Wednesday, May 13, 2015

If Only - Review

If Only by Norma Budden

Rating: 3 Stars
Source: Author in exchange for an honest review

Description:  16 years ago, as a young and frightened high school student, Demi Glenn gave birth to a daughter and gave her up for adoption.  Now, Demi feels that she must find the daughter that she only saw for a brief moment all those years ago.  When 2 private detectives are unable to give her the answers she needs she turns to the only person left - her high school boyfriend and her daughter's biological father who never knew.

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book: I'm always intrigued by adoption stories.

My Impression:  I thought that this story was unique in the focus of the story.  Most adoption stories that I have read focus on the child who is trying to find his/her parents while If Only focuses on the the birth parents.  It was interesting and heartbreaking to see the effects of carrying this secret for so long on Demi and it was hard not to feel sorry for her as she felt that she was doing the right thing at the time.  It's also very easy to understand her "what might have been thoughts" .

But, while I understood her "what might have been" thoughts I did get frustrated with Demi as her visions seemed to be on the unrealistic side and never really seemed to realize the challenges for both her and David as well as their child if she had chosen to keep the baby and inform David.   While, the pacing was good throughout the book there was too much internal discussions for my taste.

While this book ended up not being quite for me the characters were developed and the pacing never dragged.  I enjoyed that this one focused more on the emotions than the investigation involved.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Probably, while this one didn't necessarily work for me I still found it very readable which is always a good sign!

Would I Recommend this Book?:  If you are interested in adoption stories I think you would be interested in this one.

Challenges Met?


  1. I don't know that this book is one that I want to read. Still, I imagine it must be very difficult in her situation. Most of my exposure to adoption is through my profession, and those stories are a mixture of happy and sad, depending on what side you are on.

    My father-in-law was adopted, but has never been interested in his birth family or his history. From what my mother-in-law says, it sounds like he was the product of an affair.

    1. Adoption is such a complicated issue I imagine no emotion is not mixed in some way. That is interesting about your father in law. I'm not sure how I'd feel about knowing my past if I was in his position.

  2. I'd find it hard to agree or relate to a character that wants to find a child she gave up for adoption. She choose giving her child up for a reason, in the hopes the child would have a better life than a teenage mother would be able to give. So unless she had some kind of written understanding with the adoptive parents than she gave up all rights in having contact or a relationship with the child. Her trying the find the child is only ever going to cause disruption in that child's life. And I can't find enjoyment in a story like that.
    So unfortunately this would not be a book for me. I'm glad you gave it a go though.
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

    1. I can understand wanting to know about the child but I did get frustrated with her attitude at times. Not all books work for all of us - I guess that's what makes it all an adventure.

  3. Both of my children are adopted. I have always worried that the birth mother of my son, who is an American adoption, would come looking for him. I don't know how I would handle it....

    1. I have a friend who has an adopted child and other that adopted two children after going through the foster care system and they have very similar worries. Every phone call from an unrecognized number causes a moment of panic.

  4. That's the first I've seen go in that direction as well. That is interesting to seethe parent searching. The adoption one that usually sticks in my head is Shalvis and the Lucky Harbor series with Tara and Ford. Did you read that one?

  5. This theme always draws me in too as I have some personal experience with it. Also it's such an emotional subject that when done right it can be a rollercoaster of a read. I think the BMs unrealistic thoughts might get to me too but it does sound like one I'd like to read someday.