I picked up Elizabeth Noble’s The Way We Were soon after I returned from our trip, and just finished it yesterday. I must say that I quite liked the book, though I wouldn’t consider it among my favourite Noble books.
The Way We Were is the story of Susannah, and it begins from where she was best friends with Amelia and the two of them studied together in a school in the English countryside. Rob joins the same school as Susannah, and the two of them become school sweethearts. Rob’s parents are all approval for his relationship with Susannah, and both of them are pretty serious about it too. However, something happens with makes Susannah break up with Rob. A few years later, she gets married to Sean, but the marriage soon ends unhappily. She is in a live-in relationship with Douglas a few years after Sean, divorced from his first wife, and the father of three kids. She does find pieces of happiness here and there in her relationship with Douglas, but nothing like what she felt with Rob. She comes across Rob again at her brother’s wedding and old sparks are rekindled. I don’t think I should discuss the story any further because that would be giving it away.
I liked the way the character of each person in the story has been built – the working of each person’s mind put down in a crystal clear fashion, you can almost see it. The characters are real, as are the situations, and I could relate to the book. This book is narrated in a quite different way from Elizabeth Noble’s other books that I have read earlier. I enjoyed this narrative too, and the book had me gripped till the end. However, I did not feel the same impact that I have felt from the other books by Elizabeth Noble. The end disappointed me – it broke the impression of Rob that I had built all along.
When I narrated the story of this book to the better half, he commented that it sounded depressing. I had to agree with that – the book is indeed depressing – but it had me so caught up in it that the fact didn’t glare at me in the face. Makes sense?
The Way We Were is a light read, but not flippant. It is thought-provoking, and has soul in it. I would definitely recommend it, only with the note that it is not the best of the author’s books.
Have you read this book? How did you feel about it?