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An outstanding debut for readers of Jennifer Egan, Alice Hoffman and Anne Tyler, set in a Long Island community in the early 1970s.

‘Nostalgic, utterly compelling and very, very cool… Mind-blowingly impressive’ Eva Rice, author of THE LOST ART OF KEEPING SECRETS

Judy Chicurel’s exquisitely written debut evokes the atmosphere of a 1970s summer in a close-knit working class community on Long Island. For readers of Jennifer Egan, Alice Hoffman and Anne Tyler

Katie and her young friends face a changing world, with prospects very different from those presented to their parents. The Vietnam War seems pointless to many but has devastated lives that remain broken even after the fighting is over. As, with bittersweet humour, the characters’ experiences unfold, daily events mirror bigger issues: an illegal abortion is plotted; the town is sinking into an economic abyss forcing Katie’s friends to leave in search of more promising horizons; drugs claim the lives of those often too high to recognise the danger until it is too late; and Katie dreams of a boy back from Nam who’s still fighting a battle she doesn’t understand.

IF I KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO BE THIS BEAUTIFUL, I NEVER WOULD HAVE LET YOU GO touchingly conveys the magic of everyday living during a darkened time.


Chicurel [is] a gifted and versatile writer, and always draws you in
Sunday Express
'This love story set in 70s Long Island is guaranteed to have you gripped'
This book will haunt you long after you've finished
The story hooked me in so I felt the characters' pain and hope
Beautifully evocative
'A thought-provoking debut novel'
Beautiful and heart-breaking at once. A mesmerising, compulsive combination
Adele Parks
'Tender and brave storytelling'
Beautifully written prose... Rarely do books evoke so viscerally a place, so tangibly a time and such a broad sweep of big themes
Hannah Beckerman
Despite the dark sides, If I Knew is gorgeous and thoughtful; a compelling, wonderful look at a particular point in time
Chicurel's novel has its dark moments, but the overriding sentiment is one of acceptance, resilience and the enduring power of friendship. A coming-of-age-tale with a haunting quality 4*
The Lady
'A really wonderful book that will capture your heart and occupy your thoughts'
Raw, nostalgic, utterly compelling and very, very cool... A mind-blowingly impressive debut
Eva Rice