Tessa Levy was born in the East End of London as the youngest of six children in a Jewish family; Russian immigrants to England before the Second World War. Experiencing two life-changing traumas at a young age had a profound effect on her life. In 1939, escaping the hardships of post-war London, her strict family upbringing, and seeking meaning in her life, at the age of 17 she travels alone to America, grasping the opportunity of a lifetime and leaping into the unknown. Taken care of by her American cousins, she struggles with the obvious cultural differences and the glamour of New York, in stark contrast to the badly bombed East End of London, the only other home she has known. But as the seasons pass, the young girl sheds her puppy fat and English reserve, to blossom into a stunning young woman with a passion for life, and an interest in the world of beautiful antiques. Finding herself and making a success of the unknown, she falls head over heels in love for the first time, with an unsuitable, but wonderfully romantic, non-Jewish boy. She ultimately has to leave him, putting the expectations of her family before her own emotions. Returning to London after a year and a half away from her family, she struggles to resettle into a working life in London. She badly misses her glamorous American life, where money was no problem. After several unsuitable relationships and many clashes with her over-protective brothers, at the age of 21, against her family's wishes, she makes her own decision to marry a Jewish boy. Later, with two children of her own, she learns that life never gives you what you expect, but depends on self-sufficiency and resilience. The author, like her brothers in the fashion business and her husband in the nightclub business of Soho, makes a success of her antique business, specialising in Imari porcelain and creating an established presence in the Kensington Pavilion. Today the author lives in London, overlooking Hyde Park, and maintains one foot on either side of the pond. Her first book, based on real events, brings to light a highly topical immigrant family story of displacement, hardship, disease and death, but also of inclusion, friendship, love and success. It crosses the divide not only between two cultural differences, but also two faiths and families. At a deeper level, this book asks a fundamental life question which the author has spent her life answering.
No One but You is a fictional account of a young girl's extraordinary life, from the post-war East End of London to the high life of America and back again. It portrays Tessa Levy's yearning for adventure and opportunity and ultimately love on both sides of the Atlantic. She is the youngest child of a large family who takes on the responsibility of caring for her beloved dying mother. When her father secretly marries another woman, Tessa's world is shattered. At the tender age of 17, Tessa seeks solace with her distant cousins in America and sets off on the adventure of a lifetime.
A year and a half later, she returns to England as a glamorous young woman having fallen in love for the first time. However, she crosses the cultural divide and struggles to resettle, despite her family's best efforts to reintegrate her into their Jewish community in London. Eventually meeting the man she will marry, Tessa suffers another painful premature family death that rocks her world. She embarks on motherhood and a successful career but life continues to challenge her happiness. She finds herself torn between the two loves of her life; the handsome, poetic and artistic Gus in America; and the charismatic, successful, but disloyal Michael in England. Her romantic adventure crosses back and forth between the two countries ultimately in the quest to find the answer to the underlying theme of the book, and Tessa's life; is it possible to love two men in one lifetime?