Published by William Morrow ISBN 9780062890542
Trade paperback, $15.99, 358 pages
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.
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.
Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Hannah Beckerman's tour. The rest of her stops are here: