If I Could Say Goodbye by Emma Cooper

I received a copy of this from the publisher via Netgalley, at my request. This review forms my honest opinion.

Blurb

Jennifer Jones’ life began when her little sister, Kerry, was born. So when her sister dies in a tragic accident, nothing seems to make sense any more.

Despite the support of her husband, Ed, and their wonderful children, Jen can’t comprehend why she is still here, while bright, spirited Kerry is not.

When Jen starts to lose herself in her memories of her sister, she doesn’t realise that the closer she feels to Kerry, the further she gets from her family.

Jen was never able to say goodbye to her sister. But what if she could?

Would you risk everything if you had the chance to say goodbye?

Review

I discovered Emma Cooper earlier this year when I was utterly enchanted by The First Time I Saw You, a book that I loved so much that my Mum, my Grandma and my aunt-in-law (who also doubles as my Grandma’s next door neighbour) have all now received gifted copies and each adored it just as much as I did.

I was therefore very excited to learn that the author had another book out, and I virtually leapt onto Netgalley to request to review. The problem is – I loved The First Time I Saw You so much…..would this live up to expectations?

The short answer. Yes. Although I would say that it didn’t sparkle quite so much for me. What the author manages to do once more however, is to admirably take a tragic subject – in this case death and grief – and to pull something quite beautiful and ultimately hopeful from it. I’ll admit to reading the blurb and expecting it to be an emotionally heavy read. But there is a lightness and wit within the writing which manages to strike the perfect balance between humour and emotion so that, far from being a tough read, I found myself transported and completely immersed.

One of the great strengths of this author is the brilliant characterisations and the building of relationships between them. Both books (and I know that I’ll be reading more in the future) have found me becoming invested in the characters and their stories. In this, the two dominating relationships are between Jennifer and her sister, Kerry and with her husband Ed. The scenes between Jennifer and Kerry are laced wonderfully with humour, and demonstrate the closeness between the two sisters. More emotionally laden are those with Ed. He represents life, and moving on and their relationship charts many changes throughout the course of the novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with If I Could Say Goodbye. A wonderful life affirming novel with a huge dollop of (unexpected but perfectly pitched) humour. Whilst I didn’t love it quite as much as The First Time I Saw You – it is only a hair and whisper away. I very much look forward to reading more by this author.

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