knowing how to deal with loss of a loved one is something that many people go through.

Audrey is a woman/mother who has really been through a lot in her life. Now she is faced I did enjoy this book and I do believe that it has touched on a lot of important topics. I also do believe that this book could really be helpful to someone who may be going through something similar.with the fact that she is dying from cancer. She has two daughters who do not speak to each other and have an aunt in about 30 years. Both of her daughters have daughters themselves and because of this Eestrangement Audrey cannot be with both her granddaughters at the same time estrangement Audrey cannot be with both her granddaughters at the same time. Audrey dying wish is that she can somehow fix the broken bond between her daughters. So that way she knows after she is gone that they at least each have each other..

I did enjoy this book and I do believe that it has touched on a lot of important topics. I also do believe that this book could really be helpful to someone who may be going through something similar.
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If Only I Could Tell You mercilessly tugs at the hearts of its readers. Once you settle into this book, you will not be able to put it down without wanting to get right back to it again. As a mother nearing the end of her life, Audrey desperately yearns for her daughters to come together. Sadly, she is a mother running out of time to help her daughters learn to love each other.

Over the years, this fractured family has only continued in its downward spiral of discontent and disfunction. The broad rift between Jess and Lily is ever-widening. The insidious estrangement of the two sisters has trudged along for nearly thirty years. The bitterness that Jess has cultivated against Lily over the years feels as though it may be insurmountable. In fact, Jess and Lily’s daughters, born within just weeks of each other, have never even met.

It is only natural for us to mourn for this fractured family of women. I longed for Jess and Lily to dig deep to finally find a way to open up to each other. Author, Hannah Beckerman, breaks our hearts with this soul-gripping family epic. Nevertheless, we read on with hope for revelations of truth. And we long for forgiveness and acceptance to come about. I found myself hoping for joy to spring forth, when a lie is ultimately extinguished by a fountain of truth. Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy of If Only I Could Tell You.
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If Only I Could Tell You packs a powerful punch in this dramatic tale focused around three woman.  Estranged sisters Zoe and Jess are raising teen age daughters in the same town, but couldn’t be living more different lives.  Zoe is married, a power house in her career and struggles to understand what happened decades ago that stopped her sister, Jess, from speaking to her.  Meanwhile, Jess is raising her daughter as a single-mother, trapped in a job with long hours and not much fan-fare.  Their ailing mother Audrey has just received tragic health news and is determined to mend the cracks between her daughters while exploring all the long forgotten joys in life.  If Only I Could Tell You is filled with real, harrowing and at times complicated and tragic stories.  The novel covers: losing siblings, losing parents, suicide, euthanasia, divorce, infidelity, 9-11 and war.  I felt like I needed a few days to process all that I had read when the story came to a close. Several days later, I find myself still thinking about each character, their complicated stories and the choices they made.  If Only I Could Tell You reminds its readers of the importance of communication and how assumptions can drive apart families and loved ones.  While at times I struggled to keep up with the characters and complex story line, I won’t soon forget them and am touched by their stories.

*A sincere thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
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