If Only

One milestone birthday, two little words, a lifetime of possibilities

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Pub Date 06 Jun 2019 | Archive Date 09 Apr 2020

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Erin wants a fresh start.

With her thirtieth birthday coming up, she's taken a long hard look at her life (the job she hates, the wedding she just cancelled) and concluded that it's basically a mess.

If only she knew where to begin.

A trip to her hometown in Ireland to visit her beloved grandmother is a welcome escape from her disappointments. But, there, Erin also finds an unexpected solution to her problems, in the form of a magical family heirloom. No more of the 'what ifs' she's been tormenting herself with -- now all she needs to do is whisper two little words and she'll be able to see for herself what might have been, had she chosen a different path.

But as Erin gets caught up in one 'if only' after another, changing her life proves more complicated than expected. And she starts to realise that, by chasing dreams and searching for an easy fix, she might be missing out on what's right in front of her...

Erin wants a fresh start.

With her thirtieth birthday coming up, she's taken a long hard look at her life (the job she hates, the wedding she just cancelled) and concluded that it's basically a mess.


Available Editions

ISBN 9781473691780
PRICE £7.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 46 members

Featured Reviews

Erin is about to hit a milestone, she’ll be thirty soon, and she can’t help but feeling that she’s missing out on life. Her wedding has been cancelled and she hates her job. What next? A trip home to celebrate her birthday where she can be surrounded by those who really know and love her sounds like just the ticket. Still, the entire time she’s with her beloved grandmother, she second guesses herself. Her abandoned marriage plans, the job she turned down, has she made the wrong turn not just once, but many times? All readers will be able to relate to Erin, especially women, as second guessing and wondering about the choices we’ve made are second nature to almost all of us. Although Erin as a little on the young side, her problems and self doubt will resonate with readers of all ages. A sweet, sometimes funny story about learning to love the life you’re living

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A charming wonderful read,a book about life’s choices the decisions we make.the second guessing the self doubt.A novel that drew me right in and kept me enjoying the characters the story.#netgalley #hatchetteBooksIreland.

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This is such a good book and I will admit I wasn't sure whether I would like it or not!

This is a story about getting older and second guessing every decision you have made and I must say that it is so real and brings so many issues into it that we all go through at some stage that I found it to be a refreshing read.

Its very well written and I absolutely love the cover!

Thanks to Netgalley and Hachette Ireland for an arc copy in exchange for an honest review.

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I couldn't put it down, despite the fact that it's not my usual genre! It was insightful without being pretentious and relatable without being predictable. The protagonist was developed in such an honest way, I can't help but wonder if she was based off of the author (a faithful subscriber over here) or simply a fantastically written character. I will admit that I found one or two characters a little bit cliché, HOWEVER this did serve the purpose of the story and the protagonist's character development. The entire novel was so refreshing and the elements of casual magic (not to be confused with magical realism) were very original.

You should be tremendously proud of yourself, Melanie. I simply couldn't keep my hands off of my kindle. All the best with the release!

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Melanie's first novel was a total delight and a compelling page-turner. The premise is something we've all surely wondered: what if I'd made some other choice at a pivotal moment in my life? It's Sliding Doors with agency. Watching this novel's heroine visit alternate versions of her life, learning something crucial from each one, was heart-wrenching and heart-warming. The cast of characters is diverse and charming, the voice is alternately thoughtful and funny, and the pacing is crisp. I look forward to more novels from Melanie!

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Firstly I honestly loved this book so much! Thank you so much to Melanie Murphy, Hachette books Ireland and Netgalley for a review copy. It's published on June 6th.

I think this book is a great combination of a kind of 'chick lit' book (but I kind of dislike that term, so contemporary fiction maybe?) and magical realism. I really liked the premise, as someone that has definitely had moments where I've thought 'what if...' it really resonates. I generally liked Erin as a character, I think that the things she goes through are pretty relatable. Also she's a really real character, she's not a perfect cliched main character (which is a pet peeve of mine), she actually has personality. Also the other characters are brilliant, I loved Granny, Reid, Finn and Rachel.

Overall I think the narrative works really well, I was sucked into the story line and motivated to keep reading and see what happened next. I felt like this book produced so many emotions, it definitely has heart. It's got a fair bit of representation too particularly for mental health and there are lgbt+ characters, which is great. I'm trying to fault the book but I honestly can't, nothing stood out as particularly annoying or bad. I above all else like a good story and characters and this definitely has them. (5/5 stars)

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Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the wonderful chance to read 5his book for an honest review in return.

Have you even wondered what would happen if you'd taken a different path in life? How it would change your whole world and to see if it would have been better than how you live now?

Erin has been given this chance.

With a necklace gifted to her by her grandmother on her thirtieth birthday, she is able to discover what would have happened if she had decided to go other ways in life by taking the road not taken. Not all outcomes may be what she expected, but they all teach her something in the end.

A new way to learn about life and yourself, 'If Only' is a wonderful read. Emersive and relatable, and not wanting to put it down, I would gladly recommend this book to all.

Melanie's characters bring a sudden life to themselves that I felt I was there beside them through it all. Heartfelt, gripping and answers questions you may not even have know you wanted answered, I already can't wait to curl up and delve back into this beautiful read.

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This book really hit me in the right place, being older than the Erin I think I connected with her so much. A story about second guessing your choices and what ifs in life. A lovely story with a nice touch of humour , this book pulls you in from the first page , a wonderful debut, can’t wait for more from Melanie.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion

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If Only... Who hasn't thought, "If only I'd..." or, "What if I had..." I think it's only natural for us to consider how different choices might have led to different outcomes - be they big or small. And that's what Erin (the main character) does here.

I went in without knowing anything and enjoyed that experience, so please allow me to be purposely vague: If Only focuses on Erin, her granny, and her friend group. I loved them all. The characters were really well-developed.

Erin's living in London, and has just walked away from her fiancé. Woof. Y'all - this part was NOT easy for me to read. Murphy really captured the emotions you might feel at the end of a long-term relationship - one you thought would lead to marriage. But that's where I think this author shines: SO much of this book made me *feel* things.

Also I wanted like another 300 pages. Don't get me wrong - it's not a cliffhanger or unsatisfying ending, I just wanted to hang with these characters longer. (Oh and there's a bit of magical realism, which I only mention because sometimes that ruins a book for me but I felt that it worked well here.)

Have I said enough yet? Really recommend this one if any of the above sounds interesting & you're not allergic to romance.

Thank you NetGalley and Hachette Books Ireland for an e-arc of this title for review!

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Erin has just broken up with her fiance, has a job she hates, and is jealous of her new flatmate who is basically everything she isn't. On the bright side, she has a fantastic friend in Reid, has just discovered her childhood friend Finn has moved to the same building, and is about to celebrate her thirtieth birthday with her beloved grandmother in Ireland. But her granny has a surprise for her: a special pendant that can give her the opportunity to briefly live a life she could have had that will change how she sees her reality.

I love the premise of this book. Who hasn't wondered what their life would have been like if they'd made a different decision? I wouldn't mind my own pendant, though I think it would drive me as nuts as it did Erin when she first received it. It is eye opening, though, what a glimpse into another life can give you. At the same time, it can also help one see how right reality can be for one. I loved that Erin explored a few possibilities, but kept coming back to how different her life in them was from what she loved about her reality. As a reader, I will always wonder about the if onlys, but reading this also makes me appreciate where my choices have led me and makes me think this is where I'm supposed to be.

The majority of this book takes place in London, and the characters feel like regular people out walking on the streets. Their speech was sometimes a little hard to follow and figure out since it just felt so very British, but I was charmed by the authenticity and how the author didn't try to clean up their speech to make it more clear. It felt like I was listening in on someone's life, and I loved it. One thing that bothered me a little, though, was when other characters would point out how Irish Erin was at times. As an American who doesn't know the fine differences between being Irish and British, I had no clue what the character was talking about. There was no way I could tell what was British and what was Irish.

One interesting thought that kept striking me while I read, though, was how much it kept making me think of the movie Love, Actually. I don't know if it was the setting or how the characters spoke or how, in it's own way, the story revolved around love and friendship, but it made me smile and want to keep reading.

I really loved how the structure was very different from what I had expected. When Erin was presented with the pendant and told she would only have seven views, I expected the chapters to, more or less, alternate between views and reality. Instead, I got an Erin who was torn between being terrified of using the pendant and wanting desperately to glimpse what different decisions would have brought. Most of the book was spent with her debating whether to use it and her living her life and moving forward, creating her own unique family and place in the world. What I didn't like were the time jumps immediately after the chapters detailing her pendant use. I would have liked a bit about her digesting and unpacking what she saw and how it might impact her reality.

Overall, this was a delightful novel, one I would probably read over and over. The characters felt familiar in that they could be anyone with the same problems and questions and regrets. I loved the way Erin used the pendant and how it impacted the way she saw her reality, and I commend her lack of impulse to use all seven tries. I loved how this book highlighted the fact that we all have wondered "what if" or "if only" and suggested that perhaps the life we are currently living is the one meant for us anyways and that we must continually move forward.

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Hatchette Books Ireland for a free copy. All opinions expressed here are my own

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I loved this book so much, such a lighted hearted lovely read that I needed! Such an amazing debut that I would recommend again and again. Looking forward to reading Melanie Murphy’s next book.

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