25 February 2016

Book Review: The Other Me, Saskia Sarginson

The Other Me

Title: The Other Me
Author: Saskia Sarginson
Published: 05/03/2015, Piatkus
Pages: 366
Source: Goodreads Firstreads
Format: Paperback

Rating: 5/5

"Eliza Bennett has the life she's always dreamed of. She's who she wants to be, and she's with the man she loves.

But Eliza is living a lie. Her real name is Klaudia Meyer. And Klaudia is on the run. She's escaping her old life, and a terrible secret buried at the heart of her family.

This is the story of Eliza and Klaudia - one girl, two lives and a lie they cannot hide from. Psychological and suspenseful: the gripping story of one girl living a double life.

From rising star Saskia Sarginson, author of The Twins and Without You. Perfect for fans of Maggie O'Farrell and Liane Moriarty."

The Other Me is an absolutely wonderful story. It is the perfect mix of Thriller and Romance, and Contemporary and Historical. It's just practically perfect in every way (and my first 5/5 review of the year)!

The Other Me is told from the first person perspectives of Eliza/Klaudia (from this point on I will refer to her as Eliza) and her Uncle Ernst. It is also set during 3 different time periods: the 1930s to 1940s, 1986 and 1995 to 1997. This is brilliant and the reader slowly learns more and more about why Eliza chose to run. The story also depicts the harsh reality of being a German boy before and during World War II and the long-running effect in later life.

I grew to really love Eliza. She's had a tough (and different) upbringing and the family secrets only make it harder for her. She learned to rely on the perception of others and this really skewed her own opinion of her family. If she only knew the truth to begin with, I believe she wouldn't have felt the need to isolate herself from them (but then she wouldn't have met Cosmo, so hurray for awful family secrets haha!). No wonder she's confused and slightly scared too. I just wanted to hug her.

I adored Cosmo, Eliza's boyfriend. He's just a nice, simple guy with his own dreams. But he feels pressurised to live to his family's expectations. Both Cosmo and Eliza have a brilliant way of showing each other that it's perfectly acceptable to follow their own dreams. He's confused by Eliza's behaviour, and it's no wonder really, but he does really loved her and I don't think he would have it any other way.

In fact, all of Eliza's friends are incredibly supportive. It's just her fear of being rejected and ostracised getting in the way of telling them the truth. But of course, they don't care as long as she's happy.

Ernst is also a brilliant. Through him, we see the harsh reality of the Hitler Youth. He is made to take part in so many awful things and he truly hates it. But of course, he can't do anything. His sections of the story were truly gripping and gave a sadly perfect insight into the war.

The pace of The Other Me is just perfect. I even read a good 80% of the book in a day. I just couldn't put it down! I needed to know what happened. There are so many wonderful twists to the story and the full story is not revealed until remarkably close to the conclusion. It's just perfect and the story wraps up so nicely.

One tiny, incy wincy downside is that I wish more of Eliza's story was revealed between 1986 and 1995. But the story is still brilliant without this so I can definitely overlook it.

The Other Me is a fantastic and gripping read, written is such a wonderful way. I would definitely recommend it to fans of contemporary romance and thrillers, who don't mind a bit of history. There is something for everyone. I definitely want to read more by Saskia Sarginson.

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