By Lynn Austin
“Where is the Good Shepherd in all of this suffering and loss?”
– Eve Dawson, If I Were You
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The grass is always greener on the other side… or is it?
If I Were you is a masterful historical fiction that interweaves two remarkable British women whose lives are as parallel as imaginable. With World War II as the backdrop, the novel wrestles with the age-old quandaries; Is it better to have love or money? A house or a home? High social status or a family where you belong?
Eve, a scullery maid from a poor yet loving Christian household, and Audrey, daughter of wealthy socialites who is deprived of love and real connection, become improbable fast friends. But as Audrey knows, love cannot be bought, and despite riches and social status, a life without love is severely lacking. Meanwhile, Audrey’s seemingly perfect and ‘easy’ life is the cause of much envy to those around her, especially Eve, who grows to resent the English high society, and even at times, Audrey.
As World War II threatens to tear apart the country, along with many cultural norms such as social class, both Audrey and Eve need to adapt quickly and learn to survive. While jumping from Audrey’s to Eve’s perspectives and covering large expanses of time, we see a struggling friendship prevail through childhood, adolescence, and motherhood. Their friendship eventually blossoms through faith, forgiveness, heartache, and the profound realisation that what we desire and envy others is not always ‘better than what we have. The grass is not always greener on the other side.
If I Were You is a profound and engrossing read, a sobering picture of war devastation, yet a beautiful tale of God truly working all things together for the good of those who love Him.
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