Despite a 10-year live-in relationship with her boyfriend, Doug, Susannah has never been fulfilled. Doug constantly drops everything for his three willful, wayward children, who live with his ex-wife, while keeping her on the outside of those relationships. Both Doug and his kids take Susannah for granted and refuse to welcome her into their inner circle. He doesn't involve himself with her family either, and their relationship is stuck in a limbo of two parallel lives that don't quite cross paths in an intimate way.
At her brother's wedding to the young and dewy Chloe, which she attends sans Doug and the kids, Susannah runs into Rob, her teenage love, and all the old feelings surface. While she was the one who tossed away the relationship through a grievous mistake, she has never quite gotten over Rob, the one man in her life she really connected with. The feelings she's pushed aside for years finally insist on claiming her attention with a vengeance.
At the same time Susannah is dealing with her romantic life, her friend of over 20 years, Amelia, delivers devastating news of her own. Will Susannah be able to maintain her relationship with Amelia, or will she lose her forever in the midst of a medical challenge? With everything she holds dear tilting on its axis, Susannah reaches out to Rob in spite of the fact they both have other commitments that don't leave them free for a relationship.
Elizabeth Noble's latest novel is a coming-of-age story, even though the heroine is approaching her 40th birthday. For the first time in her life, Susannah is asking what she really wants rather than what she feels compelled to do by others. The problem is that what she wants now has the potential to disrupt the lives of those around her, as well as her own. Told in a chronological manner with frequent glimpses into the past, the book allows us to compare the Susannah of today with the Susannah of yesteryear. As a character, she is finally freed from her chains as she grows and changes before our eyes, no matter how painful or liberating that change may be.
WHEN YOU WERE MINE delivers the message that no matter how far our lives have veered from where we thought they'd be or where we'd like them to be, it's still possible to grab the reins and change course at any point. It also asks --- and answers --- the question of whether it's easier to maintain the status quo or go after what we really want. Full of real characters with real problems, the book includes situations that you'll continue to ponder even after reading the final chapter and closing it. Susannah and her loved ones are frustrating, amusing, entertaining and, ultimately, encouraging in this slice-of-life novel that presents events that could happen to any of us.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on March 28, 2011
When You Were Mine