How can you know someone until you learn to talk about the past?
Letty and Alf are the only English speakers at an Italian beginners’ class in Rome, where they discover that the language which really connects them is dance. Alf is nineteen, a former ballroom champion, who seems reassuringly confident and at ease with himself. Letty is twenty-two, unusually reserved and studious, having been forced to give up her childhood dream of becoming a ballet dancer. They come from different worlds, but when they waltz around the Piazza Navona together, a passionate relationship begins.
Can their decision to live in the moment in the Eternal City keep their histories from encroaching? Why is Alf living in a shared apartment, estranged from his family? And what has wrenched Letty away from the apparent security of her Oxford University degree? They each find themselves haunted by the fear that the secrets they have yet to share will tear them apart...
When Letty returns to London and Alf to Blackpool, they make discoveries about themselves and their families which give them a better understanding of who they really are. But are the events that brought them together too complex and distressing to allow them a future?
IF ONLY is a novel about language, identity, secrets, passion and dance — and the indefinable collision of physical, emotional and intellectual excitement that we call falling in love.