If I Had Two Lives by Abbigail N. Rosewood
As a child, isolated from the world in a secretive military encampment with her distant mother, she turns for affection to a sympathetic soldier and to the only other girl in the camp, forming two friendships that will shape the rest of her life.
As a young adult in New York, cut off from her native country and haunted by the scars of her youth, she is still in search of a home. She falls in love with a married woman who is the image of her childhood friend, and follows strangers because they remind her of her soldier. When tragedy arises, she must return to Vietnam to confront the memories of her youth – and recover her identity.
An inspiring meditation on love, loss, and the presence of a past that never dies, the novel explores the ancient question: do we value the people in our lives because of who they are, or because of what we need them to be?
A novel that is separated into two parts with the first part beginning the story in Vietnam in the 1990’s and is focussed on a young girl who remains nameless throughout and is brought to this decaying military camp with her mother. If I Had Two Lives (Europa Editions) by Abbigail N. Rosewood tells the story of the young girl who from the age of four through to the age of twelve is kept behind the wire fence in the camp along with her mother. The story is very much in the first person narrative and we learn of how she copes in the camp and the only friends are another young girl and a soldier with whom she befriends and he repays this friendship by teaching her.
We learn that they a brought to the camp to protect them as the regime is very much against her. The child clearly has psychological problems as she was abused and left. At the age of twelve her mother manages to arrange her escape to the USA and begins a new life with relatives. Her mother will very soon follow, albeit an empty promise as her mother is soon embroiled in a political twist and turns back in Vietnam and never follows her daughter to America. She has been abandoned once again. For our young girl the past is haunting her and she struggles to move on with memories if the past.
It is one day that she spots a woman who shows a remarkable resemblance to the young girl in the camp she befriended and she falls in love with Lilah. But she is married. What happens next is that she has a child for the couple and then the story takes on a sadder route as we watch from afar our young girl and her young daughter head back to Vietnam not only to find her mother and the girl in the camp but it is also a healing process.
A remarkable story with an even more remarkable ending told with such detail and written with such beauty and a story of bravery and trying to heal the past and look to a new future. This one book I heartily recommend.
Thank you to Daniela Petracco for the review copy of If I Had Two Lives by Abbigail N. Rosewood
If I Had Two Lives by Abbigail N. Rosewood was published by Europa Editions and was published on 11th April 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.