If I Were You

Written by Lynn Austin
Review by Hilary Daninhirsch

If I Were You is a story of friendship, betrayal, class, and the desperate measures people take to survive in wartime. The story vacillates between 1940 England and 1950 America.

Audrey and Eve forge a tenuous friendship in the years prior to World War II. Eve’s mother works as a lady’s maid for Audrey’s mother, while Eve lives with her grandmother in relative poverty. Audrey and her family live in a manor house in the countryside of England and own another house in London.

As the girls get older, they become roommates, navigating life, jobs, and love as the world prepares for war. Eve falls in love with Audrey’s brother, but their class differences threaten their potential union. Simultaneously, Audrey meets and falls in love with an American soldier.  When they each learn that they are pregnant, the war destroys their hopes for a future, and they take vastly different paths to ensure their survival.

A decade later, Audrey decides to go to America with her son to introduce him to his father’s parents. She gets the surprise of her life when she discovers Eve at the house, living in relative comfort; Eve had been impersonating Audrey for several years. The women must learn to re-establish trust, friendship and open their hearts again to love.

The book’s unique premise somewhat strains credulity, but it is intriguing nonetheless. Though the book’s setting is during a dark time in American history, the author melds faith with historical accuracy, immediately drawing the reader into the story and not letting go until the final words.