‘Some secrets are kept to deceive.
Hers was kept to protect’
– The Impossible Truths of Love
[ About the Book ]
The highly-anticipated new novel from bestselling author Hannah Beckerman, The Impossible Truths of Love slips between past and present, mother and daughter, to explore the secrets we keep to protect those we love.
As Nell’s father is dying, he makes a final declaration that hints at a long-held family secret. Feelings of isolation that have plagued Nell for years resurface, and suspicions about her past are raised.
Thirty-five years earlier, Annie was devastated by a series of traumas: one shock after another that she buried deep in her heart. The decisions she made were motivated by love, but she feared even then that nobody could ever understand her actions, let alone forgive her.
As their stories unravel, a generation apart, Nell finally discovers the devastating truth about her mother ’s past, and her own.
[ My Review ]
The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman will be released October 5th with Lake Union Publishing and is described as ‘a gripping, emotionally charged novel…a moving story about identity, secrets, and what it really means to feel that you’re one of the family.’ I am delighted to be joining the blog tour today with my review of a book that I feel will resonate with many for various reasons, but especially with any readers with siblings and/or elderly parents.
Nell is the youngest in her family with two older sisters, Clare and Laura. Of the three, Nell was the academic child, always that bit more advanced for her years. Her sisters were much older than her and this gap in age very much left Nell on the outside growing up.
‘So many times as a child, Nell experienced a feeling of being on the outside looking in, like a little girl at a sweet shop, face pressed to the glass, watching Clare and Laura inside selecting treats from oversized jars, knowing she was not permitted to go in and join them but wondering – hoping – whether one day there would come a time that she was.’
Nell studied Psychological Sciences at Oxford University and now, seventeen years later, is an Associate Professor in stem cell therapies. She is the only member of the family to move away with regular visits home but, according to her sisters, Nell never does enough. Clare and Laura have led very different lives to Nell, both holding a very sad underlying grudge against Nell that she has felt all her life. Clare, in particular, is never short of a snide remark, quick to anger with Nell, and to fire off accusations.
Now their Mum, Annie, has recently been diagnosed with dementia and their Dad, Bill, is in palliative care with only days left to live. Nell makes the journey home and is shocked to see the decline in her Dad’s condition. She has always had a very close relationship with her Dad. He made the effort to understand her. He accepted her choices and always encouraged her in her journey through life. But now Nell’s time is limited with him and, during their final conversation, he says something unexpected to Nell, hinting at a secret that makes no sense. Nell, confused and upset, has nowhere to turn to to uncover the full meaning of his words. Her mother’s mind is in turmoil as the dementia takes hold and Nell is clearly aware that she will find no answers there. What did her father mean? What is the mystery behind her father’s final words?
Hannah Beckerman takes the reader back thirty-five years to when Annie and Bill were in the earlier days of their marriage. A very traumatic event was to have a huge impact on Annie, one that would affect her for the rest of her life. But this was not to be the only shocking incident in Annie and Bill’s marriage, leaving permanent scars forever etched in their relationship.
The novel alternates between then and now, slowly drip-feeding the reader snippets from the different stages of Bill and Annie’s marriage over the years. Nell investigates into their past herself, speaking to friends of her parents and making some very unexpected discoveries along the way. Her relationship with her sisters continues to be fraught and Nell reverts back to being the younger sister. Although, in her own life, she is now a respected academic, in a good relationship and with her own home, their pass-remarkable habits from old still affect her deeply, with the barbs finding their target every time.
The Impossible Truths of Love is an extremely heartrending story. Full of compassion, Hannah Beckerman, reminds us all of the transience of life and the deep sadness associated with experiencing the decline in health and the loss of a parent. The power of the family dynamic is excellently portrayed highlighting the bitterness that can burrow deep into the heart of a family over the years for various reasons. Secrets, perceived betrayals, familial duty and sibling rivalry are just some of the themes that Hannah Beckerman incorporates into this novel. Most readers will identify with some aspect of the tale adding a genuine layer of authenticity to the whole reading experience. The Impossible Truths of Love is an emotional read, beautifully written and one that will leave its mark on every reader.
[ Bio ]
Hannah Beckerman is a novelist and journalist. She is a book critic and features writer for The Observer and FT Weekend Magazine and has contributed to a wide range of publications from The Guardian to Red magazine. As a regular chair at literary festivals and corporate events she has interviewed a host of authors and celebrities, as well as appearing as a book critic on BBC Radio 2 and Times Radio. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Hannah worked in television as a producer and commissioning editor for the BBC, Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel USA. She lives in London.
The Impossible Truths of Love is her third novel.
Twitter – @hannahbeckerman