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 – heart-breaking, moving and unforgettable. Perfect for fans of Orphan Train and Before We Were Yours.
Readers absolutely love When I Was Yours:
‘Brought me to tears. I love how having Pearl as an evacuee gave Vivienne a purpose in life. The story has plenty of twists and turns… If you like romantic historical fiction, particularly which is set in wartime, then this is the book for you! This, at times, bought tears to my eyes and equally a warm glow to my heart.’ Stardust Book Reviews
‘Lizzie Page has gone and done it again with this beautiful, poignant and immensely emotional story… She is by far one of my favourite authors… I absolutely love how this is written, Lizzie you have blown me away with your beautiful words, wonderful imagination and emotional story… It is a lovingly written story that has real heart, and one that I cannot recommend enough.’ Chicks Rogues and Scandals, 5 stars
‘I loved it!... I adore Lizzie Page’s writing and the way she so brilliantly blends fact and fiction.’ Jill Mansell, bestselling author
‘This book was hard to put down… One of the best historical fiction books I've read in a very long time.’ Shelly’s Book Nook, 5 stars
‘Page is a wonderful writer, one that draws me in to the story completely and utterly (by the end of the first chapter I thought to myself that I was going to love this book… wonderful characters… brilliantly plotted with a delightfully intertwined story, it has the heartbreak of war and a gorgeous love story… fantastic.’ Short Book and Scribes, 5 stars
‘A compelling and intriguing read… I was fascinated by Vivienne’s story… Vivienne and Pearl are characters I will certainly never forget.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘A lovely, heart-tugging novel.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘You’ll find the yourself engrossed till the last page.’ My Pert Opinions, 5 stars
‘The story is heartbreaking… This is an all-round excellent read, without a doubt 5 stars from me.’ Booking Good Read, 5 stars
In Page's elegant novel (after The Wartime Nanny), a middle-aged woman comes to terms with her failing marriage in WWII England while confronting mysteries and tragedies of the past. In 1939, Vivi Lowe and her husband, Edmund, trapped in a childless, loveless marriage, learn they are to take in a refugee from London in their village of Hinckley during Operation Pied Piper, the mass evacuation of London's children during the early days of WWII. While Edmund resists the idea, Vivi, who had three miscarriages and longs for a child, is excited. The narrative slowly unfolds in alternating chapters between the characters' present and WWI, when Vivi and her sister, budding artist Olive Mudie-Cooke (a historical person), worked in ambulance transport in France. During this time, Vivi rescues an injured pilot, Sam Isaac. They fall in love, despite Vivi's engagement to the controlling Edmund. Then a painting made by Olive of Vivi and Sam causes a rift between the sisters. In 1939, seven-year-old evacuee Pearl Posner is assigned to stay with the Lowes, and her presence reveals the surprising connection between Pearl and Vivi, a coincidence that could seem heavy-handed, but in Page's hands comes off naturally as the novel speeds into its third act. This beautifully wrought story is a worthy addition to Page's oeuvre.