I could not wait to start this book, albeit a little hesitant, so I kept putting it off. The only reason being though, is that once I had started the journey of If Only, I knew I wouldn’t want it to end…
‘Audrey’s family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected.
As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?’
There is a real essence of power in Hannah’s storytelling. She has you clambering the pages from the beginning desperate to know more on what tore apart this otherwise quintessential family. The dual timeline of past and present reveals slowly, under the readers ever growing eye, the personalities of Audrey, Jess and Lily, and whether they are truly capable of rekindling their family relationship.
Hannah tells the tale from three separate points of view. You have a mother and two daughters. We know something happened all those years ago but we aren’t sure what. And what Hannah is fabulous at, is making you be on the side of the person of whomever is telling their story at the time. Jess makes you feel that Lily is not a nice person at all, but when you hear from Lily, you see someone that is struggling with life and trying to reach out to her sister. What could possibly have happened to damage this family? There are mini teasers in the form of flashbacks, which give you a glimmer and helps you form several ideas on what might just have happened.
There are some heart rending moments that unfortunately some of us are all too familiar with & Hannah writes these in an incredibly touching way. You sympathise with these characters and it makes this tale all the more beautiful. At some parts I could feel the tears building up, afraid to take just one blink in fear of them streaming out. Hannah is an elegant storyteller that connects with her reader in the best possible way.
If you asked me what one thing you would need to do this year, I would say, it was to read this book. Thank you so much to the beautiful Poppy at Orion for sending me an early proof, I am eternally grateful.
If Only I Could Tell You will be published on the 21st February and is the perfect early Mother’s Day present for the woman we treasure the most.