Swallowtail Summer by Erica James / Blog Tour

Swallowtail Summer by Erica James

 

44303017Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 386

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 11.07.2019)

 

Synopsis:

A captivating story about friendship, making changes, and learning to live life to the fullest from SUNDAY TIMES bestseller Erica James.

They thought they were friends for life – until one summer, everything changed . . .

Linston End on the Norfolk Broads has been the holiday home to three families for many years. The memories of their time there are ingrained in their hearts: picnics on the river, gin and tonics in the pavilion at dusk, hours spent seeking out the local swallowtail butterflies. Everyone together.

But widower Alastair has been faced with a few of life’s surprises recently. Now, he is about to shock his circle of friends with the decisions he has made – and the changes it will mean for them all. For some, it feels like the end. For others, it might just be the beginning . . .

Rating: four-stars

 

“Swallowtail Summer” is a story about three men who have been friends from their schooldays, and about their families. One of them, Alastair, owns a beautiful house in Norfolk, where the whole group – later with the wives and then with the offspring – used to spent every summer, enjoying their holidays and sometimes searching for the elusive swallowtail butterflies. They are all happily settled into their lives and enjoy them, until Alastair’s wife Orla dies, and he goes travelling. After his return, he has some news for his friends, that turns out to be rather shocking for them, and that will affect them all.

The setting was absolutely beautiful, the picturesque Norfolk Broads vividly and colourfully described. The house that was the centre of the story was incredibly welcoming. I had, though, problems to get into the book, the beginning was really heavy for me. It was probably because of the great number of characters introduced to us and I couldn’t keep track who is who and who belongs to whom and what has happened, often feeling confused about their relationships. However, later, it starts to fit and after I’ve worked out who, why and what, I felt myself really invested in the story – it is really worth persevering, as then we are more likely to understand them, their decisions and motivations.

Nevertheless, I’ve started to feel anxious to be honest, because, well, I haven’t warmed to the characters, and I was scared that it’s going to destroy the whole reading experience for me. I couldn’t, for example, really understand why the guys, and then their families, put Alastair’s on a pedestal, I found it a bit strange, to be honest, I mean, they were all adults but they still behaved like in their youth. What made him so special? Also, I can’t imagine any of my friends – best friends – behaving like this should I tell them such news as Alastair – well, it’s my decision, right? However, they had strength to them and their personalities were very well captured, they all were flawed and had their own problems and secrets.

“Swallowtail Summer” was a story with friendship in its centre, loyalty and with a depth to it, written in a very lyrical way, providing a very accurate and sharp look at the ways people work, how they see what they want to see, how they react at truth. It was rather a sad read, or maybe I should say a very realistic one, as reality is a bitch, we know this only too well. There was never a dull moment, and while I might have not understand some of the actions of the characters, I really appreciated all the emotions that were released after Alastair’s announcement. I could never be sure where the story would lead and the few skeletons that came out of the closets were really surprising. It is a great picture of characters’ interactions, really exploring different group dynamics, showing the effect of Alastair’s news, how it affected them all and how they tried to work it for themselves, and making you also wonder. A story that had a substance to it. Recommended!

 

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The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn / Blog Tour

The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn

 

44230692Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 390

Genre: Historical Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

A buried secret…

Present day: Anna is focused on growing her new gardening business and renovating her late grandmother’s house. But when she discovers a box hidden in a wall cavity, containing water colours of exotic plants, an old diary and a handful of seeds, she finds herself thrust into a centuries-old mystery. One that will send her halfway across the world to Kew Gardens and then onto Cornwall in search of the truth.

A lady adventurer…

1886: Elizabeth Trebithick is determined to fulfil her father’s dying wish and continue his life’s work as an adventurer and plant-hunter. So when she embarks on a perilous journey to discover a rare and miraculous flower, she will discover that the ultimate betrayal can be found even across the seas…

Two women, separated by centuries. Can one mysterious flower bring them together?

Rating: five-stars

In Victorian England, Elizabeth Trebithick is to continue after his death her father’s search for a very rare and dangerous plant in Chile. A plant that has the power to heal but also to – in inappropriate hands – to kill. It is of course unknown for women in this era to travel around the world, but Elizabeth is determined, and together with her maid Daisy sets off on a journey. A journey that will bring many changes to her life, but also a journey that is full of danger – Elizabeth is aware that she needs to find the plant before another pioneering botanist of those days will find it and sell it to the highest bidder.
In 2017 in Sydney, Anna Jenkins’s grandmother has recently died and left her granddaughter a house that Anna is right now renovating. She discovers a notebook, a mysterious metal box and inside she finds wonderfully preserved book of watercolour sketches of plants, a photograph and a bag of seeds. Here starts another journey – to discover the owner of the paintings and the truth about the seeds, and so Anna travels to Cornwall, where more family truths and secrets are being unearthed.

As it usually happens, Elizabeth, in Victorian England, was a much more colourful and quirky heroine that Anna in the present, and her story had pepper, as well as she had. She was ahead of her times in the way she was thinking and venturing on the journey, but there was also feminine side to her. She was determined and passionate.
There were more layers to Anna that we could think at the beginning, and yes, in comparison to Elizabeth she could be perceived as the weaker one but I think we should give her a chance, as there are many personal issues waiting to be unpacked. I had a feeling that the more she was discovering, the more open she became, and grew in confidence, and this is what she needed so much. Anywise, the author has captured both characters’ personalities in a great way, she outlined them really well. But we also can’t forget Daisy, Elisabeth’s servant, the unsung heroine of the tale. She was so loyal, always in the background but you could always count on her and the promise to Elizabeth was immediately honoured.

This story is told in dual frame narrative, and we travel through times and the world, from 1800’s Cornwall and Chile and back to Sydney in 2017. I enjoyed all of the settings, Kayte Nunn can truly bring her settings and characters to life but I think that it was Chile that was the most colourful, exotic and it simply swept me away. The way the story intertwined and played out was absolutely brilliantly done, I loved how the subplots were merged together and the author has connected them masterfully.

This book had a great feeling to it, it was simply a joy to read it. I’m not going to consider if Anna was a disgrace to today’s feminism, oh no, because I’ve seen the biggest picture and I’ve appreciated the story on the whole. Yes, sometimes the descriptions of the flora were perhaps too detailed and took too much pages but it was about the botanist’s daughter, so of course we could expect them in this novel. You can easily see that the author knows what she’s writing about – she herself has a personal interest in botany, and it reflects in the story through the passionate and vivid descriptions of all kinds of flowers. I am not a person with green thumbs, unfortunately, but the way the plant based medicines, the botanical medicine gaining momentum were described was very interesting, not too academic but with a passion and love.

“The Botanist’s Daughter” just hit the right note for me. Maybe it was not full of life – changing twist but there was enough adventure to keep me glued to the pages, and there was a moment or two that simply made me gasp and say out loud “oh no…!” The story moves along fast and briskly, the characters are vivid and coming to life on the pages and they have depth to them, there is a lovely romance or two and a great family mystery. It was brilliantly researched and the botanical details was plenty and lush, and what’s most important, it was absolutely not predictable – there are some tips and ties but I can only say this now, looking back, as they were really well hidden. It was surprising how dark it was during some parts, but it only added tons of significance and depth to the story. This book was a brilliant cross of historical fiction and present in dual narration and it simply ticked all the boxes for me. And let’s not forget the gorgeous cover of the book. It’s exquisite, with beautiful birds and flowers and blue. Highly recommended!

 

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Him by Clare Empson / Blog Tour

Him by Clare Empson

 

36155709Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 4th April 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Big Little Lies meets 13 Reasons Why in this dark and suspenseful debut from a stunning new talent.

It all started with … HIM.

Catherine has become mute. She has witnessed something so disturbing that she simply can’t speak – not to her husband, her children, or her friends. The doctors say the only way forward is to look into her past. Catherine needs to start with Him. Lucian.

Catherine met the love of her life at university and was drawn into his elite circle of privileged, hedonistic friends. But one night it all falls apart and she leaves him, shattering his life forever.

Still, fifteen years later, Lucian haunts every one of Catherine’s quiet moments, and when they are unexpectedly reunited, their love reignites with explosive force.

But they can’t move on from what happened all those years ago. In fact, uncovering the truth will cause their lives to implode once again. This time, with disastrous consequences.

my-review

 

15 years ago, Catherine met Lucian and they fell in love – beautiful, honest, passionate love. But then something happens Catherine breaks up with Lucian – without an explanation – and she disappears from his life. But, even though she marries Sam and they have two children, she can’t forget Lucian. Fast forward to present, four months ago something horrible happened to Catherine, something that caused her to shut down entirely, to stop talking with Sam and the children. What happened when she met Lucian again?

The story jumps between past and present. 15 years ago Catherine and Lucian were at the university, then we have 4 months before (before this something really bad happened?). Catherine is in a hospital now, not being able to speak after “this” happened, and the author has done a great job of getting into Catherine’s head, bringing all her fears, feelings and emotions to life. The switches in time may sound confusing but they’re really not, I was always able to keep track of the plot. However, it is a story that develops in a very slow way, so be prepared for this, and I think it wins from not adding many incredibly twists and turns but focusing on the complex, assured plot.

Catherine, Lucian, Liv and Sam were likeable and relatable characters while Lucian’s group of friends was simply awful and, let’s be honest, a little stereotyped, those posh kids at Bristol University, snobbish and privileged. This mix of different personalities was, though, really great but I’d love more depth to them all. However, with them all so different, it was only a matter of time before this all was going to explode, right? For their secrets to be revealed and I’ve been waiting impatiently for this to happen.

I’ve missed Jack’s point of view, his motivation – why was he like this, what was it that made him want to be like Lucian. There was too little depth to his character and I simply couldn’t get his obsession. Also, the fact that there was a mystery, a secret was absolutely brilliant, however in my opinion it took too long to reveal it. From the very beginning we are made aware that something really bad had happened, it is mentioned in almost every single chapter, especially those told from Catherine’s point of view, and you know how it is, sometimes less is more, sometimes it’s advisable not to hint so much and let the reader wait till the very end because they can start to feel frustrated and the whole good idea simply loses on tension and suspense.

“Him” was a story of unconditional love, guilt and obsession. It was a dark and tragic tale of love that’s gone wrong and toxic friendship. It’s a slow burner and is rather character driven but it’s gripping. It felt very mature in terms of literary and it’s a splendid debut novel written with sensitivity and skill. It’s more social drama than psychological thriller for me, but whatever the label it was a gripping, absorbing and heart – wrenching story, very atmospheric, sad and thick with nostalgia.

 

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Our Life in a Day by Jamie Fewery

Our Life in a Day by Jamie Fewery

 

41878858Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 18th April 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 304

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Our Life in a Day is a breathtaking, ten-year love story told in twenty-four individual hours – for fans of One Day by David Nicholls, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and The Note by Zoe Folbigg.

The rules are simple. Choose the most significant moments from your relationship – one for each hour in the day.
You’d probably pick when you first met, right?
And the instant you knew for sure it was love?
Maybe even the time you watched the sunrise after your first night together?

But what about the car journey on the holiday where everything started to go wrong?
Or your first proper fight?

Or that time you lied about where you’d been?

It’s a once in a lifetime chance to learn the truth. But if you had to be completely honest with the one you love, would you still play?

For Esme and Tom, the game is about to begin. And once they start, there’s no going back . . .

Rating: three-stars

 

On their 10th anniversary, Esme has created a game for Tom – for each hour of the day he should choose a significant moment from their relationship, so altogether there should be 24 of them, no matter if they’re happy or sad – but they must be important. So Tom, albeit reluctantly, goes back as far as 2007 where they met at the party and together with him we see the best and worst part of their relationship.
The moments Tom has chosen are not listed in a particular chronological order, and maybe it’s better, because there was this surprise effect. It was truly interesting and intriguing to follow those moments, wondering why Tom chose them and not different ones.

The book started great, it had me hooked and hold my interest, but then it somehow went downhill and I really wasn’t sure where it was heading. In the end I found myself skipping some passages without a feeling that I’m missing on something – maybe it was simply too sad and too depressing for me? I know this is life the author wrote about but on the whole the story felt too disheartening, without hope.

My biggest problem here was Esme, I think. I simply couldn’t warm to her and couldn’t accept her demanding attitude. It looked like she was deciding about everything, as if Tom had nothing to say. Everything was good as long as it was Esme’s decision. Sure, Tom also wasn’t perfect, they were both full of flaws, which is great, because who isn’t, but Esme was one of a kind, came across as spoiled and egoistical. Esme doesn’t suggest, Esme demands, and in comparison Tom seems very weak. And while this book was very character driven, and I couldn’t connect with the characters, I had problems with warming to the whole plot, to engage with the story. However, I appreciate the way the author has described and developed his characters. Esme and Tom had their own distinctive voices, their own strengths and weaknesses. There were many moments that I wanted to shake them badly, at Esme being so stubborn and at Tom for keeping the truth from her. But I didn’t feel invested in their lives.

What I liked in this book was that it felt so very realistic and down to earth in the way Tom and Esme’s relationship was working. Sometimes it was good, sometimes it was tense, just like in real life. The writing style was really good – it was easy to read, flowing seamlessly, with vivid descriptions, bringing feelings and emotions to life. It was a story pulling the good and the bad from real life. It provided us with a realistic, brutally honest, bittersweet view of a relationship. It is not a light read, and I think I expected it to be, but I’d say the opposite, as it deals with heavy subjects. It felt raw, real and genuine, without sugar-coating things, telling how it is.

 

You Can Take Her Home Now by Anna Jefferson

Out today green

You Can Take Her Home Now by Anna Jefferson

 

44031173Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 21st March 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: General Fiction, Parenting, Humour

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 16.05.2019)

 

Synopsis:

Hilariously funny and excruciatingly relatable – perfect for fans of THE UNMUMSY MUM, Louise Pentland and Gill Sims.

Emily is sure she’s getting this baby stuff all wrong. Why does everyone else look like they’re smashing motherhood when she’s barely made it out of her maternity leggings and out of the house?

Her other half tries to say all the right things (can’t he just keep making her toast?). Her mum is brilliant (but on the other side of the country). Her two new mum-friends seem to feel like misfits too – but there’s really just one person she wants to open up to . . . only Emily hasn’t spoken to her for fifteen years.

Lonely but not alone, Emily’s about to discover that when you’re starting a family, what you really need are your friends.

Rating: five-stars

 

Emily has just become a mum. She’s overwhelmed with love to her little daughter Lucy but she’s also full of fear – is she doing all the things right or wrong? Is she a good mum? Is this NORMAL that sometimes she dreams of being single and childless again…? Her boyfriend tries to help as well as he can but oh well, he’s almost all the time at work, right? Of course, Emily’s old friends don’t have children so they don’t know what she’s going through – there is one person who could understand her but they haven’t spoken for fifteen years… Emily sets her mind on making new friends and trying to get this whole parenting malarkey under control – but will she manage? 

I loved Emily – from the very beginning, in the labour ward, she felt like my best friend. We have the same way of thinking, she reacted similarly to me in so many situations, we felt the same – she was actually me after I’ve had my baby. . She told how it really is to feel so low, to be angry without a reason with those that you are supposed to love most, how confusing it is to be so… confused, and that really, nobody can prepare you for this what’s to come when your baby arrives. And this all was written in such a brilliant, light – hearted and uplifting way. Of course, I couldn’t help but fell for Emily, feel her pain and confusion and then you I wanted to cheer her on, to give her a pat on her back and tell her that she’s doing a great job and that I’ve been there, I’ve seen this and thank you for telling this out loud.  

What I also liked was the fact that the author didn’t focus so much on Lucy – she was there, of course, and she was adorable, but it was actually a book about Emily. Even though she had a feeling that everybody around her asks her only about Lucy, that every single sentence starts with Lucy and not with her, it was a story about Emily, and I loved it. And the book had a plot! Yes! It was not only about the early parenthood but there were also some twists and turns and unpleasant surprises on the way, and this worked perfectly well together. It touched upon family dynamics, relationships and friendship in a great, down to earth way. And it made me laugh out loud. And I mean, really. So loud that my daughter was asking me what am I reading and can I read it to her too – of course I did! And she laughed as well. How can you not laugh when Emily accidentally high – fived the doctor for example? Or wanted to hurt her boyfriend with a paper – cut on his forehead? Brilliant, simply brilliant things, small things but so accurate and so sharply written, and with my kind of humour. 

This lovely, charming novel perfectly slots into the trend of books about parenthood. You could roll your eyes and say, not another book about a new mum, but believe me, guys, “You Can Take Her Home Now” is absolutely refreshing, hilarious and yes, of course, also brutally honest but it’s a read with a difference as well.


Altogether “You Can Take Her Home Now” was a perfectly relatable book and no matter if you’re a parent or not, you should simply read it! As a mum, I could easily relate to Emily, as a non – parent you will easily enjoy the humour and hilariousness of some of the events and the brilliant, chatty writing style. The story shows that you can’t do a bad job as a parent, so really, don’t worry too much, and if you’re too deep in the dark, dark hole don’t be afraid to admit it. I can whole – heartedly recommend this true – to – life and overwhelmingly feel – good story to you. 

 

The Scandal by Mari Hannah / Blog Tour

The Scandal by Mari Hannah

 

43881946Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 7th March 2019

Series: Stone & Oliver Book #3

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 432

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

When a young man is found stabbed to death in a side street in Newcastle city centre in the run up to Christmas, it looks like a botched robbery to DCI David Stone. But when DS Frankie Oliver arrives at the crime scene, she gets more than she bargained for.

She IDs the victim as Herald court reporter, thirty-two-year old Chris Adams she’s known since they were kids. With no eyewitnesses, the MIT are stumped. They discover that when Adams went out, never to return, he was working on a scoop that would make his name. But what was the story he was investigating? And who was trying to cover it up?

As detectives battle to solve the case, they uncover a link to a missing woman that turns the investigation on its head. The exposé has put more than Adams’ life in danger. And it’s not over yet.

Rating: four-stars

 

Frankie Oliver is called to a murder scene. After arriving, she’s horrified, as she recognizes the victim – it’s her childhood friend Chris Adams. He’s a journalist, now stabbed to death, and while his death initially looks like a robbery gone wrong, further investigation implies that he was working on a big story. Frankie and David Stone start to suspect that there is much more to this case.

“The Scandal” by Mari Hannah is the third book in the Stone and Oliver series, however it can be read as a stand – alone. I haven’t read the previous books before – and I’m going to catch up with them as soon as possible, this is the greatest thing in being a book blogger I think, all the time discovering new authors/books/series and knowing that you’re for a great read.

The novel is told mostly from Frankie Oliver’s point of view and I immediately warmed to her. She has a great personality and a distinctive voice and she’s the right person in the right place, her passion to her job is palpable. Her relationship with David Stone works really well, I liked their banter and their verbal battles and the fact they weren’t afraid to say what they think.

Mostly the books are over – described. I mean, every single detail is meticulously described, all the feelings and emotions are turned upside down, there is no room for the reader’s imagination. “The Scandal” was, however, different – it was very dialogue – driven, the characters talked and talked and talked, and I absolutely loved this variation. It made the book dynamic, quick and there were enough information in those dialogues. Also, it doesn’t mean that there weren’t enough details, because Mari Hannah’s attention to them is absolutely excellent, only she doesn’t overwhelm us with miniscule descriptions. They are vivid enough, they contain enough information but there is also space left for the reader. I totally loved the way she has explained all the police procedures, their meetings etc – it felt like watching a film, the banter between the characters, being able to follow their way of thinking, seeing how they’re working. This story wis fast – paced and often it goes towards things that I would never expect, full of twists and turns. It gradually starts to make links between the murdered journalist and the missing woman and from that moment on the book gains ever more pace, and I adored the fact that it was simply unpredictable in which way it’s going to take us. There came a moment that I stopped guessing and let the author take me on a journey and waited relaxed for all the puzzle pieces to fell into their places.

The author touches upon many issues in this story. She provides a fresh, different perspective at those that were forced into homelessness and at the abuse of the elder members of the society. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, but probably my most favourite parts were the police procedural – they were simply so vivid that I had a feeling I’m a witness to all of those procedures.
Mari Hannah can so well capture all the feelings and emotions of her characters. The terror, fright, despair and grief were brilliantly brought to the pages, and the tension was visible. Also, the investigation itself is so well written, we’re starting with nothing, with no witnesses, no point of reference and it slowly builds and builds, starting with a small snowball and ending with an avalanche. The plotting is tight and clever, there are no leaking places, it’s logical yet still full of surprises. I’ll be for sure recommending “The Scandal” and reading other Hannah’s books.

 

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If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman

 

40965397Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 21st February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 369

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 15.10.2019)

 

Synopsis:

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?

Rating: five-stars

 

“If Only I Could Tell You” by Hannah Beckerman introduces us to two sisters, Jess and Lily, separated by a secret and guilt for almost most of their lives. They both have children of their own now: Mia and Phoebe, sixteen – years – old cousins who were never allowed to meet. After Audrey, mother of Jess and Lily, has been diagnosed with cancer, she’s been living with Jess and she’s desperate to find out what has happened in the past, why her daughters are estranged, and to bring the family together again. Will she be able to do this? Has she enough time? Which secrets are still to come out into the open?

It was not the highly appraised and advertised twist that made this book so special – it’s relatively easy to guess. But what makes this book special and unique is the way it was written, author’s way with words, descriptions and the beautifully captured relationships and family dynamics and the story itself. It’s unbelievable how beautifully Hannah Beckerman touched upon issues and themes that feel so very personal and difficult.

We are introduced to Jess and Lily and their families: Jess is a single mum to Mia, and Lily is a successful businesswoman with a husband and a daughter Phoebe. There is also their mother Audrey. Then the author takes are on a journey, jumping between past and present, telling us what has happened as far as in June 1988. What I really appreciated was the fact that the big secret hasn’t been kept till the very end, that it was revealed at the right moment when we were still desperate to know what has happened. Though I must admit that I couldn’t believe that Jess was able to keep her grudge for so long – a grudge, that, let’s be honest, was not worth it. It was really difficult for me to imagine that it really could happen, and her obstinacy made me feel desperate. I was also probably expecting that something really, really out of this world has happened on this day but – unfortunately – the revelation didn’t shake nor shocked me. Yes, my biggest problem was with Jess. I simply couldn’t get over the fact that she was so stubborn, cold and fierce. It annoyed and exasperated me, especially as I a) guessed what it was she was so angry about and b) it wasn’t dramatic enough for me to agree with her decisions. This one moment of misinterpretation has broken so many lives – I understand she was only 10 years old then but she had enough chances to clear the air throughout the years. Yes, learning the truth has helped me a little to fell for Jess, but only a little, it was really hard for me to warm to her, though I of course understood her sorrow. I felt much more empathy to Audrey, Lily, Mia and Phoebe to be honest, though all the characters were really well developed and they had depth to them.
However, it is a story about how the long – held grudges can affect feelings and whole relationships, breaking their whole family and the author has captured and described it brilliantly. She has got into her characters’ heads, as we got incredibly broad and detailed insight into Jess and Lily’s lives – she didn’t make the lives of the characters easy. They all had their share of sorrow, sadness and unhappiness in their lives.

There is a lot of grief and sadness on this book but it doesn’t mean that it’s depressing – on the contrary, I’ve never lost hope when reading this novel, and even though I’ve finished it in tears, there was still light in me. Simply, the author has gorgeous ways with words and how she describes how loss and grief affected the characters was beautiful and uplifting. She writes about different kinds of loss, not only when we lose someone literally but also when life choices drive us apart – and this all written in a tender, understanding way without judging. There were many layers in this story and I couldn’t wait to unravel them all.

Altogether, “If Only I Could Tell You” was a tender, gentle tale with a family at its core. It was heart – breaking. It was unbelievably honest and genuine in perception. There was so much depth to this book, it was clever, complex and touching upon such tender issues as love and loss, forgiveness, grief and family. The characters felt very real, and it doesn’t happen often when I experience so much feelings and emotions towards them. It was a powerful and moving story, exploring unconditional love, and it will make you think – the moral dilemma that you’ll never want to contemplate by yourself will make you think and understand even more what real love is. It describes the bonds between mothers, sisters, granddaughters and cousins in a poignant, honest and realistic way. Highly recommended!