If Only I Could Tell You

If Only I Could Tell You

by Hannah Beckerman

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Overview

“I loved it (even though it made me cry).”—Jojo Moyes

For fans of This Is Us comes a story of a family divided and the secret that can possibly unite them – a life-affirming novel with a twist will break your heart and an ending that will put it together again. 

 A secret between two sisters.

A lifetime of lies unraveling.

Can one broken family find their way back to each other?


Audrey’s dream as a mother had been for her daughters, Jess and Lily, to be as close as only sisters can be. But now, as adults, they no longer speak to each other, and Audrey’s two teenage granddaughters have never met. Audrey just can’t help feeling like she’s been dealt more than her fair share as she’s watched her family come undone over the years, and she has no idea how to fix her family as she wonders if they will ever be whole again.

If only Audrey had known three decades ago that a secret could have the power to split her family in two, and yet, also keep them linked. And when hostilities threaten to spiral out of control, a devastating choice that was made so many years ago is about to be revealed, testing this family once and for all.

Once the truth is revealed, will it be enough to put her family back together again or break them apart forever?

“Utterly compelling and completely heartbreaking. I couldn’t put it down.”
   — Ruth Hogan

“Totally engrossing, achingly sad and so perceptive about the corrosive legacy of family secrets.”—Kate Eberlen, author of Miss You

 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062890542
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/15/2019
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 47,961
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Hannah Beckerman studied English at King's College (London) for her undergraduate degree, and at Queen Mary  and Westfield (London) for her master's degree. She spent twelve years working in television, first as a producer for the BBC and subsequently as a commissioning editor for arts and documentaries at Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel USA. She lived in Bangladesh for two years, working for the BBC World Service Trust. She is now a full-time author and journalist as well as a book critic and features writer for the Observer, the FT Weekend Magazine and the Sunday Express. She is also a regular chair at literary festivals and events and has been a judge for numerous book prizes including the Costa Book Awards. If Only I Could Tell You is Hannah's second novel. She lives in London with her husband and daughter.

 

Customer Reviews

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If Only I Could Tell You: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
smweston 15 days ago
CW: cancer, suicide, loss of a parent, loss of a child, miscarriage, infertility I'd heard that this book was incredibly sad, but it just made me angry. I felt like this whole family riff was caused by some terrible parenting choices that just infuriated me. Props to the author for evoking such a reaction, but this book was not an enjoyable read. This book just wasn't for me. Thanks to William Morrow and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
KimberlyKESQ 3 months ago
"If Only I Could Tell You" by Hannah Beckerman is the lovely but heartbreaking story of Audrey and her two estranged adult daughters, Jess and Lily. Audrey, who is dying of cancer, desperately wants her daughters to reconcile. The story switches between the points of view of the three women and also between the past and present, but is never confusing and this method is very effective in building suspense toward the big reveal of why the sisters are estranged. The plot is very realistic, so much so that, at times, it was not easy for me to read because it triggered my emotions so deeply. This book deals with several heavy topics such as suicide, cancer, miscarriage, adultery, and the death of a child. This is a great book, but it is definitely not light reading! I give it 4/5 stars, subtracting a star because the story was a bit repetitive at times and the ending was fairly predictable.
nahyee 4 months ago
Publisher’s description: A secret between two sisters. A lifetime of lies unraveling. Can one broken family find their way back to each other? Audrey’s dream as a mother had been for her daughters, Jess and Lily, to be as close as only sisters can be. But now, as adults, they no longer speak to each other, and Audrey’s two teenage granddaughters have never met. Audrey just can’t help feeling like she’s been dealt more than her fair share as she’s watched her family come undone over the years, and she has no idea how to fix her family as she wonders if they will ever be whole again. If only Audrey had known three decades ago that a secret could have the power to split her family in two, and yet, also keep them linked. And when hostilities threaten to spiral out of control, a devastating choice that was made so many years ago is about to be revealed, testing this family once and for all. Once the truth is revealed, will it be enough to put her family back together again or break them apart forever? ************* Wow...just wow. Talk about feeling all the feels. Hannah Beckerman’s “If Only I Could Tell You” is the story of Audrey and her daughters Lily and Jess. Told from each of their viewpoints, intertwined through the entire book, we see all of their stories and get pieces of their secrets. I had a hunch about the big reveal, and I was trying to figure out how it was going to play out. But when the bomb finally dropped, I was just blown away. I really would never have guessed it. This is a heart-wrenching story of love and secrets and forgiveness and...oh, so much. This one will break your heart and it is totally worth it. I received an advance copy of this title from NetGalley and HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.
LoriKB 4 months ago
When you are a child, you remember things a certain way. You don’t think of other scenarios, just what you see. This is the problem go Jess. This action starts an almost 30 year estrangement between Jess and her sister, Lily. No one except Jess knows why and she’s not talking. This story unfolds as mother, Audrey, is fighting her own battle and wants to reunite her family. This novel was family drama, at its best/worst, all characters evolving and enfolding their own battles. Have tissues handy as your heart won’t be able to take all the drama. Well written. Every individual handles grief differently, this family is no different. Each situation will frustrate you and tug at your heart at the same time. The last chapter...oh my! Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC. Opinion is mine alone!
rcahill 5 months ago
How much would you endure to protect someone that you love? That is the question at the heart of this novel, If Only I Could Tell You. Adult sisters Jess and Lily have been estranged for decades by Jess’ choice, but now their mother Audrey has only been given months to live. Although this doesn’t change Jess’ mind, it sets events in motion that will change the entire family dynamic. As the adult sisters navigate their daily lives in modern times, we are given snippets of their lives growing up. As the deep dark secret of the family is revealed, it will become clear that nothing is what it seemed. The book asks you to consider the cost of keeping the secrets of others. This would be a great book club read!
Workerbee-Librarian 5 months ago
If Only I Could Tell You is about a festering secret kept for thirty years. That's made clear in the first two chapters. After a few more chapters of reading about arguments, sleepless nights, and endless tension, I was ready to scream, tell me, already! But Beckerman didn't tell until nearly the end. Instead she threw out red herrings to lead the reader in all the wrong directions. I thought I had it figured out about a third of the way in, but I was wrong. The mysterious secret isn't what kept me reading. It was the women, three different alternating voices, who were so well drawn they pulled me into their world and made me care what happened to each of them. This isn't a happy book. Beyond the main dark secret, it's full of tragedies great and small, all the scary things that we pray will never happen to us. Other reviewers have listed some of those family tragedies. I won't because they aren't what the story is about. If I Could Only Tell You is about women. It's about the choices we make and the choices that are made for us. It's about how those choices affect our lives and the lives of children and grandchildren.
Nana--- 5 months ago
WOW! This book was a roller coaster ride because I knew something happened but I couldn't figure out what, The things that happened will blow you away. There is so much to this book, how a chain of events affected the lives of so many family members. It separated two sisters, and when they had kids, the two girls found each other on social media. But they didn't know what happened and why their mothers didn't have anything to do with each other. As I read the book, I had guessed at what would be happening but I was always wrong. This is definitely not a book that you will know what is going to happen. This is a book that will keep you turning the pages but only one at a time, so much happens that you could miss things if you missed a page or two. It is a book that will bring out emotions as you read the book. and I asked myself what would I do if faced with the same things. Read the book and I wonder what you would do. I received an ARC from NetGalley and I have to say this was the perfect book to kick me into fall and I loved it. Still, I don't know what I would do but it gave me a whole new perspective.
bookchickdi 5 months ago
Hannah Beckerman's novel If Only I Could Tell You opens with a prologue set in 1988. Jess sees her older sister Lily coming out of the spare bedroom that their parents told them not to go into that morning. Lily warns Jess not to tell anyone that she was in there, and when Jess wants to go in, Lily physically prevents her from doing so. When Jess gets home from school that day, the lives of their entire family has changed, although the reader does not know why. Flash forward to the present. Lily is now a hotshot marketing professional, in high demand and featured in news stories. She is married to a very sucessful lawyer and they have a teenage daughter Phoebe. Jess is a single mom to a teenage daughter, Zoe, but her career path has been less successful. She works as a location manager for films, and that means long hours and constantly seeking work. Her widowed mother Audrey has helped Jess raise Zoe, picking her up from school, caring for her while Jess works. Jess hasn't spoken to her sister Lily in years, angry over the fallout from that day in 1988. Audrey is ill, hiding the seriousness of it from her daughters. She has recently moved in with Jess, reasoning that Jess and Zoe need her more than Lily's family does. Audrey would like nothing more that to see her daughters reconcile, and for her granddaughters to get to know each other. It took me a long time to get into If Only I Could Tell You. The author constantly references that something big happened on that day in 1988, but it isn't until about halfway through the story that we find out what occured. That's when the book really came together for me. Just as I was getting annoyed, the author turns everything on its head, and I have to say I did not guess at the reveal. I actually gasped out loud. Many books have a secret at its core to keep the reader interested, and this one was heartbreaking. If you like family drama, If Only I Could Tell You will be a good read for you. The characters are well-drawn, and the family dynamic was realistic. It is emotional, and it deals with something traumatic, so if that upsets you, I would suggest maybe not reading it. I admit to tearing up in more than a few places. Fans of Jodi Picoult's books will want to pick up If Only I Could Tell. I recommend it.
MKF 5 months ago
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.