From bestselling author Hannah Beckerman comes a moving story about memory, secrets, and what it really means to feel that you’re one of the family.
When Nell’s father makes a deathbed declaration that hints at a long-held secret, it reignites feelings of isolation that have plagued her for years. Her suspicions about the family’s past only deepen when her mother, Annie, who is losing her memories to dementia, starts making cryptic comments of her own.
Thirty-five years earlier, Annie’s life was upended by a series of traumas—one shock after another that she buried deep in her heart. The decisions she made at the time were motivated by love, but she knew even then that nobody could ever understand—let alone forgive—what she did.
As the two women’s stories unravel, a generation apart, Nell finally discovers the devastating truth about her mother’s past, and her own.
In this beautifully observed and emotionally powerful story of identity, memory and the nature of family, Hannah Beckerman asks: To what lengths would you go to protect the ones you love?
Many thanks to FMcM Associates for sending me a proof copy of the book in return for an honest review, and for my spot on the blog tour.
This novel offers a deep dive into the secrets of a family, unravelling the tangled strands in a skilful and absorbing way. Nell’s attempts to come to terms with her father’s recent death and the decline in her mother’s health are complicated by the hints of things left unsaid, of memories pushed to the bottom of the pile, and it is a compelling emotional journey to uncover the truth. The narrative flicks back and forth between Now and Then, using an evocative present tense for both, and I found myself equally drawn to Nell and Annie as protagonists.
The story is tenderly and delicately told, excavating painful and difficult truths with care and sensitivity. The themes are deep and raw, but they are handled with beautiful empathy and respect. Beckerman is a wonderful writer – her sentences shine, and there is a deliberateness, a carefulness, to the prose that suits its heavy subject matter.
Annie’s story in particular reminded me a lot of Elaine in Mel O’Doherty’s novel Fallen, which I read earlier this year, and I think the two writers share a sensibility, a care and precision that lends itself to these weighty topics. If you like fiction that moves you, that delves deep into the emotional recesses of what it means to be part of a family, into the ebb and flow of memory and truth, then you will find much to enjoy in The Impossible Truths of Love.
About the Author
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.
The Impossible Truths of Love is published by Lake Union and is available to purchase here.