Samuel, the day we met I knew I’d finally found what I’ve been waiting for.
Happiness, at last.
Then you left me.
And now I am alone.
Everyone I love leaves in the end.
But not this time.
I’m not giving up on us.
I’m not giving up on you.
When you love someone, you never let them go.
That’s why for me, this is just beginning.
Book Info: 286 pages. Publisher: Mantle. Publishing Date: 9 July 2020
Charlotte Levin has been shortlisted for the Andrea Badenoch Award, part of the New Writers North Awards, and for the Mslexia Short Story Competition. IF I CAN’T HAVE YOU is her debut novel, and IF I LET YOU GO is out in March 2023. Charlotte lives in Manchester with her cat Opal Moon and kittens Leonard and Walter
You know those books you start and within the first few paragraphs “you know!”.. well this is one of those rare occasions that I picked up a book and didn’t put it down because “I knew”. If I Can’t Have You grabbed me tightly by the short n curlies, crawled under my skin and attached itself deep into my psyche from the opening paragraph to those 2 little words THE END.
If you follow my blog then you will know how much I love unhinged, unreliable narrators and this book didn’t just tick my boxes, it used a neon yellow highlighter.
Imagine Joe Goldberg (YOU) and Sweetpea had a one-night stand and they had a lovechild… so now let me introduce you to Constance Little.
A 28 year old receptionist in a private doctor’s surgery in Kensington. A chain-smoking, emotionally stunted woman who is running away from her past having recently experienced a traumatic loss. Living in a crappy bedsit, drinking too much and avoiding her own feelings so when the handsome and charming Dr Samuel Stevens starts working at the surgery she can’t help falling for him.
If I Can’t Have You is an exceptional debut novel and Charlotte Levin really brings Constance Little to life, warts and all. She’s created a character that the reader feels all the emotions for. Whilst we can’t quite agree with some of her actions, we understand why she does the things she does. She has bottled up her deep feelings about her parents and never faced up to the loss and grief properly which has caused her to behave in the way she does.
The book is dark and at times very depressing, but I couldn’t put it down. I wanted Constance to have her happy ever after, even whilst watching her self-destruct. This takes obsession to a new level and I absolutely devoured it. Absolutely FABULOUS and I 100% recommend it to anyone who likes their books dark, disturbing and utterly gripping.