Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

If You Could See Me Now
  • Alternative view 1 of If You Could See Me Now
  • Alternative view 2 of If You Could See Me Now

If You Could See Me Now

4.0 104
by Cecelia Ahern

See All Formats & Editions

From the bestselling author of P.S. I Love You and Love, Rosie, Cecelia Ahern, comes an enchanting novel that leads you to wonder if Not Seeing is believing!

Readers and critics alike adore Cecelia Ahern for her lighthearted yet insightful stories about modern women and their often unusual situations. In If You


From the bestselling author of P.S. I Love You and Love, Rosie, Cecelia Ahern, comes an enchanting novel that leads you to wonder if Not Seeing is believing!

Readers and critics alike adore Cecelia Ahern for her lighthearted yet insightful stories about modern women and their often unusual situations. In If You Could See Me Now, she takes that theme a step further, offering us a heroine who is entirely believable, and the new man in her life who is, well, slightly less so.

Elizabeth Egan's life runs on order: Both her home and her emotions are arranged just so, with little room for spontaneity. It's how she counteracts the chaos of her family--an alcoholic mother who left when she was young, an emotionally distant father, and a free-spirited sister, who seems to be following in their mother's footsteps, leaving her own six-yearold son, Luke, in Elizabeth's care. When Ivan, Luke's mysterious new grown-up friend, enters the picture, Elizabeth doesnt know quite what to make of him. With his penchant for adventure and colorful take on things large and small, Ivan opens Elizabeth's eyes to a whole new way of living. But is it for real? Is Ivan for real?

If You Could See Me Now is a love story with heart--and just a touch of magic.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her third novel, Ahern (P.S., I Love You and Love, Rosie) employs an imaginary best friend to breathe distinctiveness into an otherwise stereotypical Irish tale. Living in her own house in a small, posh Irish town, 35-year-old Elizabeth Egan is an uptight interior designer and adoptive mother to her six-year-old nephew, Luke, whose mother, Elizabeth's 23-year-old sister, Saoirse, prefers boozing to parenting. Saoirse's behavior reminds Elizabeth of a painful past-the alcoholic mother who abandoned the family, leaving Elizabeth to care for her baby sister and forgo her own childhood, and the emotionally distant, controlling father still waiting for his wife's return. Unlike the other women in her family, Elizabeth adheres to a fastidiously well-ordered existence-no mess, no complications, no love. But all that changes with the arrival of Ivan, a goofy and spontaneous man intent on infusing much-needed fun and tenderness into Elizabeth's frigid persona. The catch is no one can see this ageless man from the land of "Ekam Eveileb" save Elizabeth and her nephew. Through Ivan, Elizabeth becomes the woman she's always been too afraid to be. He helps her reclaim the childhood she never had and, most importantly, to forgive those who have let her down. Ahern tempers heartbreak with hope and playfulness in this uplifting, sentimental tale. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Elizabeth is a successful thirtysomething businesswoman living in a small town in Ireland. In an effort to establish some control over a chaotic, dysfunctional family, she has a clean, rigid, and lonely existence with her six-year-old nephew Luke. Into her bleak existence comes Ivan, a magical and somewhat disrupting presence who delights and inspires Elizabeth and Luke. Ahern's characters and landscapes are beautifully developed in this modern folktale, and the whimsy is charming though not especially profound. Apparently the rights to the book have been sold to Disney for a musical version that is sure to be popular. Production values are excellent in this audio program with Susan Lynch and Rupert Degas giving dimension to the female and male voices. Highly recommended for light fiction collections in public and high school libraries.-Barbara Valle, El Paso P.L., TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A buttoned-up Irish woman finds her life transformed when she meets a soulful man who may not exist. Ahern (Love, Rosie, 2005, etc.) sets her third novel in a sleepy and picturesque Irish burg well-suited to magical happenings. Among its inhabitants is reluctant single parent Elizabeth Egan, who has few reasons to believe in magic. Abandoned by her "free spirit" mother at an early age, she was forced to take care of her much younger sister, Saoirse, with little help from her emotionally distant farmer dad. Saoirse (Gaelic for "freedom") grows up to become a wild and troubled teenager with a baby of her own. When she shows no interest in taking care of the child, Luke, Elizabeth adopts him. Realist-by-default Elizabeth has little patience when, at age 6, Luke starts playing with an invisible companion he calls Ivan. When Elizabeth actually starts seeing Ivan, she mistakenly believes he is the father of a local boy. Ivan, who considers himself a professional best friend helping youngsters in need, realizes that Elizabeth would benefit from his services as much as Luke would. He teaches her to be spontaneous and silly and helps her come to terms with her unhappy childhood. (Ivan also confronts certain ethical issues when he finds himself interested in Elizabeth in more than a professional capacity.) Is Ivan a figment of Elizabeth's sleep-deprived and caffeine-addled brain, or a tall, blue-eyed dream guy?Ahern's fairytale is at times insufferably whimsical, with a main character whose idea of fun is spinning around on chairs and speaking backwards. Film rights for a musical adaptation to Disney, with Hugh Jackman to star

Product Details

Hachette Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 8.75(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

If You Could See Me Now

By Cecelia Ahern


Copyright © 2006 Cecelia Ahern
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-4013-0187-8

Chapter One

ELIZABETH'S HEART HAMMERED loudly against her chest. She banged the front door behind her and paced the hallway in uneven strides. With the phone pressed hard between her ear and shoulder, she balanced herself against the hall table and pulled off her broken-heeled shoe. Another bit of chaos to thank her sister for.

She stopped pacing long enough to stare at her reflection in the mirror. Her brown eyes widened with horror. Rarely did she allow herself to look so bedraggled. So out of control. Strands of her chocolate-brown hair were fleeing from the tight French plait and mascara nestled in the lines under her eyes. Her lipstick had faded, leaving only her plum-colored lip-liner as a frame, and her foundation clung to the dry patches of her olive skin. Gone was her usually pristine look. This caused her heart to beat faster, the panic to accelerate.

Breathe, Elizabeth, just breathe, she told herself. She ran a trembling hand over her tousled hair, forcing down the strays. She wiped the mascara away with a wet finger, pursed her lips together, smoothed down her suit jacket, and cleared her throat. It was merely a momentary lapse of concentration on her part, that was all. Not to happen again. She transferred the phone to her left ear and noticed the impression of her Claddaghearring against her neck; such was the pressure of her shoulder's grip on the phone against her skin.

Finally someone answered and Elizabeth turned her back on the mirror to stand to attention. Back to business.

"Hello, Baile na gCroithe Garda Station."

Elizabeth winced as she recognized the voice on the phone. "Hi, Marie, Elizabeth here again. Saoirse's gone off with the car," she paused, "again."

There was a gentle sigh on the other end of the phone. "How long ago, Elizabeth?"

Elizabeth sat down on the bottom stair and settled down for the usual line of questioning. She closed her eyes, only meaning to rest them briefly, but at the relief of blocking everything she kept them closed. "Just five minutes ago."

"Right. Did she say where she was going?"

"The moon," she replied matter-of-factly.

"Excuse me?" Marie asked.

"You heard me. She said she was going to the moon," Elizabeth said firmly. "Apparently people will understand her there."

"The moon," Marie repeated.

"Yes," Elizabeth replied, feeling irritated. "You could perhaps start looking for her on the motorway. I would imagine that if you were heading to the moon that would be the quickest way to get there, wouldn't you? Although I'm not entirely sure which exit she would take. Either way, I'd check the motor-"

"Relax, Elizabeth; you know I have to ask."

"I know." Elizabeth tried to calm herself again. She was missing an important meeting right now. Her nephew Luke's fill-in babysitter had fled. Elizabeth could hardly blame the girl. Her nephew's mother, Elizabeth's younger sister Saoirse, was unmanageable and the frantic young babysitter had called Elizabeth in a panic. Elizabeth had to drop everything and come home. Luke's nanny, Edith, had left for the three months of traveling she had threatened Elizabeth with for the past six years. She was, however, surprised that Edith, apart from the current trip to Australia, was still turning up to work every day. Six years she had been helping Elizabeth to raise Luke, six years of drama, and still after all her years of loyalty, Elizabeth expected a phone call or her letter of resignation practically every day. Being Luke's nanny came with a lot of baggage. Then again, so did being Luke's adoptive parent.

"Elizabeth, are you still there?"

"Yes." Her eyes shot open. She was losing concentration. "Sorry, what did you say?"

"I asked you what car she took."

Elizabeth rolled her eyes and made a face at the phone. "The same one, Marie. The same bloody car as last week, and the week before and the week before that," she snapped.

Marie remained firm. "Which is the-?"

"BMW," she interrupted. "The same damn 330 black BMW Cabriolet. Four wheels, two doors, one steering wheel, two wing mirrors, lights, and-"

"A partridge in a pear tree," Marie interrupted. "What condition was she in?"

"Very shiny. I'd just washed her," Elizabeth replied cheekily.

"Great, and what condition was Saoirse in?"

"The usual one."


"That's the one." Elizabeth stood up and walked down the hall to the kitchen. Her sun trap. Her one heel against the marble floor echoed in the empty high-ceilinged room. Everything was in its place. The room was hot from the sun's glare through the glass of the conservatory. Elizabeth's tired eyes squinted in the brightness. The spotless kitchen gleamed, the black granite countertops sparkled, the chrome fittings mirrored the bright day. A stainless-steel and walnut heaven. She beaded straight to the espresso machine. Her savior. Needing an injection of life into her exhausted body, she opened the kitchen cabinet and took out a small beige coffee cup. Before closing the press, she turned a cup 'round so that the handle was on the right side like all the others. She slid open the long steel cutlery drawer, noticed a knife in the fork compartment, put it back in its rightful place, retrieved a spoon, and slid it shut.

From the corner of her eye she saw the hand towel messily strewn over the handle of the cooker. She threw the crumpled cloth into the utility room, retrieved a fresh towel from the neat pile in the press, folded it exactly in half, and draped it over the cooker handle. Everything had its place.

She placed the steaming espresso cup on a marble coaster to protect the glass kitchen table. She smoothed out her trousers, removed a piece of fluff from her jacket, sat down in the conservatory, and looked out at her long swath of garden and the rolling green hills beyond which seemed to stretch on forever. Forty shades of green, gold, and brown.

She breathed in the rich aroma of her steaming espresso and immediately felt revived. She pictured her sister racing over the hills with the top down on Elizabeth's convertible, arms in the air, eyes closed, flame-red hair blowing in the wind, believing she was free. Saoirse meant freedom in Irish. The name had been chosen by their mother in her last desperate attempt to make the duties of motherhood she despised so much seem less like a punishment. She felt by naming her this, her second daughter could some way bring her freedom from the shackles of marriage, motherhood, responsibility, reality.

Elizabeth and Saoirse's mother, Grainne, had met their father when Grainne was just sixteen. She was traveling through the town with a group of poets, musicians, and dreamers and got talking to Brendan Egan, a farmer in the local pub. He was twelve years her senior and was enthralled by her wild, mysterious ways and carefree nature. She was flattered. And so they married. At eighteen Grainne had their first child, Elizabeth. As it turned out, her mother couldn't be tamed and found it increasingly frustrating being held in the sleepy town nestled in the hills she had only ever intended to pass through. A crying baby and sleepless nights drove her further and further away in her head. Dreams of her own personal freedom became confused with her reality and she started to go missing for days at a time. She went exploring, discovering places and other people.

For as long as Elizabeth could remember, she looked after herself and her silent, brooding father and didn't ask when her mother would be home. She knew in her heart that her mother would eventually return, cheeks flushed, eyes bright, and speaking breathlessly of the world and all it had to offer. She would waft into their lives like a fresh summer breeze bringing excitement and hope. The feel of their bungalow farmhouse always changed when she returned; the four walls absorbed her enthusiasm. Elizabeth would sit at the end of her mother's bed, listening to stories, giddy with delight. This ambience would last for only a few days until her mother quickly tired of sharing stories rather than making new ones.

Often she brought back mementos such as shells, stones, leaves. Elizabeth could recall a vase of long fresh grasses that sat in the center of the dining room table as though they were the most exotic plants ever created. When asked about the field they were pulled from, her mother just winked and tipped her nose, promising Elizabeth that she would understand some day. Her father would sit silently in his chair by the fireplace, reading his paper but never turning the page as he got lost in his wife's world of words.

When Elizabeth was twelve years old her mother became pregnant again and, despite the newborn baby being named Saoirse, this child didn't offer the freedom her mother craved, and so she set off on another expedition. And didn't return. Her father, Brendan, had no interest in the new baby and waited in silence by the fire for his wife to return. Reading his paper but never turning the page. For years. Forever. Soon Elizabeth's heart grew weary of awaiting her mother's return and Saoirse became Elizabeth's responsibility.

Saoirse had inherited her father's Celtic looks of strawberry-blond hair and fair skin, while Elizabeth was the image of her mother. Olive skin, chocolate hair, almost black eyes; in their blood from the Spanish influence thousands of years before. As she grew from adolescence, Elizabeth resembled her mother more and more, and she knew her father found it difficult. She grew to hate herself for it, and along with making the effort of trying to have conversations with her father she tried even harder to prove, to her father and to herself, that she was nothing like her mother, that she was capable of loyalty.

When Elizabeth finished school at eighteen she was faced with the choice of moving to Cork to attend university, a decision that took all her courage to make. Her father regarded her acceptance of the course as abandonment; he saw any friendship she created with anyone as abandonment. He craved attention, always demanding to be the only person in his daughters' lives, as though that would prevent them from moving away from him. Well, he almost succeeded and certainly was part of the reason for Elizabeth's lack of a social life or circle of friends. She had been conditioned to walk away when polite conversation was started, knowing she would pay for any unnecessary time spent away from the farm with sullen words and disapproving glares. In any case, looking after Saoirse as well as going to school was a full-time job. Nevertheless, Brendan accused her of being like her mother, of thinking she was above him and superior to Baile na gCroithe.

She had begun to understand how her mother must have felt living in such a suffocating home where she felt bored and trapped by marriage and motherhood. Like her mother, she found the small town claustrophobic. It was a place where every action of every person was monitored, frowned upon, commented on, kept, and stored for gossip. A place that managed to attract the tourists but repel the women of the Egan family. Elizabeth felt the dull farmhouse was dipped in darkness, with no sense of time. It was as though even the grandfather clock ill the hall was waiting for her mother to return.

"And, Luke, where is he?" Marie asked over the phone, bringing Elizabeth swiftly back to the present.

Elizabeth replied bitterly, "Do you really think Saoirse would take him with her?"


Elizabeth sighed. "He's here."

Saoirse was more than just a name to call Elizabeth's sister. To her sister it was an identity, a way of life. Everything the name represented was passed into her blood. She was fiery, independent, wild, and free. Saorise followed the pattern of the mother she could not remember, to such a degree that Elizabeth found herself watching Saoirse to keep her from disappearing like their mother. But Elizabeth kept losing sight of her. Saoirse became pregnant at sixteen and no one knew who the father was, not even Saoirse. Once she had the baby she didn't care much for naming him but, when pressed, she gave her baby boy a name that was like a wish. Lucky. So Elizabeth named him Luke. And at the age of twenty-eight, Elizabeth found herself once again responsible for a child who wasn't her own.

There was never as much as a flicker of recognition in Saoirse's eyes when she looked at Luke. It startled Elizabeth to see that there was no bond, no connection at all. Granted, Elizabeth had made a pact with herself never to have children. She had raised herself and raised her sister; she had no desire to raise anybody else. It was time to look after herself. After having slaved away at school and college she had been successful in starting up her own interior design business. She had reached her goals by being in control, maintaining order, not losing sight of herself, always being realistic, believing in fact and not dreams, and above all, applying herself and working hard. Her mother's and sister's example had taught her that she wouldn't get anywhere by following wistful dreams.

Despite that pact with herself, there was no one else in the family capable of providing Luke with a good life, so Elizabeth found herself thirty-four years old and living alone with a six-year-old in a house she had made her haven, the place she could retreat to and feel safe. Alone because love was one of those feelings that you could never have control of. And she needed to be in control. She had loved before, had been loved, had tasted what it was to dream, and had felt what it was to dance on air. She had also learned what it was to cruelly land back on the earth with a thud. Having to take care of her sister's child had sent her love away and there had been no one since. She had learned not to lose control of her feelings again.

The front door banged shut and she heard the patter of little feet running down the hall.

"Luke!" she called, putting her hand over the receiver.

"Yeah?" he asked innocently, blue eyes and blond hair appearing from around the doorway.

"Yes, not yeah," she corrected him sternly. Her voice was full of the authority she had become a pro at over the years.

"Yes," he repeated.

"What are you doing?"

Luke stepped out of the doorway into the hall and Elizabeth's eyes immediately went to his grass-stained knees.

"Me and Ivan are just going to play on the computer," he explained.

"Ivan and I," she corrected him and continued listening to Marie at the other end of the phone arranging to send a Garda car out. Luke looked at his aunt and returned to the playroom.

"Hold on a minute," Elizabeth shouted down the phone, finally registering what Luke had just told her. She jumped up from her chair, bumping the table leg and spilling her espresso onto the glass. She swore. The black wrought-iron legs of the chair screeched against the marble. Holding the phone to her chest., she raced down the long hall to the playroom. She tucked her head around the corner and saw Luke sitting on the floor, eyes glued to the TV screen. Here and his bedroom were the only rooms in the house she allowed his toys. Taking care of a child had not succeeded in changing her as many thought it would; he hadn't softened her views in any way. She had visited many of Luke's friends' houses, picking him up or dropping him off, so full of toys lying around they tripped up everyone who dared walk in their path. She reluctantly had cups of coffee with the mothers while sitting on teddies, surrounded by bottles, formula, and nappies. But not in her home. Edith had been told the rules at the beginning of their working relationship and she had followed them. As Luke grew up and understood Elizabeth's ways, he obediently respected her wishes and contained his playing to the one room she had dedicated to his needs.

"Luke, who's Ivan?" Elizabeth asked, eyes darting around the room. "You know you can't be bringing strangers home," she said, worried.

"He's my new friend," Luke replied, zombie-like, not moving his eyes from the beefed-up wrestler body-slamming his opponent on the screen.

"You know I insist oil meeting your friends first before you bring them home. Where is he?" she questioned, pushing open the door and stepping into Luke's space. She hoped to god that this friend would be better than the last little terror, who had decided to draw a picture of his happy family in Magic Marker on her wall, which had since been painted over.

"Over there." Luke nodded his head in the direction of the window, still not budging his eyes.

Elizabeth walked toward the window and looked out at the front garden. She crossed her arms. "Is he hiding?"


Excerpted from If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern Copyright © 2006 by Cecelia Ahern. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Cecelia Ahern is author of the international bestsellers PS, I Love You; Love, Rosie; and If You Could See Me Now. Film rights to If You Could See Me Now have been bought by Walt Disney Pictures, and PS, I Love You is being made into a film by Warner Bros. Foreign rights to her novels have been purchased in more than forty countries and have sold more than four million copiesin North America, Europe, and Australia. The daughter of Ireland's prime minister, she lives in Dublin.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 91 reviews.
Zooyen More than 1 year ago
It was hard to get into at first, but as soon as Elizabeth and Ivan met it was hard to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book captured my attention from beginning to end. It's a touching story that has a lot of small lesson incorporated in the plot and dialogue. I will probably read it again and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Cecelia Ahern novels. She gives such originality in all her novels and If You Could See Me Now is my absolute favorite. I have read this book almost 10 times and I still cry everytime I read it! It is my ideal novel and it is very touching and it has a subtle moral to the novel. I give this book a perfect score and I would recommend it to everybody!
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Readers who found much to like in Dublin author Cecelia Ahern's 'P.S. I Love You' and Rosie Dunne' will be pleased with the different road she takes in her third novel 'If You Could See Me Now.' This time out rather than a happy ending romance with an Irish lilt we find a wee spirit. Not so wee after all, his name is Ivan, and he's invisible - to everyone but 6-year-old Luke. His tightly wound aunt, Elizabeth Egan, fears Luke is imagining things just as his mother does and her mother did. Fantasy is fearful according to Elizabeth whose childhood was spent trying to make up for a mother who disappeared from the small village in which they lived. Life was simply too dull there, and she left in search of adventure. Elizabeth's sister, Saoirse, is her mother's daughter, one more 'free spirit' who doesn't let parenthood hold her back. Thus, it is left to Elizabeth to care for Luke. After a sad childhood and a less than satisfactory adulthood, adventure, enjoyment are not a part of Elizabeth's existence order, control, practicality are her mainstays. However, she had not counted on Ivan. According to him there was 'nothing imaginary about him whatsoever.' It was simply that people couldn't see him. He has everything Elizabeth does not - a sense of fun, spontaneity, and a lusty love of life. Ivan arrived to bring a little cheer to Luke but soon discovers that Elizabeth could also use a new lease on life. It is not too long before she is able to see Ivan, too, which is where the fun begins. After all, Ireland is the home of leprechauns, elves, and other magical creatures. So, what better setting for this imaginative story of a man who may or may not be real? It is belief in him that brings about change. For those who doubt, Ivan speaks of imaginary friends, '...we're here to help and assist those who need us, who believe in believing, and who can therefore see us.' 'If You Could See Me Now' is a bit of a fantasy, a lot of enjoyment, and soon to be a musical starring Hugh Jackman. - Gail Cooke
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book warms my heart every time i read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So, I'm a avid reader who truly has enjoyed each and every one of Cecelia Ahern's novels. If You Could See Me Now was the last of her books that I read and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The novel starts out slow and I had intentions of not continuing. I decided that I must finish it and surprisingly this book was wonderful. The message is so delightful and inspiring. This is definitely a book I'd recommend to peers. ENJOY!
Brittany5704 More than 1 year ago
A sweet novel about learning to accept your family, past, and things you can't change, while cultivating your imagination; enjoying - and believing in - the simple things life has to offer. Be prepared to laugh and cry along with Elizabeth as she learns what it really means to live.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story. Characters are solidly built. It sweeps you up and takes you in and it is so enjoyable. I was going to give it 5 stars but my only small negative comment is that i wished there had been more dialog. Other than that, buy this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago