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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘If Only’ by Norma Budden


Renee Jacobs enjoyed spending time on either Canadian coast but there was something about British Columbia, particularly Vancouver Island, which drew her attention most of all.

It could’ve been the Rocky Mountains or the opportunity to watch orcas from the shore or even the Inner Harbor at Victoria. Whatever the case, when given the choice to pick where her family would vacation during spring, she often picked the Pacific coast of Canada.


Nothing too sinister or out of the ordinary in those first few lines. Many of us are creatures of habit and have our own favourite haunts where we will always retreat to, given half a chance. I am nosey to discover just what it is about the Pacific coast of Canada which draws Renee back again and again

Chapter One

Demi Glenn sat behind the white marble desk, drumming her fingers on its surface waiting for the phone to ring.

Seconds passed into interminable minutes. Finally, nerves forced her to stand; she began to pace the spacious office with floor to ceiling windows she had moved into five years earlier.

Seeking something more, she had quit her job with Wainwright and Associates and branched out on her own. The clients she previously worked with had followed her; it wasn’t long before Demi was making a tidy income, yet able to reduce her rates when the need arose.

The hours were long but that was to be expected as an accountant, especially with the growing number of  clients she was receiving.

Even so, despite the ever-growing number of files sitting on her desk, Demi’s face was ashen, even as she dared to hope that the phone call would bring favorable news – that she would be one step closer to finding the daughter she had given up so long ago.


Now things are getting interesting and intriguing. Are Renee and Demi related in some way and is Pacific Canada a relevant place in both their histories?

Have you got to keep reading to discover the secrets about to be uncovered? I know I do!

If you really don’t mind the hint of a spoiler, you can find out more about both book and author, here


A picture button for book beginnings at Rose City ReaderWould the first few lines of your book make you want to read on?

If so, would you like to share them with us, (without revealing too many spoilers of course) ?

Click here and visit your host, Gilion @ Rose City Reader

You can then leave a link to your own book beginnings post, or just browse for some great reads, there are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.

Don’t forget that Gilion and all the other contributors to this meme love to hear from you, so why not leave a comment or two at the same time?

I can’t wait to do a little blog hopping myself and check out all the great Book Beginnings you have!


As this was an author review request, in conjunction with a current blog tour she has organized, a download for Kindle reading was received, courtesy of the author, Norma Budden.

This will in no way influence any comments I may express about the book, in any blog article I may post. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.

Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Anne,

      I have to admit that ordinarily, a tear jerker like this wouldn’t be my first choice for a good read, however the added theme of adoption has rather piqued my interest and now I can’t wait to discover how the storyline unfolds.

      It wouldn’t do if we were to all like the same thing and that is even more reason to thank you for taking the time to stop by 🙂

    • Hi Margaret,

      If you link through and check out the synopsis, you will see that the biological father of the daughter Demi gave up for adoption as a baby, is in fact the person she turns to, to help try and track her down. I’m wondering just how that one is going to work, with them meeting again after all this time and just what his reaction is going to be when he discovers that he has another child he knew nothing about!

      Oops! I think this one is already compulsive reading for me 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to visit and for leaving your comment. and have a good weekend.

    • Hi Sherry,

      I guess that any mother who was even remotely emotionally stable and of a certain level of intelligence, but who, through no fault of their own, had to give a baby or child up for adoption, would spend the rest of their life having regrets and the ‘what if …’ question at the back of their minds.

      How do you then get on with life, without any potential new family you become part of sensing the vibes, especially if you then go on to have more children of your own, who you keep?

      Your life must surely then be filled with sadness and soul searching, for ever!

      Thanks for your interesting comments, I really appreciate you taking part in the discussion and ‘Happy Reading’

    • Sherry,

      As it turns out, like all of us, Demi holds some level of regret about past decisions. However, in no way is her life filled with regret; instead, it is one filled with blessings.


      • The good comes with the bad. How else would we know the difference? Our past makes us who we are today, so I think it is all good, even when it applies to the characters in a novel. Writing like that will make it seem as if it is really happening.

        • Sherry,

          I believe without a shadow of a doubt, that our past makes us who we are, but based on that premise, I still can’t believe that if I had to give up a child for adoption through sheeer necessity, I wouldn’t be able to live through a single day without thinking ‘If Only..’ I am almost certain that I wouldn’t have been able to go on to have more children who I was able to keep with me, the guilt would be just too painful to bear. That is just a personal view however and is no reflection of other people’s point of view.

          • Yvonne,

            My thoughts mirror your own. I would be wondering how my child was feeling, too, and doubt I’d ever be able to freely give birth to other children. I don’t even know that I would be able to adopt one, especially if I had not been willing to keep my own – unless I gave up my child for their own safety and protection. Even then, it would be a major decision.


    • Hi Lisa,

      I am guessing that there are certainly going to be setbacks and sadness for Demi, even if the phone call does bring her closer to finding her daughter.

      It doesn’t really say just how long ago the adoption had taken place, so it might be that her daughter will want nothing to do with her.

      Does Demi have a new family who either do or don’t know about the adoption and would they want another child to become part of their lives?

      Is Demi considering the affect that her bursting back into her daughters life, will have on her adoptive family, it might well tear them apart, no matter what her daughter then decides to do!

      So many questions, but yes, as you say, inevitably parts of this story will be very sad and heart wrenching!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment , I really appreciate it and look forward to your visits.

    • Hi Katherine,

      I too will pace the floor, but that is generally if I am worried that I am going to be late for an event or meeting and we haven’t left the house according to schedule.

      If I get annoyed or angry, I will generally cross my legs, then constantly rock the top leg back and forth, then everyone seems to steer clear of me!

      If I am really nervous, I generally can’t keep my hands still and I will worry at the skin around my fingers constantly.

      I didn’t realise I had so many ‘nervous’ habits, now I’m going to become paranoid about them .. 🙂

      Glad you like the sound of ‘If Only’ and thanks for taking the time to comment this week.

  • I like the prologue. I’ve been to beautiful Vancouver Island several times, and it would be fun to read a book set in that locale. However, Chapter One was a little slow for me because of the inclusion of back story. I’d rather get right into the action and learn the back story later. But then the mystery about her daughter hooked me. Now I want to know more!
    Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. I always look forward to reading your thoughts.
    Sandy @ TEXAS TWANG

    • Hi Sandra,

      So I’m guessing that you would have preferred Chapter One to have opened with the ringing of the phone?

      I quite like a bit of a build up and the inclusion of some background information to set the scene, especially for a book’s opening gambit, but then I am very much a fan of descriptive writing, which I know for some readers will draw the process out for a bit too long.

      The mystery about Demi’s daughter certainly sounds as though it is going to involve some heartbreaking moments and revelations, doesn’t it?

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, I appreciate the comment, as always 🙂

    • Sandra,

      I have to let you know now…the only part of the book which uses Vancouver Island as a setting is the prologue because it was Renee’s favorite place to travel during vacation. By the time chapter one begins, she is back home in Winnipeg.

      In the future, I will be writing a story based in Vancouver Island but, at the risk of you deciding not to read the book, I wanted to let you know so you wouldn’t go into reading it with misconceptions.

      Thanks for your interest,

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I quite like the cover of this book as well. When I read your comment and went back to check it out, I realised that the cover ties together those two sets of opening lines, so I have probably jumped the gun here and assumed that Renee and Demi are related in some way – unless of course Renee is the adoptive mother of Demi’s daughter?

      This is no spoiler, as it forms part of the synopsis …

      “David Alexander, a married father of two daughters – the father of the baby she had given up so long ago who had no idea he had sired a child as a teen.”

      That is one big secret and I am not altogether sure that Demi’s new family know about it either!

      Secrets certainly have a way of coming back to haunt you, don’t they? Probably best not to harbour any secrets in the first place!! Besides which, I am rubbish at keeping things to myself, so you are definitely better off never letting me in on your secret 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend.

  • The beginning does draw me in, especially after reading the opening of the forward. I’m not one for tear-jerkers (not being one who cries easily), but I’d certainly give this book a shot.

    Here’s the opening of Down River by John Hart. You might end up being surprised by my thoughts when I get around to reviewing it.

    “The river is my earliest memory. The front porch of my father’s house looks down on it from a low knoll, and I have pictures, faded yellow, of my first days on that porch. I slept in my mother’s arms as she rocked there, played in the dust while my father fished, and I know the feel of that river even now: the slow churn of red clay, the back eddies under cut banks, the secrets it whispered to the hard, pink granite of Rowan County. Everything that shaped me happened near that river.”

    • Hi Kelly,

      I never used to be much of a cry baby and most friends and family thought me a very hard person.
      As I got older, I found that even though I could argue my corner without getting upset, as soon as the conflict was over, whether I had won or lost my corner, I would instantly break down in tears.
      These days I seem to cry at the drop of a hat, although I am still very stoic when it comes to certain things such as sickness and death.

      A book like this certainly wouldn’t make me cry, in the same way that most TV or films wouldn’t. However the very odd random act might start me off instantly!!

      I have already added ‘Down River’ to my ‘Want To Read List’, off the back of your earlier mentioned ‘teaser’ lines. This totally captivating and descriptive opening passage, would have tipped the balance, if nothing else already had! This sounds like an idyllic childhood for anyone, as part of a loving family, however, after having read the synopsis, it sounds as though things are not quite what they might appear to be!

      I have always wanted to live by running water, that is until the horrendous floods of last year, when a landscape which once looked so picturesque, became a death trap for some, a waterlogged nightmare for hundreds and the knowledge that their property was rendered virtually unsaleable for thousands more!

      Thanks for sharing your lines and I look forward to your review of ‘Down River’, should you decide to post one.

      I hope that your weekend has been a good one. Over here today (Sunday), the weather has been thoroughly horrible – cold, wet, windy and miserable – almost time to close the curtains Thank Goodness!

    • Kelly,

      The book you just introduced me to is one I will likely add to my reading list as the paragraph you shared certainly drew me in. Thanks for sharing it!

      Should you decide to read If Only, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts.


    • Hi Naida,

      I am always worried when the phone rings in the middle of the night, as that in my experience, has always been the harbinger of bad news.

      Sitting waiting for a phone call to come through, is almost as never-racking, especially when it is genuinely a fifty fifty chance whether the news is going to be good or bad.

      Norma does a great job at building the suspense in the featured paragraph, so I only hope that it goes the right way and is good news for Demi.

      Thanks for stopping by, I always look forward to your visits and comments 🙂

    • Naida,

      The phone call didn’t bring the news Demi was looking for, but it spurred her into making another phone call which would change the course of her life forever. If you decide to read it sometime, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


  • I’d pass on this one as I just can’t accept this -in the first sentence – is possible…’drumming her fingers *in* its surface waiting for the phone to ring.’

    drumming her fingers in its surface waiting for the phone to ring.

    • HI Sherry,

      Ooops! Do you know, that is my mistake, not the authors!

      There have been so many people stop by to read this, including both Norma and myself, yet none of us have picked up on MY MISTAKE.

      I too, hate bad spelling and editing in a book and I am usually so careful when typing a passage from a book. It just goes to show that no matter how many times you read something, the same mistake can slip through the net – I guess the eye only sees what it wants to see and the brain registers likewise.

      Sherry, I am so sorry if this put you off considering ‘If Only’ for your TBR pile and I also apologise to the author Norma Budden, for my error. It certainly wasn’t intentional, or meant to cause controversy and I have now fixed the mistake!

      • Yvonne,

        I must admit to not even reading the text. I just presumed it was copied and pasted from what I had sent to you so I just looked at the arrangement and began reading the comments as they started coming in.

        No worries. If anyone wants to read the book, they will read it. It currently has 6 reviews on Amazon’s American site.

Written by Yvonne