Cover Image: If Only I Could Tell You

If Only I Could Tell You

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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.
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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. ⁣
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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. ⁣
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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! ⁣
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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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5 stars to the writing, story development, pacing
 3 stars to the characters Lily and Jess
So final decision: 4 heart-breaking, tear jerker, emotionally heavy, poignant, memorable, dysfunctional stars!

  As a start trying to read this book and facing with my own skeletons in the closet were the toughest tasks I lately endured. I guess all the women readers had shaken tremendously as soon as they start flipping pages because every one of us are mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, granddaughters and when it comes to connect with the same gender, your emotions always speak louder your rational thoughts. Sometimes you may reject to accept each other’s differences or opinions, perspectives, choices which could cause big dramas, insurmountable, devastating consequences in your lives. So “communication” or “trying your best” to “listen” to the others are our keywords to make peace with your own family.
 
  Beckerman chose a really compelling and challenging subject: a broken, battered relationship between sisters and big secret that can change all the balances in the family. Lily seems like she is having all with her successful career, beautiful daughter and supporting husband. On the other hand, Jess is still struggling in her life, trying to raise her kid by herself and working at demanding TV show as local manager. Two sisters’ opinions, decisions, preferences about life are so different. And now their mother Audrey is dying and her last wish is bringing back her daughters together for reconciling.
 
  But of course: After I read two sisters who haven’t been talking each other for a long time and affecting their own children to alienate with each other made me really pissed off. So many times, I just wanted to buy a megaphone and shouted at their ears with maximum volume: “Stop acting childish and start to use real words to communicate!”

  So many readers mentioned this book as unputdownable, fast pacing, addictive reading. I truly loved the author’s amazing, emotional words cut through my heart and made me bleed. But I have to say this is one of my hardest readings and I was about to put down this book and take too many long breaths to calm myself down. You know the feeling as the walls come tumbling down and all the pieces inside of you start to crumble slowly, that’s what this book made me feel like. 

  Of course it’s hard to write something objective because when you deal too many losses and family dramas in your life, there are two options: you became stressful person who hate everybody or you became sarcastic screenwriter who likes to tease with the hand life dealt for her and restrain your urge to slap all those meaningless, obnoxious fictional characters. So you already what I chose! Yes hating people  
 Sometimes miscarriage, suicide, fatal illness, dysfunctional family issues were like six octopus arms attacking t
  o my neck to suffocate me! I had a powerful urge to throw my kindle against the wall and start to sprint out of the house, meet my husband and my friends at my favorite all you can sushi place and devour them till I suffer from mercury poisoning and drink several sake shots to get rid of the bad mood the book gave me.

  But later I realized I acted immature spoiled brats like these sisters did. So I grabbed my book and resumed reading. After all the teasing part about the real matter, Pandora’s box opened slowly and big revelation punched me in the face. Did I expect this? Partly but this is more intense than what I foresaw. 

  Writing is impeccable, heart wrenching, emotional, poignant, realistic, genuine, resembling Jodi Picoult’s writing style but all those heavy feelings I had to deal and all those ugly cries I had were really exhausting, shaking experience for me.

   Did I like the book? Definitely yes, it is impossible not to admire the writer’s talent and her approach to those pure emotional, sensitive subjects but if you have dysfunctional relationship or suffering from sudden losses, fatal illnesses in your family, prepare yourself to face with those hurt feelings one more time. This book literally can bleed you, make you sob till you get breathless and make you cry till no tears left to spill.

  I know this book recommended by Marian Keyes which is one of my favorite Irish authors which made me remind of rereading “Rachel’s Holiday” and “Anybody Out There” two more times. But I think I’ll do that at least two weeks later because right now I’m one of emotional victims of this author and for recovery I should binge watch “Office” and “It’s always sunny in Philadelphia” episodes over and over again. 

Special thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins Publishers to share this heart wrenching, emotional ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review.
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Ok everyone get your tissues! Wow this book drained me emotionally. I sobbed and it's been a few days since I have finished the book and these characters that Hannah so beautifully written are still in my mind. This book was beautiful, the story was one of heartbreak, hope and family! As a mother it was hard to read at times but it was a book I was unable to put down. And after I was done I squeezed my kids a bit more and called my mom.
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I loved this book. It is a difficult one to read. You will definitely need tissues for this one. I’m not usually a crier, but I was for this one. This book won’t be for everyone and a lot of reviews claimed it was too depressing to read. I didn’t find depressing but more heartbreaking. 

Thank you Netgalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’m giving this a 4.5 rating
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this book has touched me in a hole different level. I loved her writting, it made the book go really fast, I felt hooked since page 1
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I really enjoyed this book! My only criticism is I wish the author introduced “the issue” sooner because my mind went in a much darker direction, especially after learning about Audrey’s husband. It was almost too much to believe that Audrey, Jess and Lily each kept their version of the secret for so many years but it was interesting to see how it all played out and it ended well. Many thanks to Harper Collins and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Families aren’t perfect and If Only I Could Tell You is about a family dealing with some serious dysfunction and sadness. Jess and Lily are sisters who have been estranged for many years. Now, adults, they each live in London and have daughters close in age...but without a relationship. Somehow, their mother, Audrey, has managed to keep up relationships separately with both daughters and their families. As the book opens, Audrey is trying to figure out a way to get the daughters to reconcile.
The family and personal history gradually unfolds through flashbacks and memories from all three of the main characters. I especially liked how the author captured the relationship between Audrey and her two granddaughters. They came across, to me, as the most genuine relationships.
Each of the main characters had serious challenges in their own personal lives (in addition to the separation) and I felt this was not explored as fully as it could have been for stronger character development. It was a 3.5-4 star book for me, but there were so many heavy themes in this book: unfulfilled dreams, cancer, graphic descriptions of dying and miscarriages, suicide, unhappy relationships, etc. that it left me totally drained.
Thanks to Netgalley and Harpers Collins Publishers for the opportunity to read If Only I Could Tell You!
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Audrey is dying and she wants nothing more than to see her daughters Jess and Lily, and their daughters Mia and Phoebe, united. Jess and Lily have not spoken in years; there is a dark secret which fractured their relationship when they were teens.  Jess is beyond angry at Lily and while you might think you know why, it came as a surprise to me.  Audrey has refused treatment but she spends times with Phoebe and Mia, finding joy from a choir and art classes.  The back story spools out slowly in flashbacks and will keep you guessing.  It's a good read, with sympathetic characters even as you know someone has done something wrong.  You have to wonder how these women's lives would have been different if they were honest with each other all those years ago.  Know that there's a real air of melancholy over this but it is positive in the end.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  Well written by a good storyteller.
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In this book there were a lot of secrets. It definitely kept me on my toes with what was going on. For the first third of this book, I felt pretty confused about who was who and what was going on that had pulled the sisters apart.  When they introduce the main conflict and what was behind the bedroom door, I was shocked. It almost felt like a suspense book since there are so many different sides to the story and everything is only revealed near the end of the book.

The conflict of this story centers around each person trying to protect one or more of the other characters but because of this, multiple misunderstandings occur which ultimately break the family apart. I think that everyone had their reasons for what they did and I don't really blame any of them for making the choices they did.  They all thought they were doing what was best.

All and all, this book was incredibly sad. Audrey has cancer and doesn't seem to be getting better and her daughters are estranged for reasons Audrey doesn't know. The relationship between Audrey and her granddaughters was what touched me the most.
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This novel would be a very interesting book club discussion. It was very sad and poignant. poignant. Although I could not relate to the sisters, I thought the portrayal of the granddaughters very heartwarming. The mother's decades long secret threatens the family she tried hard to protect. This is an intensive read and the author presents a perspective of many difficult topics.
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This book was an emotional rollercoaster. I read it in two sittings and stayed up half the night to finish it. It is a work of art and a powerful book.
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Sister are...hard. I have four of my own and every one of the relationships I have is different. The sisters in If Only I Could Tell You have a relationship that is full of guilt, pain and hurt. This is a book that explores that darker side of relationships - don't let the cover fool you. 

It's just...so sad. 

Thanks to netGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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If you could only see my eyes this morning, you would know just how great this book is. I had to stay up to finish it into the wee hours. Things were finally unfolding and I could not put it down.

I have to say that through a lot of the book, I felt this strange dread. Jess was a hard nut to crack. Her anger was palpable.  We know as we read along that something devastating has happened to this family. Jess won’t talk at all to her sister Lily. Poor Audrey, their mother, wants nothing more than to see her daughters as close as sisters should be. She wants her granddaughters to know each other. Lily and Jess have been sitting on secrets for so very long. Once those secrets are revealed, my heart broke.

This is such a wonderful book. It is sad and yet redeeming. It is an emotional roller coaster. I am not a roller coaster fan but I buckled into this ride and I am so very glad I did. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Beckerman. I know I won’t be disappointed.

Thanks to Netgalley and William Morrow for a copy of this wonderful book. It is my humble opinion but I am pretty sure it will be yours too.
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A surprisingly emotion read, I wasn't expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. Perhaps enjoy is not the right word since the book is emotionally heavy, but I am so glad for the experience.
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