The Other Me by Saskia Sarginson
Published in 2015 by Piatkus
My copy: Library
Eliza Bennet 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 Myer. 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.
The action starts in London, where we are introduced to 13 year old Klaudia who is due to start school for the first time. We slowly find out more about her family; her overpowering father and her quiet but loving mother – both of whom are fervently religious. She struggles when she starts school and finds herself bullied by her classmates who accuse her father – who is the school caretaker – of being a Nazi.
We then flit around in time, to Leeds about six years in the future, where we find that Klaudia is now Eliza and is living her own life much more happily under her new name, and then to Germany in the 30s where we follow Ernst, Klaudia’s uncle.
The pieces of the story slowly come together, and at first I found Klaudia/Eliza’s story to be much more interesting than Ernst’s sections, which came as a distraction to the main story for me. And I must admit about halfway through I started to struggle with this book. Not very much was happening and there wasn’t a great deal to keep me reading. However in the later stages of the novel, I found Ernst’s story got more interesting and the whole novel became more gripping. By the end I’m glad to say I was back into it and can overall say I did enjoy it.
This was an interesting book which had a good plot, and I liked the contrasts between life in London for Klaudia, Leeds for Eliza and Germany for Ernst. It didn’t really have the twists and turns I expected, and it was slow at times but I think it improved towards the end which rescued the story! I wouldn’t go out of my way to read more of Sarginson’s novels, but this was a decent enough, easy read.