printed copy

If You Could See What I See

Cathy Lamb

ISBN 9780758259400
Publish Date 7/30/2013
Format Trade Paperback
Categories Kensington, Women's Fiction, General, Fiction
List Price: $15.00

Other Editions


In this moving, insightful new novel, acclaimed author Cathy Lamb delves into the heart of going home again, the challenge of facing loss--and the freedom of finally letting go…

For decades, the women in Meggie O'Rourke's family have run Lace, Satin, and Baubles, a lingerie business that specializes in creations as exquisitely pretty as they are practical. The dynamic in Meggie's family, however, is perpetually dysfunctional. In fact, if Meggie weren't being summoned back to Portland, Oregon, by her grandmother, she'd be inclined to stay away all together.

Since her husband's death a year ago, Meggie's emotions have been in constant flux, and so has her career as a documentary film maker. Finding ways to keep the family business afloat--and dealing with her squabbling sister and cousin--will at least give her a temporary focus. To draw customers to their website, Meggie decides to interview relatives and employees about their first bras and favorite lingerie. She envisions something flip and funny, but the confessions that emerge are unexpectedly poignant. There are stories of first loves and aching regrets, passionate mistakes and surprising rendezvous. And as the revelations illuminate her family's past, Meggie begins to find her own way forward.

With warmth and unflinching humor, If You Could See What I See explores the tender truths we keep close--and what can happen when we find the courage to bare them to the world.

Outstanding Praise For Cathy Lamb And Her Novels

The First Day Of The Rest Of My Life

"The blending of three or more generations and the secrets they harbor keeps this story moving briskly, culminating in a satisfying ending that makes us believe that despite heartache and angst, there can be such a thing as happily ever after." --New York Journal of Books

Such A Pretty Face

"Stevie's a winning heroine." --Publishers Weekly

"Funny and poignant." --RT Book Reviews

Henry's Sisters

An Indie Next List Notable Book

"A story of strength and reconciliation and change." --The Sunday Oregonian

"If you loved Terms of Endearment, the Ya Ya Sisterhood, and Steel Magnolias, you will love Henry's Sisters. Cathy Lamb just keeps getting better and better." --The Three Tomatoes Book Club

The Last Time I Was Me

"Charming." --Publishers Weekly

Julia's Chocolates

"Julia's Chocolates is wise, tender, and very funny. In Julia Bennett, Cathy Lamb has created a deeply wonderful character, brave and true. I loved this beguiling novel about love, friendship and the enchantment of really good chocolate." --Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author


1. If you were going on a trip, would you take Regan, Brianna, Meggie, Lacey, or Tory with you? Why? Wheremwould you go? What would you do? What advice wouldmthey give you about your life?

2. Describe Meggie. What are her strengths and weaknesses? Was she fair to the police chief, Blake Crighton? What did her clothes say about her? Would you want to be friends with her?

3. Aaron Torelli did not admit to Meggie that he had severe mental health issues before he married her. Should he have? What was Meggie’s obligation to him after she found out? What should she have done differently in her marriage? What would you have done? Would you have left sooner than she did? Would you have left at all?

4. Was Meggie justified in leaving Aaron after he had an affair, despite his severe mental health issues? Was Meggie justified in having an affair with Henry while still married to Aaron?

5. How did you like the structure of the book? Did the flashbacks to Meggie’s marriage enhance the story? What are the overarching themes? What did the tree house symbolize? What did Mount Hood and Lace, Satin, and Baubles symbolize?

6. Is Lacey a good mother? Can you relate to her struggles as a working mother to three unique teenagers? Did you like Tory? Was her anger merited? Did Scotty deserve the wood carving in his front yard?

7. Hayden Rockaford said, “I know I was supposed to be born a girl but something got messed up. I think that somehow, when my mom was pregnant with me, something went wrong. It’s not like I’m wrong, or I’m a mistake, and it’s not her fault, not my fault, but something didn’t connect in there right. For me, what happened is the right plumbing didn’t grow in. The plumbing was switched. That’s it. I’m in the wrong body.” What did you think of this character and his struggles? How was it handled by the author?

8. “Kalani Noe applied for a job at the factory as a seamstress. Her husband did not want her to have a job. A job meant independence. A job meant money. Both threats to him. Her lip was split in half. One eye was swollen shut, and there was a bruise down her left cheek. During the interview, she kept dabbing at her ear, which her husband had partially bitten off.” Why did the author put Kalani in the story? Contrast Kalani’s life with the O’Rourke sisters’ lives. What does her future look like?

9. Which scene did you enjoy the most? Which scenes made you laugh? Were there any scenes that made you cry or were especially touching? Were there any scenes that reminded you of your own life or struggles?

10. Of all the bra videos that Meggie took, which voice was the most memorable, the most poignant to you, and why? Did the bra videos enrich the story?

11. Regan O’Rourke said, “I am not defined by my body or what has happened to it. I am not defined by beatings or an arching whip or a dangerous man, or by the wreckage of prostitution. I am not defined by my age. I am not defined by what others think of me. I am defined by myself. I will define myself to me. I will live, I will laugh. I will love. I will not be silenced. I will not be invisible. I will be me until the very end. And I will look beautiful. . . . I dared to live the way I damn well wanted to live.” Are you like Regan?

12. Brianna O’Rourke says that women lose interest in sex because “oftentimes women are simply not attracted to their partners anymore. Their partners are boring in bed or self-centered, inane, ridiculous, abusive, or gross. It’s not what men want to hear. They want to blame their wives and girlfriends, but it’s the truth. Sometimes women are flat-out exhausted. There can be medical issues, like thyroid problems or depression. There can be hormone issues, too. Who likes blowing up in bed with night sweats? Working too hard will kill a sex drive, too, as can motherhood and its demands.” Is she right? How does Brianna’s own admission to not liking sex impact her ability to be an effective sex therapist, or does it?

13. Brianna was not honest with Lacey and Meggie about Sperm Donor Number One and Two. What does that say about Brianna? How will this impact their relationship in the future? What should Lacey and Meggie do? Contact the fathers or leave things alone? What would you do? If the story continued, where do you think the author would take that plotline?

14. Discuss Meggie’s character arc. What were the most significant events in the book that caused her to change by the end?

15. If you were in The Fashion Story, what lingerie would you design for yourself? What would your videotape say about you?

16. Grandma Regan and the O’Rourke sisters had many adventures with the Bust Out and Shake It Adventure Club list. What’s on your list?

About Cathy Lamb:

Cathy Lamb, the author of Julia’s Chocolates, The Last Time I Was Me, and Henry’s Sisters, lives in Oregon. She is married with three children. She writes late at night when it's just her and the moon and a few shooting stars.

Average Customer Review

Based on 2 reviews

Customer Review

I laughed, I cried, I loved (Wednesday, July 31, 2013)
Reviewer: Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

This isn't the first novel I have read by Cathy Lamb, in 2011 I borrowed Henry's Sisters from the library and though I never wrote a full review I gave the book five stars and wrote "I would give it more if I could." When I finished If You Could See What I See, the first thing I did was make a note that read "I laughed, I cried, I loved!" and the second thing I did was to order the author's entire back list.

Articulating why I so adored this novel is difficult because I can't isolate one particular element that I can identify as extraordinary. There is just something about the way in which Lamb writes that works for me.

In simplistic terms, the story of If You Could See What I See begins when Meggie O'Rourke, still struggling with the fall out from her disastrous marriage, returns home to Oregon to rescue her beloved grandmother's failing lingerie company from financial ruin. Buffeted by her grandmother's indomitable will and her sisters rivalry, Meggie has to find a way to secure both herself, and Lace, Satin and Baubles, a future.

But If You Could See What I See offers so much more than this neat summary reveals. The shocking truth of Meggie's marriage, the complex dynamics of her family and their relationships, the foundation on which the company was built and the lives of the people who work for it, all create a story that is both hilarious and heartbreaking. Similarly, the characters will shock and surprise you, from Brianna O'Rourke's frank discussions about sexual satisfaction on national TV to Hayden's revelation that he is a girl stuck in a boy's body.

There is grief, pain and tragedy, deeply felt and sensitively explored, but all tempered by heart, humour and even romance. A story about love, family and courage, I laughed, I cried, I loved!

"“Hang on to Your Bra—A Heart-Wrenching. Roller Coaster Ride of a Tale”" (Wednesday, July 24, 2013)
Reviewer: Nancy Narma

I thought nothing would ever beat Ms. Lamb’s last book, “A Different Kind of Normal”. Boy, was I wrong! In this latest heart-wrenching, roller-coaster ride of a story, we travel to Portland, Oregon and meet Meggie O’Rourke, a beautiful but bedraggled documentary film maker with low self esteem. Meggie has been summoned back to Portland by her small in stature, but mighty in will Grandma, Regan O’Rourke, founder and owner of the lingerie co., “Lace, Satin and Baubles”. Meggie takes up residence in a tree house and is reunited with her Sisters, family-oriented Lacey and spicy
and spirited Tory. Their Grandmother hopes, with Meggie’s return, that her faltering company can turn around and that the Sisters can unite as a family. What a tall order! Especially with the personality clashes between Lacey and Tory and troubles surrounding the employees. The Sister/Company turmoil is not all Meggie must cope with, as she must fight the demons that invade her nightmares and daymares. Her mental as well as physical health is affected, plus her ability to trust, love and enjoy the life she once knew. Perhaps a handsome hunk of a Police Chief who lives across the street could be of assistance? Maybe not.
We add to the already chaotic mix, Meggie, Lacey and Tory’s Mother, Brianna O’Rourke, who is a famous outspoken Sex Therapist and loyal, lovable and sweet but blunt Kalani Noe, who owns/manages the factory in Sri Lanke with an iron hand—only to find out she has a story of her own to tell as well. Through it all, age-old secrets are revealed and love thought lost may be found. The Author handles difficult topics like suicide, transgender and bullying with tact and tenderness, but, above all we are subtly reminded not to judge another until you have walked a mile in their shoes. You’ll want to shake some sense into some of the characters, chuckle at their antics, cry with a warmed heart and cheer Meggie’s courage and tenacity, but most of all, you won’t want to put this book down! I didn’t! Thank-you Cathy—This is your finest work to date. Another five-star winner you won’t want to miss! Nancy Narma

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