The Impossible Truths of Love

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Pub Date 05 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 19 Oct 2021
Amazon Publishing UK, Lake Union Publishing

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From bestselling author Hannah Beckerman comes a moving story about memory, secrets, and what it really means to feel that you’re one of the family.

When Nell’s father makes a deathbed declaration that hints at a long-held secret, it reignites feelings of isolation that have plagued her for years. Her suspicions about the family’s past only deepen when her mother, Annie, who is losing her memories to dementia, starts making cryptic comments of her own.

Thirty-five years earlier, Annie’s life was upended by a series of traumas—one shock after another that she buried deep in her heart. The decisions she made at the time were motivated by love, but she knew even then that nobody could ever understand—let alone forgive—what she did.

As the two women’s stories unravel, a generation apart, Nell finally discovers the devastating truth about her mother’s past, and her own.

In this beautifully observed and emotionally powerful story of identity, memory and the nature of family, Hannah Beckerman asks: To what lengths would you go to protect the ones you love?

From bestselling author Hannah Beckerman comes a moving story about memory, secrets, and what it really means to feel that you’re one of the family.

When Nell’s father makes a deathbed declaration...

A Note From the Publisher

Hannah Beckerman is an author, journalist and broadcaster. She is a book critic and features writer for a range of publications including the Observer, the Guardian and the FT Weekend Magazine. A regular chair at festivals and events across the UK, she has interviewed a host of authors and celebrities, as well as appearing as a book pundit on BBC Radio 2 and Times Radio. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Hannah worked in television as a producer and commissioning editor. The Impossible Truths of Love is her third novel.

Hannah Beckerman is an author, journalist and broadcaster. She is a book critic and features writer for a range of publications including the Observer, the Guardian and the FT Weekend Magazine. A...

Advance Praise

“WONDERFUL. I read The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman in one gulp. The intrigue at this book’s heart genuinely ‘got’ me.” —Marian Keyes, author of Grown Ups

“Hannah Beckerman’s writing is utterly superb: so finely crafted. I was gripped from the start and couldn’t put it down. I LOVED this book and will be recommending it to everyone.” —Ruth Jones, author of Never Greener and writer / star of Gavin and Stacey

“This is an accomplished, moving, and deeply felt novel. I found myself thinking of it during the days and savouring it as I read it. It’s affecting, elegiac, and highly relatable. Hannah Beckerman is the real deal.” —Alex Michaelides, author of The Silent Patient

“A page turner of a story, deeply felt, finely woven, and sharp as a tack about the unspoken conflict and isolation within families, as well as the lengths people can be driven by both love and loss. It made me think too about the nature of memory; about what exactly we own and what we assume or even imagine. It’s an unflinching book and all the better for it.” —Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

“So beautifully written, involving, and utterly heartbreaking.” —Rosamund Lupton, author of Three Hours

“Masterfully written and hugely powerful.” —Adam Kay, author of This is Going to Hurt

“This is a beautiful and heartbreaking novel about loss, family, and grief.” —Kate Mosse, founder of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and author of The City of Tears

“Skillfully entwining the private lives of mother Annie and daughter Nell, The Impossible Truths of Love is not only a story of love, but also of duty, character, identity. You will turn the pages of this rich and moving novel with a full heart.” —Louise Candlish, author of The Heights

“Powerful, beautiful, and exquisitely written.” —Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

“A bold and moving story of tangled family lives, the awful things that parents do to compensate for grief, and the way, despite all efforts, the truth comes out. Poignant, dark, and horrifyingly plausible.” —Amanda Craig, author of The Golden Rule

“A heartfelt story of secrets, past trauma, sorrow, and love, The Impossible Truths of Love explores the true meaning of tangled family ties—impossibly tender.” —Lucy Atkins, author of Magpie Lane

“Utterly beautiful, desperately moving. This book is a finely crafted emotional powerhouse that will keep you up all night, desperate to discover what happens.” —Kate Hamer, author of Crushed

“A gripping mystery about one ordinary family and a devastating secret. This story is compassionate, beautifully written, and had me hooked from the start.” —Louise Hare, author of This Lovely City

“This is such a beautiful book. Moving, poignant, and compassionate, it forces the reader to consider how far they would go to protect the ones they love.” —Louise O’Neill, author of After the Silence

“Beautifully written, emotionally charged story of family and secrets that had me hooked to the end.” —Dreda Say Mitchell, author of Say Her Name

“A fast-paced family story…I couldn’t put it down.” —Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love and Everyone Is Still Alive

“WONDERFUL. I read The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman in one gulp. The intrigue at this book’s heart genuinely ‘got’ me.” —Marian Keyes, author of Grown Ups

“Hannah Beckerman’s writing...

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Featured Reviews

An emotional journey of loss, heartbreak and discovering long hidden truths from the past. Told in a split timeline this book is both nostalgic and reflective. When you have felt that you never belonged there is usually a reason. An amazing read.

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Happy Publishing Day! What a beautiful, touching, sad, truly realistic story of daughters, parents, sisterhood, missing changes, broken hearts and broken lives!

Nell is the main character of the story, a struggling woman with successful academic career. It was so easy to relate with her: especially her characteristic traits: how she’s raised by elder parents and how hard to become a little child of the family when she grows up along with her big sisters: feeling left behind, excluded, forcing herself to act more mature and grow faster than her own age ( I personally struggled with those predicaments and complex feelings, too.)

Her father is the only one supported her for the choices she’s made. She studied Psychological Sciences at Oxford University and after seventeen years later she became remarkable associate professor in stem cell therapies. Her choice to leave away from her family is always criticized by her own sisters who like to make snarky comments about anything she achieves, bottling up their resentments, feeling jealous of her freedom.

Now the only person she can truly communicate, her dear father Bill is in palliative care, about to die in a few days. Before her father dies, he tells her something unexpected. A secret: that makes no sense. But did her father mean? Could she learn the truth from her mother Annie who is suffering dementia. Could she be a reliable narrator of their life story?

But Nell already gets intrigued. She has to know the truth. As she digs deeper to find out the family secrets, we move backwards in 35 years to learn more about Bill and Annie’s story. Something so tragic happens to Annie which affects everything in her life, damages their marriage and unfortunately this is not the only tragedy the couple has to endure!

This is sad, powerful, strikingly emotional story. The words directly come out from depths of author’s heart. They’re genuine, unique, resonating, pure, real! Definitely a touching family drama you shouldn’t miss out!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

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A really thought provoking, emotional and poignant piece of writing. Tackles taboo subjects sensitively and beautifully with care and love. Just beautiful.

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The Imposed Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman

An intense read of family secrets untold. love and heartache mainly through the eyes of Nell.
Nell had always had the sense of something missing from her family , a terrible secret that has never been spoken about . On visiting her dying father he speaks about something that sends Nell off on a quest to find out the story.
I enjoyed the story which was poignant and heartbreaking at times , and it truly showed that some families are not always as they seem.

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The Impossible Truths of Love explores family secrets, love, grief, and the coming to terms of them. Before Nell was born her parents suffered a dreadful tragedy that she has never known about but which affected her mother immensely. When Nell visits her father on his deathbed he makes a surprising remark that sends her off to explore the meaning of. Her mother is now suffering from dementia and her memory has failed while her two older sisters appear resentful of the fact that Nell was the favoured child and cannot throw any light on her dilemma.

Once again, a beautifully written story from Hannah Beckerman. Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing for a free Advanced Review Copy of this book. I haven’t read this author before, but after this stunning read, I’ll be sure to check out her other stuff.

This is one of those reviews where I can’t say too much without putting in spoilers. Suffice it to say, this is a WOW read that I would have read in one sitting if life had allowed. As it was, I finished this amazing novel in two stints.

The narrative is split between “then” and “now” and follows the main character, Nell, and her mother, Annie.

Nell’s father is dying of cancer, which has taken him down at speed. Meanwhile Annie has developed Dementia. Nell’s world has turned upside down already, and then her father says something on his deathbed that changes everything she thought she knew about her life. The rest of the story unfolds from there, and the truth is revealed in stages via each trip back in time.

Here are some lines that stood out for me …

“Her breath smells tired, musty, like air that has been trapped in a room for too long.”

And …

“… the urgency creeping around the corners of her consonants.”

And …

“… bland euphemisms filling the space where her worst fears lie.”

And …

“The rest of Bill’s question hangs in the air, unsure whether it wants to settle or fly away.”

I could go on. The imagery, description, and emotion in this is superbly done. The Impossible Truths of Love gets a resounding five stars from me. Go and read this book!


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

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3.5 stars. This is a novel of family love and to what lengths members of a family will go to keep that love strong and intact. Nell, a young woman who is dealing with her mother’s increasing dementia, hears her father on his deathbed tell her "You need to know that I've always loved you even though you were never really mine to love.” As she works with her sisters in clearing their parents’ house after her father’s death and her mother’s move to a care facility, she begins to unravel what secrets have lain hidden in her family’s past — and why they did.

This is a heartwarming story that I enjoyed. My only quibble is that some of the introspective scenes (and this novel is really a series of many introspective scenes) are far too long. All in all, though, this was a good read, and I look forward to reading more from this author.

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A book of identity, family, and love. Gripping and compelling, it manages to avoid the usual tropes, and is fresh and up to date.

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Packs an emotional punch right from the beginning.
A dual timeline story that works really well.
There's a lot of love in this book that shines through.
For me,I think the star of this book is solid,dependable Bill,who seemed like the best man.
Families are complicated,and this one more so than others.

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4.5 stars. What a lovely, heart-rending story about the nature of identity, family, and love. I received this ARC yesterday, and finished the book today (on publication day). It was such a good book that I could not put it down.

Right before her father passes, he tells Nell, "You need to know that I've always loved you even though you were never really mine to love." Nell has no idea what her dad means, and her mom's dementia means that her mom is not reliable. Told in two timelines: Now, when Nell and her sisters are adults, their father has just passed away, and their mother is battling dementia; and Then, when Nell is an infant, the storylines converge at the end in a tangle of overwhelming love.

"When Nell’s father makes a deathbed declaration that hints at a long-held secret, it reignites feelings of isolation that have plagued her for years. Her suspicions about the family’s past only deepen when her mother, Annie, who is losing her memories to dementia, starts making cryptic comments of her own.

Thirty-five years earlier, Annie’s life was upended by a series of traumas—one shock after another that she buried deep in her heart. The decisions she made at the time were motivated by love, but she knew even then that nobody could ever understand—let alone forgive—what she did.

As the two women’s stories unravel, a generation apart, Nell finally discovers the devastating truth about her mother’s past, and her own.

In this beautifully observed and emotionally powerful story of identity, memory and the nature of family, Hannah Beckerman asks: To what lengths would you go to protect the ones you love?"

Thanks to NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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This is a beautiful and haunting read. It is a touching account of family; motherhood, daughters and parents, tragedy and trauma.

The narrative is shared between Nell and her mother, Annie. Annie is speaking from the past and Nell is focused on the present day where she is dealing with the loss of her father and Annie's deteriorating mental health. A comment made by Nell's father before he died and some things her mother says, cause Nell to re-examine her life .

The novel is richly descriptive, tenderly written and contains wonderfully created characters. There are elements which are difficult to read but they are treated with respect and dignity.

I recommend The Impossible Truths of Love very highly.

Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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A very emotionally charged novel.... grips you from the start. Nell is in her thirties and gets a death bed confession from her father that doesn't make any sense.... on top of losing her father, her mother is suffering from dementia and begins to drop confusing comments. Loved how this novel was structured with the dual-point of views between Nell and Annie (her mother), the story slowly unfolds from the past to present. I loved this set up, as a reader each chapter pulls you into the story further and it truly kept me guessing till the end. Beckerman nailed the feelings and emotional state of Annie's loss and really captured the roller-coaster of motherhood and all that is felt. I loved how Nell kind of goes on her own scavenger hunt in her parent's house and slowly uncovers snippets of information that make her second-guess the life she has ever known and the family she thought she knew. The ending was absolutely perfect - as I said, I was guessing till the end but Beckerman took a heart wrenching topic and kind of lifted the entire mood by the end, giving you closure and a feeling of triumph for Nell. Warnings: infant loss, postpartum depression.

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This was a painful but fabulous read about mum Annie and daughter Nell told in dual perspectives of Annie from prior to Nell’s birth and from Nell in the current day struggling to make sense of her dying fathers last words to her. Although I did anticipate what the underlying problem was from the start it was good to read it play out from Annie’s viewpoint and read Nell very gradually unravelling the mystery. This is a very heartfelt look at loss and family ties and the impossible situation is empathetically told.

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An emotional story about family, illness and truths.
Nell is the youngest in her family and has never felt as if she truly fit in.
Her mother always doted on her and never allowed or encouraged Nell to go on class functions, and gatherings outside of her family.
But... why? Told in dual timelines we start to learn the answers.
Her father is now in the present, terminal, and has a final sentence to Nell that rocks her world as she sits at his bedside.
Her mother is not much help, as she has dementia and each day is losing more of herself.

When Nell begins her search to look for answers, she will find so much more!

Well done and definitely not what I was expecting as I read quickly to get to the answers with this woman and her family. There are many twists that kept me guessing even when I was sure I knew the end!

I loved how even while lost in dementia, we ofter can find bits of the past that come through.
This was well described and definitely heartfelt!
I truly enjoyed this book!

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I really enjoyed reading this book.

Nell is the main character. She has a successful academic career at Oxford. As a child she felt left behind as her sisters were much older, and her parents had her when they were older.

Her dad is very supportive of her. She is renowned for her work in stem cell therapies. Her sisters are resentful that she moved away and are very jealous of her success and freedom. They enjoy making negative comments about her any opportunity they get.

Her dad, Bill, is in palliative care, with only a few days left. He tells her a secret that makes no sense to her. Her mum, Annie, is suffering from dementia. What help can she be?

Nell has to know the truth. We go back 35 years in time. Something tragic has happened to Annie that affects everything.

This is a poignant and intriguing story. It is very well written. I was very taken with it and read it over a short period. I highly recommend this book to others.

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. (less

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On his deathbed, Nell’s father alludes to a long held family secret. Her mother’s quickly advancing dementia makes it difficult for Nell to find the truth. Told in dual timelines, then and now, we see how the secret came to be but not before our heart gets ripped out in some of the most gut wrenching scenes. There were moments that felt a little predictable but overall this is an excellent story of family drama, a parent’s love, and desperation.

“Grief, she is learning, is love’s echo: it is not possible to have one without the other.”

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Hannah Beckerman's novel, The Impossible Truths of Love, is compelling reading. Rather than romantic love, this beautifully written story is focused on parental love, of every kind. I hardly know where to begin. My own emotions are in such a turmoil having completed this novel, that a mere summary cannot do it justice. I loved this novel. The twin narratives, separated by time and memory, are beautifully complex and yet also incredibly simple. These are two stories of love and the secrets that families try so hard to hide. Beckerman's narrative made me wish that I could have had a re-do on parenting; while at the same time, I relived the loss of my own baby so many years ago. Dredging up those memories tells me that Beckerman's writing contains the power to reach deeply into her readers' psyche. This was a terrific novel. I want to thank the author, publisher, and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and reveal this ARC. It was a privilege to have read Beskerman's novel, The Impossible Truths of Love.

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I read this book very quickly as the story is absorbing and I really wanted to know what was going to happen to the likeable Nell, the main character. There is a lot going on in her life, her parents are both ill, she isn't sure about her boyfriend, her sisters are several years older and not very nice to her, and then suddenly she has a shock from her Dad's last words to her which throw everything out even further. You follow clues all the way through the book, trying to work out what happened, what is happening - just as Nell follows clues about her family. It's a mystery story in some senses, but without any ramping up of suspense at all as you know that the writer will reveal everything in the end and you will know eventually

I liked the structure of the book which flipped between the past and the present. I don't want to include too many spoilers, but it was interesting to get to know the young woman of the past who is also the elderly woman with dementia in the present and try to see both at the same time. Both the past and the present were interesting stories and the book has a good heart and the emotions are authentic not manipulated or manufactured. You felt someone was writing who knew these things or who had some knowledge of them.

There is a lot of sadness in this book, and some people might find the content about loss quite upsetting because you care about these characters and it's not easy to see them suffer and also you might have had similar losses in your own life which will make it hard to read. There are no villains in this book but it's a book which speaks plainly and with authority. The only thing that frustrated me was the ending. I knew it was coming and there wasn't time enough left to deal with it, but I so wanted that final scene to happen in the book and see how it played out! If you read the book you will see what I mean because so much of it leads up to that final scene and then you are left to imagine after everything had been described in great detail throughout the book to that point. I understand, though - it is best to be left wanting more and the final scene would play out in the way you'd expect and I doubt there would be any surprises. Always leave your reader wanting more!

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The struggles grab you from the get-go. I was immediately invested in the family struggles. I thought telling their story in a series of back and forth between the past and present brought a deeper context to their dynamic and created more tension. It’s a book that stays with you.

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This is one of the most beautifully written books that I’ve ever read.
It’s emotionally charged, touching and hugely engaging. The intrigue in this book meant that I had to keep reading until I finished,
I could and I certainly will read this book again.
It might even be one of my favourites. What an amazing book.

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I think I have a new favorite author! What a pleasant surprise Hannah Beckerman's The Impossible Truths of Love was. A totally unexpected novel about what constitutes love of family, parents and siblings. and the heart wrenching effects of the grief over losing a child.. Beckerman writes about it as if she had experienced it herself and I can relate as I have lived through it. You may get used to it, but you never get over it so Annie and Bill's experience is one that will make your cry.

But that's not all this book is about. It' contains a mystery, unexplained until the very end and I will not spoil it. You will have to read it for yourself. Nothing here hits any wrong notes. and at the end you must determine for yourself if Nell Hardy does the right thing.

Thanks to Lake Union for an uncorrected proof in exchange for my review.

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I'm not sure what originally drew me to this book, but once I started, it definitely fell in the hard to put down category. I identified with the main character who is an academic, moved away from home, and always felt different from her sisters. Her sisters always made the decisions and she was supposed to go along, quite a familiar dilemma. Her father makes an observation from his deathbed that leaves Nell wondering about everything.
The plot twists and turns are neatly connected yet takes your imagination on a roller coaster of an adventure. Kudos to the author for allowing me the privilege of an advance review copy and taking me along for the ride.

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On his death bed Nell's father whispered to her: “I want you to know that I’ve always loved you. I never stopped, even for a second. You have to believe that. You need to know that I’ve always loved you even thought you were never really mine to love.” Stunned and having no idea what he is talking about, Nell tries to get him to explain but the morphine has taken hold by then. At the same time that she is losing her father to cancer, Nell is losing her mother to Alzheimer’s Disease. She knows that her mother’s memory is not reliable enough to ask her what her father had meant.

Packing up her mother’s house in preparation of moving her to a senior care facility, Nell finds things that she has trouble making sense of. There are photo albums of her 2 older sister’s first years, but the albums of Nell begin much later. Why would that be? She also learns that there was a boy, born between her and her next older sister, who had died of SIDS. Why has she never heard of him? An old adoption flyer is crumpled up in a ball in the trash bag. What else doesn’t see know?

The story alternates chapters between “Then” and “Now” and through them we learn of the family’s history and its secrets, those long ago and those long kept. "Lies and truth are not always divisible they do not always fit into neat, separate, compartments”.

This book was well written and captivating - I could not put it down. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thank you to #LakeUnionPublishing and #NetGalley for this Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. Sale Date: October 2021

For more book reviews and recommendations follow me at #EmptyNestReader #instagram #facebook #Goodreads #TheImpossibleTruthsofLove #HannahBeckerman #mysteryfiction #ebooks #familysaga #ARC #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagramalabama #bookstagrammichigan #bookreviews #bookreviewer #bookrecommendations #OctoberReads #readalittlelearnalittlelivealittle

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Thanks to the publishers and Net Galley for my free e-copy

From the very beginning we know that something terrible has happened in the past to a yet unknown woman and a new born baby. The book is set as a dual timeline, between the past and present , between a mother and daughter.

As Nell the daughter visits her ailing Dad in hospital, he makes a mysterious statement that she can't seem to make sense of or shake off

The language is powerful and the books has topics that cover heavily of death, raw grief. I thought it was very well written, heartfelt and emotional.

Over the course of a few days we follow the family as their history changes and secrets are revealed.

This book definitely kept me wanting to read more and was utterly heartbreaking at points

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Get out the violins from page 1 on. Way too much heavy feeling and repetition! I gave up 30% of the way through the book as it was just more drama, more characters I didn't like and an easy to figure out plot.

Nell is the odd sister out in more ways than none and this is driven home by her dying dad's last words and a very bitchy older sister. Already, it's enough to make you pull your hair out!

Thank you NetGalley for an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest opinion.

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A touching and heart-warming novel about lost babies, grieving parents and enduring love.
The novel switches between Nell’s life as a 35 year old and her childhood with her parents Annie and Bill.
We know that a secret underpins her early life but the truth gradually unfolds through the novel.
This novel really grew on me; it was always enjoyable but about halfway through the plot took a swerve and the characters really came to life. It went from a solid four stars to a good five.
I read the second half at break-neck speed!
Recommended: an intriguing plot about family secrets and a tragic story that you won’t see coming.

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One of those stories that has you gripped from the start mainly because the characters engage so well and you want to know more. I did find the book way too long though and was glad to reach the ending which was a bit unsatisfactory .If the rest of the story had been more concise we might have got a bit of the what happened after I was interested in

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A powerful story of the private lives of mother Annie and daughter Nell, A page turner of a story, deeply felt, finely woven, and sharp as a tack about the unspoken conflict and isolation within families, as well as the lengths people can be driven by both love and loss.
Full of trauma and past secrets keeps you hooked to find out the truth at the end.
Would recommend.

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THE IMPOSSIBLE TRUTHS OF LOVE is a story of elderly parents facing rapid decline and their youngest daughter unraveling secrets about her family that she, somehow, failed to notice. At least that’s how the book carries on for much of the story. The characters are well-developed, the setting believable but something is a bit off for this daughter, Nell, notably different from the rest of her family in brains and appearance. This nagging sense of something-not-quite-right increases as the book progresses and for me, changed the nature of the book. It went from fiction to mystery to page-turner. The ending was completely a surprise to me. This was a great story. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

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I thought the emotional message was too heavy handed and the hints at the truth were not at all subtle. However, it was a gripping read, although I really did want to know more about what happened next.

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I really enjoyed this book, Thanks Net Galley and the publisher for the opportunity read this story in exchange for an honest review.
What does it mean to be a parent- is it biology, or is it years of love tenderness and nurturing that make us family? . When Nell’s father tells her he loves her, even though she isn’t his to love, on his deathbed, it opens up a whole can of worms. Unfortunately Nell’s mother Anne is in advanced stages of dementia, and is rarely lucid. As Nell ponders the meaning of his words, she uncovers family secrets that were kept from her. There is right and wrong, choices made that haunt those involved for the rest of their lives.
Side note- once again we have a woman who is not believed when she tells them something that doesn’t fit with conventions. Can we please just believe women?

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Nell is losing her father Bill to cancer and her mother Annie to dementia. The always strained relations between her and her sisters Laura and Clare are tauter than ever, and amidst all this escalating anxiety a family mystery of all-encompassing depth threatens to wedge a distance even between Nell and her boyfriend Josh. From her position as Associate Professor in stem cell therapies at UCL, to the domestic day to day of Annie's increasingly disheveled recollections, everything about this suspenseful drama was so believable, I can't wait to read more by Hannah Beckerman.

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‘I want you to know that I have always loved you.’

On his deathbed, Nell Hardy’s father Bill makes a mysterious declaration to his youngest daughter Nell. He says:

‘I want you to know that I’ve always loved you […] You need to know that I’ve always loved you even though you were never really mine to love.’

Shortly after, before Nell has an opportunity to ask him what he means, Bill dies. Perhaps her mother Annie knows, but she has recently been diagnosed with dementia and communicating with her is challenging.

The story shifts between the present, where Annie is coming to terms with her father’s death and her mother’s dementia, and the past where Annie is overwhelmed by a series of traumatic events. In the present, Annie and her older sisters Clare and Laura are packing, preparing their family home for sale as Annie will move into care. And Nell wonders about what her father said and what it could mean. The three sisters are not close: Nell is 11 years younger than Clare, and 7 years younger than Laura. Nell has had opportunities that her sisters have not, and Clare in particular seems to resent this.

In the past we meet Annie and Bill as a young married couple. Clare and Laura are young, and Annie wants to have another child. What follows is a series of tragedies and secrets, devastating events which ripple through many lives into the present.

‘Grief, she is learning, is love’s echo: it is not possible to have one without the other.’

I found this story moving and wondered how I would deal in a similar situation. I admired Bill’s resilience, felt sad for Annie, and wondered where the truth would lead Nell.


Note: My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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A really good story which left you wondering what happened next. Very emotionally charged throughout.

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I was excited to receive an advance copy of The Impossible Truths of Love, having previously read and loved Hannah Beckerman’s If Only I Could Tell You. Unusually, I only glanced at the blurb and immersed myself.

What a book. Nell’s father is dying of cancer and her mother has an aggressive form of dementia which is stealing her memories at pace. A comment from her father throws Nell’s world off balance and into a maze of what may have happened in her family at a time when asking others for answers offers little return.

Told over 2 timelines, Nell tried to unpick what may have happened in the current day and her parents, Annie and Bill, fill in the blanks from her earlier life. I haven’t been able to put it down.

Beautifully written and utterly compelling. 4.5*. It may be a tough read to anyone with kids or moreover if they have lost a child.

Thanks to Amazon Publishing, Lake Union and Netgalley for the ARC.

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When a book lingers in my mind and I keep turning over my reaction to it I know that it's hit the spot! I could feel Annie's pain and desperation, feel her love for her child, this is the best sort of writing from the best sort of author. Truly wonderful word pictures.

I initially found it hard to get involved with the book as the characters didn't come alive for me, I found the lack of relationship between the sisters and the deathbed revelation rather unbelievable but when I got into the second half, when Annie has given birth to Nell, my opinion changed and I was completely absorbed from that point onwards. The anguish that Annie suffers, the fact that she can't make herself heard and then her gradual acceptance is beautifully done.

I wish I could say more but it's difficult without giving too much away, suffice it to say that I'm sure I would have done exactly the same as Annie and that's why the story is still at the forefront of my thoughts... what if it had happened to me...

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A deathbed confession, well, not really but a deathbed conundrum is what Bill Hardy gave to his daughter Nell and one that she simply can't forget.

I absolutely adored this read, which is quite unlike my normal choice of reading matter. Why? Well it had a keen eye for observation of family relationships, the secrets that are buried in the most conventional of surroundings along with the contrariness of emotions.

At the time we are reading Annie, Nell's mother is suffering with early-onset dementia and is unable to respond to Nell's enquiries but as the reader we go back in time to hear Annie's voice from before Nell was born. Her story is heart-breaking and has a strong thread of realism running through it.

This story of love, loss and siblings is outstanding and I highly recommend it.

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This is the second novel I've read by Hannah Beckerman and I was so thrilled to receive this digital ARC. Beckerman writes so beautifully and with such love, compassion and empathy for her characters. I was completely drawn into the life of Nell and her family- her recently deceased father, her mother living with dementia and her two older sisters. Nell is close to her parents but has always felt a little on the outside of the relationship with her sisters. The words of her father just before he dies lead her to believe there is a family secret and the novel focuses on this. This was such an emotional read for me, it touched on many issues in my own life- including bereavement and challenging sibling relationships. Beckerman also sensitively deals with dementia, caring for older family members and post partum depression. However these are not 'issues' in a Beckerman novel but parts of family life that are portrayed gently but deeply. A beautiful and recommended read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this digital ARC.

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This is Hannah Beckerman’s third novel, but the first that I’ve read. From start to finish this book was filled with raw emotion. I’ve never experienced the loss and trauma that Annie did as a young mother, but through this work I felt the pain that she suffered, and felt really, really sad for her. Thirty five years later, Annie’s husband declares his love to Nell, his third daughter from his deathbed, which leads Nell to explore her past and family origins, whilst enduring the loss of her much loved father, and the tense relationship with her two older sisters Clare and Laura. It becomes apparent that Nell is different to her sisters, and throughout her childhood she’s been protected and held closely by her mother – is that what has led her to move away from the family home?
Elsa has worked with Nell’s father for many years, and is very fond of Nell – at times, it’s hinted that her relationship with the family may be more than employee/business partner – encouraging the reader to want to find out more.
I found myself questioning the circumstances around Nell’s birth in 1986. I’m sure at that time more would have been done to help Annie and manage/explore her situation more (trying not to give away spoilers!)
I was emotionally invested in this book, the rawness of Annie’s pain and suffering as a new mother drew me in, but also the challenges faced by Nell as she explores her past and family origins. Truly a page turner, I don’t normally enjoy books that flip from THEN and NOW, but Beckerman has done this well, and the pieces of the puzzle come together.
I read this book in only a couple of days, it’s easy to read, and the characters are likeable, however I felt short-changed with the ending – it’s not what I was hoping for – although may be what the author is hoping for – because a couple of days later I’m still thinking of this book, and wondering …
This is a great read and I highly recommend it – off now to read the others of Hannah Beckerman.
Thank you to Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for this ARC.

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Nell's dad, Bill is dying of cancer, on his death bed he says to her "You need to now that I have always loved you even though you were never really mine to love." Unfortunately Nell's mother, Annie has early on-set dementia and cannot answer Nell's namy questions about her father's statement. This beautiful story is told in two time lines of Now and Then and the book is from Nell and Annie's point of view.

The then chapters were so heartbreakingly sad and what poor poor Annie went through all those years ago. The writing was so real I truly felt Annie's pain. The now chapters had me cheering Nell on to find out the truth about her background. I didn't like Nell's sisters very much, they were bitches to be honest. I read this story in one sitting, it had my emotions all over the place and I liked that it touched on some major issues with heart. I highly recommend this very emotive read. All. The. Stars.

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This book was morbidly depressing for the sake of it - not a pleasant read. I didn't feel like the rest of the book's substance made up for the miserable hour and a half I spent on it, though the plot twist was somewhat interesting.

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This is such a gripping and emotive read about some sensitive and hard hitting family issues. It was raw, breath taking and awe inspiring, I couldnt put it down.

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Nell has always felt different to her family despite being cherished by her parents. Her sisters live locally but Nell went to university and moved away to a high achieving job. Chance words from her dad make her wonder where exactly she came from. It’s a good tale that keeps us guessing and involved.

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Nell is by the bedside of her dying father when he tells her how much he loves her 'even though you were never mine to love.' These turn out to be his last words to her and she is left with a sense of mystery which deepens when her mother, struggling with Alzheimer's, lets slip some other information which challenges everything Nell thought she know about herself and her family.

The novel is written in turn from the perspectives of Nell in the present day and Annie, her mother, over thirty years earlier. We see Nell struggle with the mystery of what her father said to her and we also see Annie struggle with grief and depression. This becomes quite repetitive at times and I'm afraid I was totally unmoved by Annie's grief because of this. I found I didn't engage with any of the characters until near the end when Nell came to life a bit more and also when a subsidiary character took front stage.

This was a difficult book for me to like. It should have been heartrending but in fact the main emotion I felt was ennui at having to read about the same thing over and over. Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC.

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Thank you Netgalley and Amazon Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this.

This is a beautiful and heart-aching story to read. Told between 'Now' following Nell's thoughts, and 'Then' following Annie's thoughts, through their grief and tragedy's that follow and the impact it has on their life.

As you read on, you begin to understand the thought process and pain both characters go through, as more secrets are revealed, which ultimately makes them who they are at the end of the story.

Beautifully written. A definite must-read.

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The jacket of Impossible Truths of Love hints at long held family secrets, and I don't want to spoil anything for readers, but those secrets could have triggering potential for some. It ran a little heavy for me, but I think it was well written and will certainly touch the heartstrings of those it doesn't hit too close to home for.

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The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman

As Nell's dad lies in hospital dying of cancer he tells her that he always loved her, even though she was never really his to love. This sets off a chain of events as Nell tries to uncover what he meant by this. Nell's mum has dementia and is increasingly confused, so her comments raise more questions than they answer.

WOW! What a book, one of my favourites of the 70+ I have read this year! I raced through it as I had to find out what really happened and I guessed wrong at least 3 times! I loved the dual timeline, Nell's mum Annie in the past and Nell in the present, and the characters were all so well drawn. The writing was exquisite - such beautiful prose and some really heartbreaking descriptions of events. I'll be checking out other books by this author. Very highly recommended - an exceptional book!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.

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Lovely. Beautifully-written book about choices and love and family - primarily told through Nell, daughter to aging parents and sister to complicated siblings. I related to much of this as helping and watching aging parents is a sobering, scary, sad experience common to do many of us. There is a clever twist which is fine in a respectful way that doesn’t seem hokey or forced. I’ll read more from this wonderful author. So grateful to Lake Union / Amazon UK publishing for the advanced copy.

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Thanks to NetGalley for the preview of this book.

First, HARD warning. No where in the book description does this book indicate it is about loss, family members death, and dealing with grief. If you have recently experienced such a loss, or the loss of a child, this could be a very difficult book to read- it hits very close to home, and hits hard. I was unprepared.

Normally this is the type of book I really enjoy. Family saga, relationships, hidden secrets. It started off very good (with the exception of the hard gut punch from loss) and moving right along. But about half way through, the writer begins to unravel. In the interest of keeping suspense, she gets very wordy and begins talking in circles. I was getting impatient and thinking "enough already". A few of the story lines are a bit unrealistic in their pacing (pieces come together too conveniently), and one of the characters is unnecessarily mean. As the book moves on, she begins to repeat herself, and gets a bit preachy in the "lessons learned" section. By the last 10% I just wanted the book to be over. I get it, you've drilled the difficulties home! It is too bad, because with a little bit of editing, a bit of cutting, this book could have been very good all the way through. The book is emotional and exciting, but by the end it looses the rhythm.

I would try another book by this author, but I hope she would be a bit more practiced and brush it up a bit before publishing.

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Wow. Thanks to #NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review

Once I saw this recommended by #MarianRecomends I knew I wanted to read it. Fortunately a speedy response from the publisher was forthcoming * and I dived in straight away.
This is an emotional wringer. The ordinary family tale of a happily married couple, and the surprise pregnancy which brings Danny into the family. Life after that is never the same.
Told in my favourite style, the dual timeline: the slow unfold of the past, twinned with life in the ‘now’ , We see how the past impacted the lives of those in the present , even though they were unaware of all that had occurred. Insight into the characters slowly emerge like the pictures developing in a photographer’s dark room.

Now that her parents are ill, her dad hospitalised, her mum with dementia experiencing fleeting visits to her own past from the present day, Nell is trying to uncover the unnerving secrets across which she is stumbling during the inevitable house clearance.
Brilliantly heart rending.

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I have to confess I wasn’t convinced when I first started reading #TheImpossibleTruthsofLove by Hannah Beckerman. There were a few words I had to look up, which always alienates me. ( I worry that the book will be too high-brow for me and hard work.) If you feel the same, DO NOT let it put you off. The book is really accessible and engaging. Once I got into it I did not want to put it down and absolutely loved it.
This is Nell’s book, but the insight into her mother Annie’s life through the flashbacks were fascinating and well done. I really enjoyed joining Nell on her journey to try and understand her past and her place in her family. The story is clever and extremely moving.
Highly recommended.

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Every mother’s worst nightmare. It is impossible to imagine something so traumatic revisiting any woman. Yet for this mother a second series of events occur that will cast a long shadow over her life, her happiness and that of everyone in her family. A tragic mistake, bureaucracy intransigent in the face of any suggestion an error may have occurred , followed by a lifetime of events based on errors of judgement. A heartbreaking story from which there can be only losers. Any conclusion only more devastating than a train crash in slow motion whilst the reader awaits the final denouement. Many thanks to author, publisher and NetGalley for this ARC which has succeeded in drawing on every emotion possible. from a reader.

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I would describe this as a slow-moving, well-written mystery. It’s not at all like a typical mystery, but when Nell’s father makes a cryptic deathbed comment under the influence of morphine, Nell begins to wonder if there is something behind the statement that would explain why she’s always felt like such an outsider from her family. She’s several years younger than her older sisters, and she was so gifted in the sciences she went on to earn a Ph.D. in genetics research, wildly more educated than the rest of her family. When her mother, who is battling dementia, also makes strange remark in between moments of lucidity, Nell decides to investigate more.

The story alternates between the grief of the matriarch, Annie, after she loses her five-week-old son to sudden infant crib death and the present, in which Nell is grieving the loss of two parents because even though Annie is still alive, she doesn’t recognize her daughters much of the time.

My problem with this novel is that the grief of these two women is so well-written, I had no choice but to live their grief along with them, which made this such an unenjoyable read, and I simply couldn’t wait to be done with it. I speed read the last fourth just to get it over with.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this novel.

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Amazing book that tugs at your heartstrings and won't let go. Even having finished the book yesterday I can't get it out of my mind. So many social issues are touched on including dementia, adoption, and the inner workings of the family dynamic. The characters are engaging and the storyline well written.

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As I have loved this authors previous books I was eager to get this one started and I certainly wasnt disappointed , as it lived up to my expectation and more. This story touches on many sensitive subjects which takes you on a journey of love, loss, grief and dementia to name but a few.
Nell is the central character who is left bemused when her dying father Bill utters words that Nell cant comprehend and as her mother Annie is suffering from dementia Nell is forced to embark on a mission to seek out answers. This story is told through both Nell and Annie and both are written with raw emotion that is heart wrenching.
The Impossible Truths of Love is a fabulous tale that will stay with me for quite a while and is definitely worthy of 5 stars.
My thanks to Net Galley and the publishers for the digital ARC.

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To simplify, this is the story of Nell who was swapped as a baby when born. The swapping was not intentional but the carelessness of the hospital staff. Nell discovers this secret after her father passes away and her mom struggling with dementia. So she has to grapple with the sense of identity, her place in the family she has known all her life and grief.

I must say this book has been an interesting ride. Grief is the major theme. Losing one's parent to the unknown as well as losing a baby to SIDS aka Cot Death. So I would advise you to read with caution. I really liked the writing.

Despite dealing with heavy topics, it felt light, natural and sort of mysterious. I did enjoyed this book a lot which is unexpected. I particularly like the ending which lead to numerous possibilities. Overall, do give it a read when you want are in the mood to contemplate.

Thank you NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the ARC.

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What a wonderful page-turner!
Beautiful and heartbreaking in equal measures, The Impossible Truths of Love follows the story of Nell as she discovers her family have been keeping a secret from her.
What follows is a sensitively drawn story of grief and love and I don't mind admitting to reading some through watery eyes.
For Nell there is a mystery at the heart of her thread that had me turning the pages for answers, but Annie's story is equally gripping. Hannah Beckerman carefully weaves a picture of a grief stricken family that really touched me.

Thank you to NetGalley and to Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to read this advanced copy.

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A really beautiful and poignant read . When Nell's father Is dying he says something to her which unsettles her and as her mother has dementia she can't ask her what it was he meant. The story alternates between now and then and she discovers a secret that will have a great effect on her life. Dont want to spoil the the story by giving anything away but it is beautifully written and it tells of love,loss,family and holds your interest from the beginning. A brilliant 5🌟read I loved it

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This tale is of a young woman, Nell, who starts to query her biological relationship to her parents after her father offers a questionable statement on his deathbed. Nell questions if she is who she thought she was, her difficult relationships with her sisters and why her mother was always so protective of her.

It explores parental and sibling relationships and the secrets that families keep which become skeletons in closets. Nell uncovers some momentous family history that was kept from her by her parents.

I particularly liked Elsa's character, although there was doubt placed upon her role by Nell's mother Annie.
Plenty to keep you guessing in this story.

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Completely gripping, I struggled to put this story down. Told from two alternating perspectives in the past and present, it kept me guessing the whole way through. Well written a characters that made you care, unimaginable loss, love and family relationships. Just wonderful.

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Nell always felt like the odd family member out, but a deathbed confession from her dad “you were never really mine to love” has Nell very confused. Annie, Nell’s mother is suffering from dementia and is giving Nell very confusing messages. As Nell is trying to decipher these messages, she soon discovers that her mom has buried the most difficult heartbreaking parts of her past very deep.

This story is told in two different time frames “then” and “now.” And from two different perspectives Nell’s and her mom Annie’s. This book broke my heart! It was a beautiful story of family and love, and the bonds that bind you together. I thought the story was very well written, and even though it is not a thriller at all the mystery of the secret kept me guessing. I had a difficult time putting this down because I just had to know how it all played out.

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The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman. Tells the story of Nell who is with her dying father....I always loved you even though you were not mine to love. This was a well written story with Then and Now story lines. The characters are descriptive. You can feel the emotions emitted from the characters. The distain from Clare, confusion from mom with dementia and the depression after Danny's death and anxiety when it was her baby. Very well done. I will recommend this book. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book.

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A really beautiful book. The writing is just wonderful - so emotional and poignant. The characters are so well written and I really enjoyed the 2 different time lines and seeing the story develop. Just lovely.

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