If I Could Say Goodbye by Emma Cooper

Published: September 17th, 2020
Publisher: Headline
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Fiction, Romance

Happy Publication Day to this gorgeous book. Thank you to Alara at Headline for the invitation to take part in the blog tour and my gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

A heart-warming and uplifting story about love, loss and finding the strength to say goodbye, from the author of The First Time I Saw You.

Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Cecelia Ahern, If I Could Say Goodbye is sure to ‘break your heart but put it back together again’ (Katie Fforde)

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?

MY REVIEW:

If I Could Say Goodbye is a heartwarming exploration of grief, moving on and learning to live again after loss that also examines how mental health is affected by trauma, loss and guilt, this book was a surprising balm for my soul.

When Jen’s sister Kerry is killed after being hit by a car, she not only loses her sister, but her best friend too. The pair were inseparable. Her grief is further magnified by the guilt she feels as Kerry died after pushing her out of the way of the car. Jen feels she should have been the one to die that day and can’t come to terms with why she was spared instead of the sister she adored. As she descends deeper into her grief, those around her watch helplessly as they wonder if Jen will ever find the strength to let go, move on and live life without her sister by her side.

This was so beautifully written. Intricate, layered and moving, the overwhelming sense of loss is palpable, emanating from every page. But with exquisite skill, the author has laced the poignant prose with humour that lightens the heavy subject matter. The characters were relatable, likeable and richly drawn and the story took me on a journey I didn’t expect as Jen’s mental health began to deteriorate. I found I saw a lot of myself in Jen and could relate to her guilt over not doing more to save a loved one and her spiraling mental health that ultimately led to breakdown. The author captures perfectly the feeling of knowing you’re going over the edge and breaking but also being unable to stop it. But the character who broke me was Ed, for in him I saw my partner and for the first time truly felt like I understood how it was for him when I was at my lowest points. I felt like I was living every moment beside these characters and was completely absorbed and invested in their lives. 

Powerful, immersive, heart-wrenching and hopeful, this is one of those books that simply needs to be experienced. So, please read it. Just make sure you’ve got some tissues nearby when you do. I’m now off to buy Emma Cooper’s back catalogue…

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Emma Cooper is a former teaching assistant, who lives in Shropshire, with her partner and four children. Her spare time consists of writing novels, drinking wine and watching box-sets with her partner of twenty-four years, who still makes her smile every day.

Her debut, The Songs of Us was snapped up in multiple pre-empts and auctions and is now being translated into seven different languages.

Emma has always wanted to be a writer – ever since her childhood, she’s been inventing characters (her favourite being her imaginary friend ‘Boot’) and is thrilled that she now gets to use this imagination to bring to life all of her creations.

The Songs of Us was inspired by Emma’s love of music and her ability to almost always embarrass herself, and her children, in the most mundane of situations. She was so fascinated by the idea of combining the two, that she began to write Melody’s story. Working full-time with a large family meant that Emma had to steal snippets of ‘spare’ time from her already chaotic and disorganised life; the majority of her novel was written during her lunchtime in a tiny school office. She never expected to fall so deeply in love with the King family and is overwhelmed that others feel the same.

She has three loves in life: reading, writing and her family…oh, and music, cheese, pizza, films – Maths is not one of her talents.

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