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BOOKS


Author Interview Hannah Beckerman


The new novel by Hannah Beckerman traces the impact of a family secret upon three generations of women


22 26th October 2018


‘‘I


Alice O’Keeffe @aliceokbooks


’m emotionally nosy about people, I think. I want to know what their story is,” says Hannah Beckerman. A woman who wears many hats, she is well known to the trade as a chair at literary festivals and events, and she also reviews books for the Observer and the Sunday Express. But when we meet in a café in West London, it is to talk about her second novel, If Only I Could Tell You (February), which Orion is pitching as upmarket women’s fiction for fans of Jojo Moyes. If Only I Could Tell You has at its heart a devastating family secret which has deeply affected three generations of women: matriarch Audrey; her two daughters Jess and Lily; and their respective daughters, Mia and Phoebe. The novel opens with a seemingly innocuous scene. It is a Thursday morning in June 1988 and Jess is 10 years old, waiting in the hallway for her teenage sister, Lily, so they can walk to school together. But then Jess decides to climb the stairs, and catches Lily coming out of the spare bedroom with a guilt expression on her face. She refuses to let Jess go into the room, or reveal what she has seen. Beckerman writes of Jess: “She does not know it yet, but by the time she gets home this aſternoon, the fabric of her


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