Elizabeth Enfield on finding ‘The One’

Elizabeth Enfield, author of Ivy and Abe, discusses the idea of soulmates and whether there is a right person, or just a right time? 

Ivy & Abe

I find this idea, that there is one other person in the world who is uniquely right for you, a bit frightening

In my novel, Ivy will always meet Abe but for most of her life she is, not pining for her soulmate, but happily married to another man and blissfully unaware of Abe’s existence. If soulmates exist then fate and destiny must play their role in throwing two, perfect for each other people, into each other’s paths, before stepping back and letting them get on with it. And this is what happens to Ivy and Abe.

They are destined to meet, and they do, again and again:  at school, as a free spirits in their twenties, as widow and widower in their seventies, and in mid-life when they are both married to other people.

Sometimes fate only allows them a brief glimpse of each other and they must continue their separate lives as strangers. Whenever they meet there is a connection, a sense that the other is a possible right person. But when will be the right time? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

What I can tell you is that, while throughout their lifetimes Ivy and Abe are essentially the same people at heart, fate and circumstances shape and mould them and the way that they relate to each other.  Their love for each other is always ignited but sometimes they meet at the wrong time and the facts surrounding their lives will serve to dampen or extinguish the flame of love altogether.

When I talk to people about my novel, Ivy and Abe, their response is almost always the same. "I have story like that…" It’s an almost universal experience, meeting someone, however fleetingly, and wondering what might have happened if you had met at a different time or under different circumstances: from wondering what became of your first love (and perhaps cyber stalking them to find out), to falling for someone when you are with someone else, to the smallest exchange in passing, the quiet recognition of a connection, a spark and the wondering “what if?”

I wanted Ivy and Abe to not just be about ‘what ifs” but also to act as metaphor for long term relationships and how they shift and change over a long period of time. A friend recently told me how his great aunt and uncle had celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary and how, thirty years earlier they had been on the brink of divorce.  To me this story was the perfect illustration of what my answer to the questions posed at the start of this piece would be.

Yes I believe in the idea of a soulmate but a relationship is never just between two people - time and circumstances are  equal partners. They don’t always pull together but when they do , you find Plato’s amazement of love, friendship, intimacy and joy.

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