Title: When You Were Mine
Author: Elizabeth Noble
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5
Susannah isn’t quite content with her life. Approaching 40, she doesn’t have any children of her own, but she is a stepmother to her partner Doug’s three children. Her previous failed marriage has left Susannah wary of commitment, but even if that wasn’t the case, she knows something isn’t quite right with her relationship with Doug. But when she runs into her childhood sweetheart, Rob, at her brother’s wedding, Susannah begins to remember her times with Rob and begin asking that very dangerous question – what if?
When You Were Mine is a somewhat convoluted novel of a woman facing her past, and the discontent in her present. Susannah is a well-written main character, full of lost hopes and dreams. She has forced herself to settle for the life she has now because it’s all she has left. If she acknowledges that what she has with Doug isn’t really what she wants, Susannah will be completely alone. She’s approaching forty and likely can no longer have children, she isn’t married – this was not how her life was supposed to turn out. When she sees Rob, it rekindles all those deadened feelings within her.
This novel jumps between past and present in order to flesh out Susannah and Rob’s love story, and it’s very disconcerting. The novel doesn’t make it clear when it is going to jump, so the reader can think they are in one time frame, and then realize a page later that they are incorrect. It was incredibly convoluted and difficult to follow, and as a result, the structure hampered my enjoyment of the story. I was invested in the Susannah of the present, and continually taking me back to her days as a teenager really took away from the story for me.
The real highlight of When You Were Mine was the friendship between Susannah and her best friend, Amelia, who is going through chemotherapy treatments. I continually wished that Noble would focus more on this duo, as they had a rich and honest friendship I really enjoyed.
All in all, When You Were Mine fell mostly flat for me. While I was interested in the characters, the structure of the novel and storytelling devices didn’t work for me. I’ve enjoyed many of this author’s other books, and I’d recommend picking one of those up before going for this one.