Paperback, 410 pages
Published June 6th, 2019 by Hachette Books Ireland
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Fantasy
My Rating: 4/5
“Erin is about to turn 30 and her life is definitely not where she thought it would be. She hates her job, she’s jealous of her perfect flatmate – and she has just called off her wedding. A trip home to Ireland to celebrate her birthday with her beloved grandmother is exactly what Erin needs, and she’s spent days preparing herself to break the news about her broken engagement. What she’s not prepared for is the gift she receives: a secret family heirloom that will change everything. Could this be the answer Erin has been looking for – the key to the happy life she’s always dreamed of? Only time will tell.”
Written by Melanie Murphy, a YouTuber and previous author of a non-fiction title – Fully Functioning Human (Almost) – If Only is a fictitious novel surrounding the life of it’s protagonist, Erin, an Irish woman living in London who is on the cusp of turning 30 while tackling the obstacles life has thrown her way including the breakup of her engagement. On a trip back home to Ireland, a spanner is thrown into the works as her Granny feels this is the perfect time to tell Erin about a magical family heirloom passed down through generations of the female descendants before her.
The heirloom, which is a tree of life pendant holds the power to let Erin momentarily live in a parallel version of her life.
Although this is the fantasy element of the book, it’s so causally put that you would almost believe it’s real, but perhaps, the real meaning behind this work of fiction isn’t the magic. May be it’s a lesson of not holding onto regrets in life, knowing that the other side of life isn’t always greener and if you didn’t have choice over your own path, you wouldn’t be the person you are today. Then again, isn’t that what a good fiction novel should do? Inject a bit of magic into our lives.
Aside from the captivating magic storyline running throughout, this novel deals with an array of real life themes such as PCOS, social media, mental health, body image and grief with characters of all walks of life from traditional Grannies, proudly open LGBTQ, to single parents. It is a breath of fresh air.
That being said, it doesn’t mean you won’t ride a rollercoaster full of emotion while reading this book. In my opinion, you will need tissues at hand to get through the last two chapters, at least.
All I can say is, when is the next novel due, Melanie?