If Only I Could Tell You

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

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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Audrey was in a room she was encouraged to think of as her own. Both Audrey’s daughters -Jess and Lily- were vying for her to move in with them. Audrey felt children should not become responsible for their parents. It upset the natural order of things. Once upon a time her daughters had been friends. It had almost been three decades  since jess turned on Lily because of something she blamed Lily for something and could not forgive her. She now had two seventeen year old granddaughters who had never been permitted to meet but born six weeks apart. Jess had left home and cut Lily out of her life completely. Audrey had tried to reconcile her family several times. Audrey was dying. Audrey had moved in with Jess and Mia -her granddaughter- asked her if she was ok. For the last five months Audrey had become preoccupied with the past. Jess knew first days of shoots there was always a tense anticipation, like the moments before the first guests arrive at a party you're hosting. Jess knew how hard it was for her mother to leave and sell the house she had lived in for forty five years of her life. Jess had wanted to be with her but had to work. At least Mia was with her. 
I didn’t really enjoy this book that much. There was too much sadness and tragedy in this book. Isn’t anything involving happiness in this book? This also has too much going on for me. The back and forth between characters and the past and present wore on me also. Like The sisters split, the mothers cancer, miscarriages, and suicide. This dragged for me. Also Audrey should have been sick with a stage four cancer to go sing in a choir and go sightseeing in NYC. I just lost a friend to cancer and there wasn't any energy for quite a while before he passed. Audrey also had problems breathing how could she have accomplished all this - not realistic to me. Maybe why I didn’t enjoy this as much as many others did . As you can tell this wasn't for me.
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Audrey is determined to find out the cause of a 30 year rift between her daughter Jess and Lily before her terminal cancer diagnosis catches up with her. 

Spanning decades and quietly heartbreaking, the novel explores themes of truth, morality, regret, and family. The reader is left in the dark for the first half about what could have possibly gone wrong in this seemingly lovely family, but once the pieces fall into place the pacing picks up quite a bit.
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An event and misunderstanding has caused Audrey's two daughters, Jess and Lily, to be estranged for almost 30 years. Their teenage daughters are also forbidden to meet. Now as Audrey is nearing the end of her own life, her only wish is for her daughters to be sisters again, but does she have it in her to reveal the truth? Will the truth set her free or break her family apart forever? 

This book is definitely not a light-hearted, fun read. It took me longer than usual to finish because it's sort of depressing and frustrating. It did keep me engaged because I wanted to know what the big secret was but I was anxious to finish reading it. I disliked Jess - I think the whole drama could have been resolved from the beginning if Jess wasn't so immature; however, I really liked the granddaughters. There were some twists that were unexpected and overall well written.  If you like family drama, give this one a try!

Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow books for a copy of this ARC in exchange for my honest review. 3.5 stars for me!
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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. 

Favorite quote:

"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."
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If Only I Could Tell You is a heartbreaking novel.  This book has an entertaining plot.  Secrets that has caused a family split.  I highly recommend this book.  My thanks to the publisher for my advance ebook.  This is my unbiased review.
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I love a good family drama. This one sounded like exactly the type of book I like. Lila and Jess are sisters who have teenage daughters the same age, but they haven’t spoken in years. Audrey, their mother has been diagnosed with cancer and she wants to make things right. 

This story is definitely touching and emotional. However, I really did not like one aspect of it. For the first half of the book the author danced around what happened to cause the sisters to stop speaking, without actually stating what happened. I know this was done to build intrigue and keep the reader interested, but it was irritating to me and it had the opposite effect on me. 

There also was a big trigger for me in this book that I wasn’t expecting. I was crying while reading this one. 

People who love family drama and emotional stories full of heart will probably like this one.
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Over how many decades can a covert family secret divide sisters? It's been 28 years for sisters Jess and Lily, but now that their mother Audrey has terminal cancer, and Lily's hotshot lawyer husband is off to the States for six months (maybe more), surely it's time to clear the decks, air the family laundry, expose all the secrets. Isn't it?

Narrated from triple points of view: Audrey, Jess, Lily, this psychological evocation set in London will resonate with fans of Lisa Jewell and Paula Hawkins, any reader who wishes a clearer understanding of Family, or who yearns for Second Chances.
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I thought this was very, very good. Well written and emotionally engaging. I definitely recommend it. Thank you to netgalley for the arc.
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This book was just entirely too depressing for me. I don’t really want to write a bad review so I’m just going to leave it at that. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for allowing me to read a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.
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If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman #jaylammreviews

Thank you to @netgalley and @william morrow for the free ecopy 

Two sisters who have been estranged for 30 years, now both have teen daughters. Their mother desperately wants her family to be whole again- but a secret from the past is keeping everyone apart.

This book has such an interesting start. It gives you just enough to pull you into this broken relationship between sisters. The strongest part of this novel was the character development. These sister, who were so different were brought to life between the present day and flashbacks from the past. 

To be honest this book was super sad and not very enjoyable. I was looking for some family drama when I picked this one up and that definitely delivered; but the overall tragedy of this story was just sooo sad and unfortunate. The writing was well done, the story was well told, just so damn sad.
This one releases tomorrow October 15th.
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5 ☆ “If Only I Could Tell You” is an engaging, emotionally charged, heartbreaking novel of how one family of women live in sadness, confusion and bitterness based off each owns recollections of their family’s past, disturbing secrets, and the construed perceptions of a child.

Mother Audrey, has stage four cancer and only a few short months left, she’s devastated her daughters have a decades old rift with each other, Jess still won’t speak or even be in the same room with her sister Lily. Her one wish is to heal her family before she dies. 

Told in each character’s own perspectives, Audrey, Jess and Lily, 1969 to the events of June 1988 that rocked their once close-knit peaceful family, to the present. Their journey has many incredible twists and one moral dilemma at the heart of the book I would not have believed if Lily hadn’t of seen it for herself. Not what I was expecting. I was floored by it and had to sit the book down for a bit!

Hannah Beckerman has written a compelling and absorbing debut novel that I can’t recommend enough. Outstanding. 

I received an e-copy from NetGalley and the publisher in return for my honest review.
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Two Sisters.⁣
A lifetime of lies unraveling.⁣
Can one broken family find their way back to each other? ⁣
Audrey’s dreams as a mother is that her daughters are as close as possible. But as adults, Jess and Lily no longer speak and haven’t for the last three decades. They even have two teenage daughters, 6 months apart, that have never met. ⁣
If only Audrey had known those decades earlier that a secret had the power to pull them apart, yet also keep them linked. When hostilities threaten to spiral out of control, that devastating choice that was made so many years ago is about to be revealed, and testing the bond between this family once and for all. ⁣
Right from the beginning I was captivated by the characters. Audrey’s confusion about her daughters feud, and the alternating points of view from each character slowly revealing a piece of the puzzle. The emotions in this novel were breaking my heart. However, I was teetering between 3-4 stars once I hit the halfway point in the novel. The author did such a good job weaving the back story that once a new variable was involved I had a hard time re-painting those memories with that new variable introduced. But, once I got past that and accepted the story line I was sucked right back in. This novel was not anything I was expecting, but very enjoyable! I’m also a crier so there may have been tears involved! ⁣
Thank you @williammorrowpublishing and @netgalley for the advanced copy!
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An emotional and touching story, filled with family drama that at times kicks us in the gut.  Jess and Lily have been estranged for 28 years.  What happened in that household that made Jess hate Lily?  What secrets are being kept?  Beckerman gives us just enough information to totally hang ourselves out to dry as we think we know exactly where she is taking us.  We are completely wrong when those family secrets are finally revealed.  It takes a long time for the revelation and there were too many heavy subjects introduced in this book to give all of them justice, but Beckerman knows how to tug at our heartstrings and keep us engaged until the final word.
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This was an engaging, emotional read.  It took me a little bit to get into it, but once I did, I read the bulk of it in a day (while working and doing normal "life".  This is a book with some important messages about the importance of communication and not making assumptions about people or events.  There are lessons to be learned about living life while you can and not letting others expectations or your own insecurities hold you back.

The story is told from the viewpoints of the mother (Audrey) and her two daughters (Lily and Jess), and it alternates mostly between 1988 when the girls were 10/15 and current day (with a few other historical story lines thrown in).  The basic premise is that something happened in 1988 that causes Jess to truly hate Lily and the estrangement has carried on for nearly 30 years.  Modern day Audrey is dying of cancer and wants to see her family reunited before she's gone.  No one but Jess even knows for sure what has caused the divide between the sisters, but it is so extreme that Jess comes unhinged at the idea of her daughter interacting with Lily's daughter.  So, obviously, Audrey's desire to see the sister's "kiss and makeup" seems like a bit of a pipe dream.  One piece at a time, we start to learn of the tragedies the family has endured over the years, and ultimately it all comes together to reveal what happened in 1988 that caused Jess push her sister out of her life.  

Now for my issues with this book.  First, it felt really overdone - like sappy Lifetime movie overdone.  I was tempted to make a drinking game out of references to sands in the hourglass it was so overused.   I could have done the same for several overused, overly sappy cliched similes. Secondly, you had to have a fair amount of suspension of disbelief to make this work, especially in regards to the main story line.  It's hard to say much without giving the story away, but basically I can understand how things went sideways between the sisters 30 years ago, but I find it nearly impossible to believe that the younger sister never questioned any of it during those 30 years.  I get why she felt the way she did at 10 years old, but a nearly 40 year old adult would surely be able to look back on the situation and realize that, at minimum, the circumstances around the event were not as she remembered.  Additionally, while I wanted to root for the mother being able to do all the things she wished to, I find it extremely unlikely that a woman as sick as she was portrayed to be would be capable of a stunning solo vocal performance or making a transatlantic weekend sightseeing trip.  Another issue I had was that the book tried to do too much.  The primary story line was plenty, but then there were other side "stories" tossed in (a troubled marriage, a new maybe romance?, stories surrounding the granddaughters, issues between the sisters and their own daughters, etc.) that really did nothing for the main story and were left totally unexplored and unresolved.  And that brings me to my last issue - this book was a whole lot of sad and depressing events with two characters that were pretty hard to like.  I understand this book is not meant to be a feel good kind of book, but a little it of silver lining would have been nice.  Had some of those side stories/issues been explored a little more with some resolution shown in the end, the book could have ended on an up note.  As it was, the book got in a final gut punch and then left most everything kind of hanging.  The estrangement is only one of a multitude of issues that the various characters were contending with, and there's really no resolution to any of it.  A "two years later" type epilogue would have gone a LONG way towards salvaging this for me.

I know that's a lot of complaining for a book I rated as 3*, but in the end, I don't regret reading the book - which is pretty much my personal benchmark for a 1* or 2* rating.  Despite its holes, the primary story was good and engaging.  But my issues with it ensure that it's not something I will return to.
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This was a difficult, heartbreaking read for me especially so because I have three younger sisters of my own and we don't exactly get along at all times and have a mother who is chronically ill. I could place myself in the situation crustal clear.

At times I had to put it down because it reflected my own life a bit too hard but it was written beautifully and handled quite nicely. The ending felt rushed and I think that was my only issue. Other than that, this is a gorgeous read.

Thanks very much to Netgalley and the publisher.
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This book tackles a lot of heavy topics. Trigger warnings for suicide, cancer, dying, assisted suicide. I think it was all handled beautifully. I wish the ending wasn’t so rushed. I felt like it took so long to get to the “mystery” of it and then the ending came so quickly. I struggled with the first half a bit. I think this will be a book that has a lot of discussion topics.
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