"If Only I Could Tell You"

Jess and Lily are sisters, but they haven’t spoken more than a few words to each other for almost 30 years following two back-to-back family tragedies that tore them apart in their youth. Miscommunication and blame have destroyed any semblance of their former close relationship. Even when Jess and Lily have their own daughters just months apart, the sisters ensure that the cousins never meet.

Lily is open to a softening of their estrangement, but Jess is harboring beliefs that make Lily a monster in her eyes. Jess cannot let go of her anger toward her older sister. The animosity has even affected their relationships with their husbands. Bitterness has entered into every aspect of their lives.

When Audrey, their mother, is diagnosed with a terminal illness, the sisters still refuse to meet. Audrey is close to both of her granddaughters who are aware of each other and know that they live within three miles of each other in the London suburbs. Now teenagers, they wonder at the splintered family their mothers’ acrimony has created.

Audrey creates scenarios that force the families to connect with each other. When the sisters finally hear the truth about the catastrophes that befell their family, the details shock and horrify them both. The sisters must decide if the facts they learn are enough to bring about reconciliation.

Hannah Beckerman, the author, has written a realistic story of heart-wrenching family dynamics. Beckerman is a book critic knows how to develop a plot with dramatic, cliff-hanging scenes that will entice her audience.