The One I Was by Eliza Graham
Published by Lake Union Publishing
Published 21 April 2015
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
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.
Every atom of my body screamed at me to run away from the elegant and classical white house at whose door I stood.
WHAT I THOUGHT
I really enjoyed The One I Was. I liked the way the chapters move back and forth in time gradually revealing what happened to Rosamond’s mother and what happened to Benny when he was at Fairfleet. I found Rosamond’s story the saddest and most compelling. She blamed herself for what happened to her mother but none of it was her fault. Cathal is a great villain, creepy and weird. I liked the way the past gradually starts to affect the present as Rosamond and Benny grow close and confess their secrets to each other. The only part of this intriguing, compelling book that left me cold was the love between Benny and Rosamond’s grandmother. The fourteen year age gap wasn’t an issue but every scene with them in it came across as cringe-worthy, awkward and embarrassing. The author didn’t make me believe in this aspect of the story. Nevertheless, The One I Was is compelling and enjoyable and I would recommend it.