Restless, troubled Rosamond Hunter has spent most of her life running away from the past, filled with guilt about her involuntary role in her mother’s death. When her nursing job brings her back to Fairfleet, her childhood home, to care for an elderly refugee, she is forced to confront the ghosts that have haunted her for so long.
Her patient, Benny Gault, first came to Fairfleet, England, in 1939, having fled Nazi Germany on a Kindertransport train.
As his health fails, he and Rosamond begin to confide in each other. At first their tentative friendship revolves around the love they both shared for Rosamond’s glamorous grandmother, Harriet, but as their trust in each other grows, guilty secrets are exposed and history is turned on its head.
Bubby: Sometimes the title of a book gives some pretty interesting clues to the story that lies inside. Had I thought about this title a bit more, I would have realized that our two protagonists, Rosamund and Benny, are both pretending in one way or another to be someone they are not – and they both want to get back to the person they used to be.
Sissy: The One I Was evokes a certain moodiness as it takes you on a journey through 1939 Germany (with Kindertransport),
WWII England (with female aviation),
to 1980’s England, and to the present. Eliza Graham does a good job of making you feel that you are authentically in each time period as you read. This bit of historical fiction also has elements of mystery and romantic entanglements and the thriller genre as well, which spans several decades.
Bubby: I used to wish that I could start over somewhere completely new and re-invent myself as a whole new person. In a very real way, this is what Rosamund and Benny have done. The truth is that no matter how you try, you are who you are and certain basic characteristics of one’s personality never change. Take Sissy, for example. Let’s say she decided to move to Saudi Arabia and be a camel herder. She could change her name, her vocation, even her wardrobe and yet I believe that before too long, she’d be trimming her flowing white nomadic robes with sparkly jewels, writing songs using camel belches as background and engaging in interpretive dance with the sand devils. And then they’d make her go home!
Sissy: Hmm. What a scenario. Did you eat some bad pork last night, Bubby? That little bit of imagination does give hints about the nature of this story–there are twists and secrets that will shock and surprise you! Can you imagine, Bubby, finding out that our parents weren’t who they said they were, or that you were really the child of our one time California neighbors the Blunkells? Regardless, The One I Was by Eliza Graham is a story of reinvention and redemption, and the time periods are seemlessly traversed. The ending is happy and satisfying, and you, dear reader, will be glad for the thoughtful introspection this story compels in you.
Click HERE to buy The One I Was by Eliza Graham
We received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com
Copyright 2015 Bubble Bath Books