It's quite a while since I read a book with quite so much meat on its bones... The Bookbag'Eliza Graham crafts a poignant story of identity and legacy in THE ONE I WAS, posing the question of how much past events define us, and whether we can ever break free of our damaged selves to truly start anew. In this novel as in life, there are no pat answers. Beautifully done.'
Kristina Riggle, author of Real Life and Liars and The Whole Golden World.
A haunting and intricate tale
... The plot is constructed with such watchmaker's precision that to refer to any aspect of it trails a spoiler and violates the unity of the whole. Suffice it to say that the book is engaging, compelling and dramatic from the first page. It has some aspects of a psychological thriller; in other ways a doomed romance; and from another angle an involving historical novel. Readers of any of these genres will enjoy this book. If the intricacy of the story is remarkable, it never overwhelms the beautifully drawn characters.
Tim Stretton, author of The Dog of the North
'A beautifully crafted piece of literary fiction. ... Adding to the sympathetic characters, page-turning secrets, and bits of little-known history is a gorgeous style of writing'
The Happy Book Reviewer'beautiful story that held me spellbound. A combination mystery, historical fiction and love story that was unforgettable'
Cayocosta72 -- Book Reviews
From the Author
The One I Was was titled 'Fairfleet' for the period of two years in which I wrote it, because the house itself seemed to be such a part of the narrative, almost a character in its own right. Eventually I changed the name, because a friend, rightfully, pointed out that it gave the book a nautical, if not naval, air! It is set in inland England, near the historic cities of Oxford and Abingdon, so I was worried that this would be misleading. The One I Was as a title popped into my head at a random moment and it seemed completely the right title for the book. Benny comes to England as a refugee from Nazi Germany and immediately realizes that to flourish in a new country he needs to reinvent himself into someone irreproachably English. But are we still the same people we were when we were children? And if you try and change yourself into someone else can you always succeed?
There are lots of other things in the The One I Was that fascinate me: topiary animals and peacocks. Appropriately, only last night, a few weeks after the book was published, a friend and I nearly jumped out of our skins when a peacock shrieked at us in the dark. A Spitfire plane also features in the novel as an emblem of freedom and danger, completely irresistible for Harriet Dorner, female pilot.