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All booksContemporary fictionIf Only I Could Tell You
If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman
Contemporary fiction

If Only I Could Tell You

Early Release
This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait 'til next month to read it.

by Hannah Beckerman

Quick take

A twisty, heart-wrenching family drama that's ultimately uplifting (we swear). Hug your siblings and parents anyway.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Sad


Why I love it

Etaf Rum
Author, A Woman Is No Man

Warning—have tissues at hand for this beautifully heartbreaking story! If Only I Could Tell You is half mystery, half tender tale about grief and estrangement and the kind of loss that can break even the closest family apart. A must read!

Imagine keeping a secret of something you saw—a secret that will have heartbreaking effects on your entire family—only to find out that what you had seen had been misconstrued all along?

One morning in 1988, ten-year-old Jess sees her fifteen-year-old sister Lily coming out of their family’s spare bedroom, a seemingly benign act which, bewilderingly, sparks a rift between the two sisters for decades. Flash forward 30 years: Their mother, Audrey—who has never discovered the reasons behind the feud—is dying. Determined to reconcile her adult daughters, she’ll stop at nothing to uncover their long-held secrets. But will her time run out before she can?

It’s been a while since I read a book that managed to be so honest in its navigation of loss, forgiveness, grief, and unconditional love. There are so many beautifully captured and tender moments between the characters and the ways in which the family dynamics unfold. Beckerman has a gift in making each scene, no matter how difficult the issue at hand, feel so personal and genuine. Hands down one of my favorite books of the year!

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Audrey knows that life is filled with ups and downs, but she 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. Her 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. Even more upsetting is the fact that Audrey 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, but ironically, 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 once and for all Audrey and those she loves.

Is it too late for one broken family to heal and find their way back to each other?

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Get an early look from the first pages of If Only I Could Tell You.

Member thoughts

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All (6705)
Love (2169)
Like (3602)
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6936 ratings
  • 31% Love
  • 52% Like
  • 13% Dislike
  • Bedford, TX

    This was a lovely book that I just read super fast. It was sweet & it made me shed a few tears. Two sister who haven’t for a long time over something I can’t say, you must read. It is well worth it. ????

  • Woodbridge , VA

    I kept thinking I had it figured out and I was wrong up until it was revealed at the end. I loved the different perspective, I cried and grieved with each character. Can't wait to see more from this author

  • Saint Michael, MN

    The intergenerational portrayal of how family drama (often) plays out through each characters lens, whether avoiding problems through busyness, secrecy or creating their own stories - lessons to be learned

  • Novi, MI

    WOW. This book throws you in all different directions trying to figure out the “big secret”. This book made me love characters, hate characters, and feel for them. Outstanding would highly recommend!!

  • Moore, OK

    Beautiful depictions of death and dying and the intricate bond between mothers and daughters and mothers and sisters. Makes me want to hug my mom and sister a little bit tighter and a little bit longer.

  • Midlothian, TX

    Really interesting twist! It was a little slow in the beginning, but I ended up loving it! The characters can b a little maddening at times, but I will be reading Hannah Beckerman’s other works soon!

  • Commack, NY

    I felt the secret wasn’t going to be kept for 28 years, that was a little excessive, but I think it was a great concept that should have come to light in maybe 10 years. Nice to see family can forgive

  • Calumet City, IL

    As a caregiver for my father who recently passed away this story hit home hard... so true to the core....I literally cried...phenomenal story. Very truthful feelings and emotions throughout this story.

  • Pleasant hill, MO

    Oh my goodness!! I finished this book in a week and it was sooo good!! I couldn’t put it down. I absolutely loved the plot line and the story! Strong female characters and a story line that is common

  • Hopatcong, NJ

    Frustrating- in a good way- as the author leaves you wondering for so long as to what the problem between the sisters is, and such a beautiful story following their mother who just wants them reunited

  • Voorhees, NJ

    Reminded me a lot of the show This Is Us: it's a mix of family, drama, love, friendship and grief, plus it pulls at your heart. The book is so compassionately written and has such a fulfilling ending.

  • Sherman, NY

    Family, secrets, misconceptions and hurt. This novel covers a broken family surrounded by a secret that ends up destroying so much until they are about to lose one more thing. An easy book to devour.

  • Wilmington , OH

    I started this book around 10 am. Done by 8. The author holds her cards close, giving the tiniest bits of info in a chapter. I just couldn't put it down. The connection to the characters was strong.

  • Penn Yan, NY

    Not my usual genre, but I was pulled right into the story and it never let me down. Many twists and turns, but ultimately good insight into womens' feelings and motivations. A worthy read for anyone

  • Mesquite, NV

    Great book. A lot of it hit home. There are many families out there that have gone through this agony. Hannah Beckerman illustrated how all lives are affected. Definitely urge people to read this book

  • Buzzards Bay, MA

    After mixed reviews I was hesitant to read but I ended up loving this book. Yes it was depressing and had a lot of heartbreaking parts but I loved the way it was written and the big lead up to twist.

  • Washington, DC

    I am not often compelled to write reviews, but wanted to encourage others to read this book, if only to recognize the importance of forgiveness in family relationships. Slow going at first; keep going

  • Woodbine, MD

    To live half a lifetime holding on to a memory that wasn't even true, yet tore a family apart. We all have memories of our past & sometimes we build them into more than they really were. well written!

  • Berlin, CT

    The twists in this book kept me on the edge of my seat! I loved the differing points of views, and the way everything connected. It definitely made me think about how some things are not as they seem.

  • Schaumburg, IL

    This book was one that I could NOT put down. The complicated relationship of these two sisters and their mom navigating loss as well as a misunderstood secret was heart-breaking but also so realistic

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