- File Size: 2125 KB
- Print Length: 319 pages
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (April 21, 2015)
- Publication Date: April 21, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00PG8UCHC
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,398 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The One I Was Kindle Edition
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|Length: 319 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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About the Author
Eliza Graham spent her biology lessons sitting at the back of the classroom, reading Jean Plaidy novels behind her textbooks. In English and history, however, she sat right at the front, hanging on to every word. At home she read books while getting dressed and cleaning her teeth, and during school holidays she visited the public library several times a day.
At Oxford University she read English literature on a course that regarded anything written after about 1930 as too modern to be included. She retains a love of Victorian novels and the poetry of the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.
Eliza’s first novel, Playing with the Moon, was longlisted for Richard & Judy’s Summer Read category and named one of the World Book Day 2007 ‘Books to Talk About.’
Find out more about Eliza on her website, elizagraham.co.uk, and follow her on Twitter @Eliza_Graham.
'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.'
'beautiful story that held me spellbound. A combination mystery, historical fiction and love story that was unforgettable'
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MAKE. ME. CARE.
Three little words, but for me they pack an enormous punch. If I don’t care about the characters, their issues, or the story, the book will be set aside.
In THE ONE I WAS, Eliza Graham has made me care, and very deeply. With great skill, she weaves a fascinating story of two characters from two very different decades. One is Benny Gault, a Kindertransport refugee from Nazi Germany; the other is Rosamond, a nurse with a troubled background who wasn’t even born when Benny arrived in England.
Yet, despite all this, their lives come together because of an old house—Fairfleet.
With vivid descriptions of the rooms, the gardens, and the atmosphere, the author takes us through Fairfleet’s journey as it stumbles from pre-war splendor into a debt-riddled, crumbling mess, only to rise again in the hands of a mysterious owner who has a compelling reason to rescue this particular house and all its memories.
But why? It’s one of the book’s central mysteries and is not revealed until the end, and it is so totally worth waiting for. As an aside, though …
I was particularly fascinated with Harriet who flew Spitfires in the war, delivering them to airfields during the Battle of Britain. One can just imagine the surprise on the young pilot’s faces when the glamorous Harriet stepped from the cockpit, removed her leather flying helmet, and shook out her fabulous blond hair!
A book like THE ONE I WAS can change how you view history and teach you something that you didn’t know before. With a solid grasp on history and a storyteller’s ear, Eliza Graham delivers a novel that will resonate with readers who relish mystery and a rollicking good story. The ending was perfect and left me with a good feeling. The past and the present are beautifully woven together through Benny and Rosamond, while spinning a tale of twisting emotions.
And just so you know, I think Eliza Graham is a good enough writer that I'm willing to read other novels that she might write. This one just didn't do it for me. And I'm too old to read novels that don't draw me in.
We are all broken, it's how we go on that tells our story. For beautiful adventurous Harriet, being stuck between real love and love of the material can determine whether we choose the epitome or simple comfort.
Her daughter chooses to trust a stranger who hides his ugly self beneath a handsome exterior...forgetting that her thoughtless choices can destroy everyone she loves.
With even more twists and turns than I expected, this is a great read that will leave you reflecting on your own life...finding you were too tough a critic. Often, forgiveness of self is withheld, when it should have been given liberally.
One of the main characters is a young German refugee, the other one is a nurse, a descendant of former owners. There are many others, almost each of them with complicated and often twisted life stories.
Plot is a little far-fetched at times but stranger things were happening during war and in real life. Based on the plot itself this book should be great but somehow it is not. Maybe because of the way it is written; something is off, I often felt like reading high school assay written by a very young person.
I particularly disliked picturing a terminal illness and death as almost a romantic and poetic experience. They are not such things.
Top international reviews
This is a novel which will cement Eliza Graham's reputation among her existing readers and, if there is any justice, win her many new ones.
The One I Was is split between the past and the present. In the present Rosamund Hunter is returning to a house she knows from years ago, Fairfleet. Rosamund has great memories of the old house but she is also wary of letting her potential employer know that she knows the place.
So what job is Rosamund applying for? A nurse for a man dying of cancer who wants to remain in his own home. There is a housekeeper and the potential for other medical professionals to come on board and help as the patient’s condition worsens and it seems like she’s a good fit for the household.
Her patient is Benny Gault. He is a successful man, one who originally arrived in England as part of the kindertransport in 1938 when he was just eleven-years-old. Benny lived at Fairfleet as it was home cum school for him and a few other boys who made the journey and were adopted by Lord and Lady Dorner.
The story is told in the main in the present tense by Rosamund and in the past by Benny and there are some distressing scenes as might be expected given the nature of the job Rosamund has undertaken.
That said, this aspect is softly done with enough ‘truth’ that it doesn’t feel whitewashed but not so raw that it becomes far too distressing to read. This isn’t a straight dual time-line novel as the scenes that we see are those throughout Benny’s life and we are aware of the connection between our two main protagonists from the off.
There are a number of strands to the story, the most poignant of all is that Benny remembers his friend Rudi Lange as he was when he last saw him in a secluded area shortly before he made the trip that was to change his life beyond belief.
I have to admit that I preferred Benny’s story but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of drama for Rosamund, particularly when an unwanted visitor comes to call at Fairfleet.
The author tackles this aspect of the war without drama, one of the reasons why I enjoy her books so much. The characters don’t tend to have an overblown sense of their own importance and so I find their stories all the more believable. Harriet Dorner flies planes, a female pilot would surely have had plenty to boast about but she doesn’t although her excitement comes through it does so without being muddied by any feeling that she’s boasting.
There are some moral questions that are posed within the book and although some of the reveals weren’t the surprise that they may have been intended to be, that didn’t stop me enjoying the journey through the years.
This is a skilfully constructed novel with events that move smoothly between the 1940s the 1980s and the present day. The characters are beautifully drawn as is the house which almost becomes a character in itself.
There are a smattering of minor errors which a sharp proofreader ought to have picked up, but these don't detract from the story. A story which will stay with you long after you've turned the last page - probably with a tear in your eye.
I have tried to find something positive to say, but there is nothing. The fact that a large part of this story was focussed around the 2nd world war made me think that it could have evoked this period in time but it didn't.
The characters were dull and I had no liking for any of them.
I am 47 and this is the first book review I have ever left - I read constantly, hundreds of books but this was a waste of many hours of my life!
To be honest it felt as though the author had several stories and just bundled them into one novel with links that were too coincidental to be believable.
I finished it but probably wouldn't recommend