Thursday, 18 April 2019

When I Was Yours by Lizzie Page - Book Review

We stand in the back of the hall as the children troop in. Big ones, little ones. Straggly hair, cropped hair, curls… the adults surge forward to choose and soon there is just one child left, a little girl sitting on the floor. She is thin as a string bean and her sleeve is ragged and damp – like she’s been chewing it.

1939. War has broken out – hundreds of children are evacuated to the countryside to keep them safe from the bombs raining down on the cities. Wrenched from her family in the East End and sent more than a hundred miles away, seven-year-old Pearl Posner must adapt to a new life away from everything familiar.

Vivienne didn’t ask for an evacuee child. In fact, she’s not sure her heart can take it. So many years, so many disappointments… Vivi’s ability to feel love left her the day she learned the truth about her husband Edmund, and when she made the worst decision of her life and left her cherished sister to her fate. But like it or not, Pearl is here to stay, and what with the rumours about what’s happening to children in mainland Europe, it might be the last safe place for her.

As Pearl and Vivi learn how to live together, they discover that they have a connection that runs more deeply than they could ever have guessed – from before Pearl was born, and deep into Vivienne’s past. And will it be Pearl – the little girl who says so little and sees so much – who forces Vivi to finally confront what happened in her marriage… and to the long-lost sister she loved so dearly and let fall so far, just when she needed Vivi most? 

A beautiful and emotional wartime historical novel – heartbreaking, moving and unforgettable. Perfect for fans of Orphan Train and Before We Were Yours.

My Review

I always enjoy Lizzie Page's books. She has a way of writing that envelops me in the story she is telling. As with Lizzie's previous books, some of the characters are based on real people. Which I find fascinating and gives the story another dimension.
The story goes between the First World War and the Second World War. Both told from Vivienne's perspective. During the First World War, Vivienne and her sister become ambulance drivers in France, where she saves a pilot named Sam.
During the Second World War, she is trapped in a miserable marriage. The couple take in an evacuee named Pearl. Vivienne's husband isn't keen on having the child in their home. Pearl gives Vivienne a new purpose in life and she does whatever she can to help the little girl settle in. I loved seeing how close they became.
I had a lot of sympathy for Vivienne, far from happily married, her relationship with Pearl brightens her life and she develops a tight bond with the girl. 
My favourite character by far is Olive, Vivienne's sister. I loved that she is a free spirit and doesn't care what people think of her.
The story is sad in parts and some difficult topics are dealt with. I always find it interesting to read about what people had to deal with in times of war. 
When I Was Yours is an all-round excellent read and once again I will be eagerly waiting for Lizzie's next book. If you like a wartime saga this is a must read.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for a digital copy of this book to read and review honestly. 

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