When I Was Yours by Lizzie Page
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.
I read two of Lizzie Page’s previous books and extremely enjoyed them so I couldn’t wait to see what When I Was Yours had in store. The book is in actual fact, the third in a series, but don’t let this put you off because all three work fine on an individual basis.
It is set between the two world wars and shows the lives of the main character Vivienne and her sister Olive. They struggle to do what they can for the war effort from volunteering as ambulance drivers in WWI, then on to 1939 when Vivienne takes a young evacuee into her home.
I found the first chapters a little slow to start with. I understood that Vivienne was trapped in a loveless marriage and her life seemed extremely mundane. I was initially frustrated that she didn’t welcome the idea of taking in an evacuee. So, with that in mind, it was lovely to see the story of Vivi and Pearl flourish right in front of me and to discover an amazing connection between the two of them. I could actually feel Vivienne’s heart open out as she slowly started to embrace the love of a child, something that she desperately wanted for herself, but had accepted that it was not to be.
I loved the character of Olive the artist who I believe was based on the famous wartime artist Olive Mudie-Cooke. I desperately wanted Vivienne to listen to Olive and her friends when they warned her about the ghastly Edmund, whom she followed around like a lovesick puppy and eventually married.
The book gives such an insight into wartime Britain, how it wrecked families, hopes and dreams. It also shows the great strength and warmth of people at that time, not just the ones fighting abroad but the loved ones who ‘kept the home fires burning’.
As always, Lizzie’s writing is meticulously researched and beautifully written. Anyone who loves historical wartime fiction will be fascinated by When I Was Yours and I can’t wait for the next book from Lizzie Page.
My reviews of previous novels by Lizzie Page
From the Lizzie Page Amazon Author Page
Hello and thank you for stopping by.
I love reading ALL the books, and I’ve always loved reading the adventures of women in the past so it seemed natural to me to write historical fiction.
I live with my family by the sea in South East England. And with my dog. How did I forget my dog? I enjoy traveling and lived in Japan for several years. I’ve had lots of different jobs from waitressing and teaching to admin and bingo-calling – but being a writer is my absolute favourite.
I’d love to hear what you think of my books – feel free to send me a message on twitter @LizziePagewrite or on FB or leave a review here.
What people say about Lizzie’s books
‘Once in a while a book comes along that just burrows its way into the heart of me, that stirs my soul. This is one such book… I spent quite a bit of this book trying to swallow the lump in my throat or wiping my eyes… God, I could gush and gush… Her writing is sublime, her plotting is perfection and her characters are fantastic. This is one special book.’ Short Book and Scribes, 5 stars
‘Made me feel so emotional… This was such a wonderful read, which certainly tugged at my heart-strings. I loved this author’s writing and it was so realistic that I felt like I was actually there. A perfect read and a perfect tribute to the wonderful women who did their duty as War Nurses.’ Stardust Book Reviews
‘I couldn’t wait to get started on the book… Oh my word, this was one hell of an emotive read… I was hooked from the moment I picked the book up… I had a great great Aunt, who was a nurse during the First World War and to read this book made me feel closer to her… The more I read, the more I wanted to read and the quicker the pages turned… I just wanted the book to continue.’ Ginger Book Geek, 5 stars
‘An unputdownable book that had me reading under the covers, so keen was I to find out what happened next… fabulous.’ Julie Davis, 5 stars
‘Absolutely loved this book! One of the best books I’ve read in ages, even with my love of wartime novels! Brilliant story and characters and a gripping read that I both couldn’t wait to finish but also didn’t want to end. Can’t wait to read more from the author now.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
‘I absolutely loved it. A beautiful wartime story… I wouldn’t expect anything less from Lizzie Page. She always delivers in spades.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars