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When I Was Young [Kindle Edition]

Mary Fitzgerald
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Book Description

Previously published as The Imperfect Tense. The war has been over for five years, but the dark secrets from that time still have the power to overshadow the present

Product Description

Previously published as The Imperfect Tense

'When I was young the war started. When I was young my father was a soldier. When I was young I moved to the country. When I was young I went to France and fell in love'


Eleanor is sixteen when she goes to the Loire Valley on a French Exchange. But the beauty of her surroundings are at odds with the family who live there. It is a family torn apart by the memories of the German occupation, and buckling under the burden of the dark secrets they keep.

Etienne, the dark and brooding owner is friendly, but his wife Mathilde's malicious behaviour overshadows Eleanor's days.

As the secrets reveal themselves one by one, Eleanor begins to understand the terrible legacy of war, and when death comes to the vineyard, she learns the redemptive power of love.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 705 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0099585383
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (15 Feb. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #137,187 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I was born and brought up in the wonderful walled city of Chester and lived there until I was eighteen when despite my desire to become a journalist I found myself leaving home to start nursing training. I ended up as an operating theatre sister in a large London hospital and there I met my husband - over the operating table.
Ten years and four children later we got the travel bug and dragged the kids across the Atlantic, settling for a while in Canada and later the USA until the siren call from home became too insistent and we moved back to the UK. However the desire for pastures new still itched and for several years we lived in West Wales then northern Scotland and finally southern Ireland until we settled again near Chester.

I had long given up nursing and gone into business, first a children's clothes shop, then a wonderful book shop and finally an internet clothes enterprise. Of course this shows that I'm forever searching for new experiences and explains perhaps why my novels are diverse in theme and location.

Now we live in a small village in north Shropshire close to the Montgomery canal and with a view of both the Welsh and the Shropshire hills.
Reading and writing have been my hobbies since childhood. My reading choices have been eclectic; Daphne du Maurier, Phillip Chandler, Mollie Keane, Lee Child, the Trollopes (Anthony and Joanna), E M Forster,some of Dickens, most of the Brontes and all of Jane Austen. Recently, I've enjoyed The Misremembered Man by Christina McKenna and Edward Marston's Railway Detective series.

Writing has become very important to me and now I always have at least two novels on the go. It depends on how I feel when I get up as to which story I'll turn to. At the moment I'm writing the follow up to Traitor's Gate and a novel set at the turn of the twentieth century about the Western Ocean Yachts, schooners which traded across the world. This is a story based on my family history which I will, of course, embellish.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing story 25 April 2012
By Ignite TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This beautifully told story takes place in France in 1950. If it put me in mind of anything it was Birdsong but here the war was over, although its echoes were still to be felt. I found this story much more accessible, more human. The countryside of France with its vineyards, the family members, especially the wise Grandmere with her vegetable garden, were finely drawn and very believable. The growing relationships were fascinating. Eleanor, the heroine, was the catalyst which brought the little girl, the Grandmere, the farmer Etienne, together as a real family. There is a dark side to this tale too. It's anything but saccharine in its beauty.

Eleanor's family situation at home had been austere and I was so glad to see her father, suffering from the dreadful effects of being a prisoner of war, find some fulfilment. Mary Fitzgerald is a fine writer. Her craftsmanship shows here both in the delightful construction of the tale itself and in the well drafted characters she portrays. It's an engrossing story and I wholeheartedly give it a 5 star recommendation.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fabulous read from this under rated author 15 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've just finished it and it was another truly moving amazing read from Mary. Why this author has not found a publisher will remain one life's great mysteries. The story is beautifully told, a coming of age tale about a 16 year old girl from a hill farm in the Pennines who finds a new world in North West France. Once again Mary turns the settings into another character which is vital to the story line. The characters are all written in three dimensions and have individual voices. Similarly to Richard Wilde Mary tells a story of love and loss with empathy and sentiment without it ever becoming sentimental or mawkish.
I am giving this one 5 stars and would recommend it to anyone regardless of their usual taste in reading material. Only a person with a swinging brick for a heart could fail to be moved by this wonderful book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written 16 April 2012
By Kew
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read all of Mary Fitzgerald's novels now, and finished this one, her latest, this morning. I think that it is one of her best novels. Doesn't quite knock Richard Wilde off the number one spot, but it is a very close runner. I'm not sure how to describe it - it's a love story but not romance; there are darker themes and menace running through the tale, but it is beautifully written. I loved it and it's one that I will definately read again. I can whole-heartedly recommend this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I hope there will be a sequel. 31 Mar. 2014
By Vicky
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book immensely. It gripped and captivated me from page one. It is beautifully written and well structured. It took me back to the days when I used to take part in French exchanges. I do hope that there will be a sequel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Imperfect Tense-Beautifully written 7 Aug. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book as The Imperfect Tense so I am at a loss as to why the name has been changed? However this book surprised me no end, so beautifully written I was awestruck by the sensitivity of the way the story was told.

A coming of age book about 16 year old Eleanor who goes off to France as a foreign exchange student and falls totally and completely in love with her exchange family and the farm they live on. But most of all with Etienne who is older than Eleanor by far but fall she does and he with her.

Eleanor's life on a sheep farm in the Pennines couldn't be more different to the farm in France and from the outset she is drawn into this family despite it's dark secrets and continuing hostility from other family members who make life extremely uncomfortable for her at the beginning.

The description of the farm, the vines that are growing steadily to harvest, the fish in the little river, the vegetable garden where she learns to grow herbs to the chicken run which she takes on as her own and the culinary skills she develops all add to her becoming more and more settled in this wonderful place.

Not having any real love and attention from her Mother and her Father having suffered with shell shock from his war years, Granmere and little Lisette become her second Mother and baby sister and complete her fully. Love she has never known before just make her so whole which I found wonderful.

Such a dramatic shift from my usual type of book but I loved it and urge you to read it, you will not be sorry. Thank you Mary for this little gem.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it 27 April 2013
By Carolyn
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book, with lots of unexpected twists, and lovely characters. Have saved it on my Kindle to read again sometime.
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4.0 out of 5 stars When I was young 5 Mar. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mary Fitzgerald writes beautifully of a school exchange trip to France in the 1950s. (I wonder if school exchange trips still happen -and if so, how do they manage CRB checks and the health and safety regulations )? Eleanor's visit to France is prolonged by circumstance, and she slowly becomes aware that the family she is staying with are still living with the after effects of the war. Eleanor changes from a naive schoolgirl into a young woman,learning from the grandmother of the house how to cook meals which we now take for granted but in 1950 Britain were unheard of.
There is romance,history,coming of age,secrecy,a mystery,good and evil-everything one could want from a novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good author 26 Feb. 2013
By Miss R
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One of my fav writers. Good for the price but not my best one of Mary's. Still enjoyed it and would say try it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well them wife was captivated by the book
Published 2 months ago by Amazonian
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story
Another good book thoroughly enjoyed the story of Eleanor and her trip to France. I loved the happy ending !!
Published 3 months ago by val
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great story
Published 5 months ago by mtrcricket
4.0 out of 5 stars The Future is French
A young girl, Eleanor, from a farm in the Pennines is given the opportunity to go on a French exchange programme. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jo D'Arcy
1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware not as it seems
This book now named "When I was Young" is in fact "Imperfect Tense" under a new title, which I discovered after having bought both versions - an expensive mistake. Read more
Published 23 months ago by PatatBriz
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It is not my usual genre, however it had an interesting (though quite far fetched towards the end) storyline and it kept me turning the... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Rosie G
5.0 out of 5 stars The Imperfect Tense
AN interesting read, a little thought provoking regarding the relationship between a young girl and a relatively much older man.
Published on 13 Jan. 2013 by Joyce England
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it!
Beautifully written, great story. Loved it! Brilliant bargain at 99p!
This is my favourite area of France and the landscape, atmosphere and food are described perfectly, as... Read more
Published on 13 Jan. 2013 by Mrs Jacqueline H Beattie
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