It’s Tuesday 14th April 2020 and we’re on day 22 of the coronavirus lockdown in the UK. There is a global lockdown due to the virus also known as COVID-19. When the lockdown first started I considered starting another blog to diarise this period in history, but as we’re confined to our homes, I wasn’t sure I could suitably fill it. Yes, we’re allowed out to go shopping for essentials, to help the vulnerable and for some exercise once a day, but still, I wasn’t sure.
I do however have my daughter and her newborn baby in lockdown at the house with us and I’m supporting her in caring for him. This is taking up a lot of my time which is another reason I never really started anything. He’s a needy baby at the moment and he requires a lot of time from both of us.
So, I had another think, and instead of creating another blog I thought I’d just fill the blog I already have. I’m going to let you know about books I’ve recently read and enjoyed. These won’t all be crime books, not while we’re stuck in this lockdown. I’ll also talk about drama shows I’ve watched and podcasts I’m listening to. It’s not going to be a diary as such, but a kind of enhanced version of what the blog was previously. (If the baby allows me the time to do this!)
Today I have a great book to talk to you about.
Half a World Away by Mike Gayle
Strangers living worlds apart.
Strangers with nothing in common.
But it wasn’t always that way…
Kerry Hayes is single mum, living on a tough south London estate. She provides for her son by cleaning houses she could never hope to afford. Taken into care as a child, Kerry cannot ever forget her past.
Noah Martineau is a successful barrister with a beautiful wife, daughter and home in fashionable Primrose Hill. Adopted as a child, Noah always looks forward, never back.
When Kerry reaches out to the sibling she lost on the day they were torn apart as children, she sets in motion a chain of events that will have life-changing consequences for them both.
I listened to this book via audiabook. It’s told from the point of view of two characters. Kerry and Noah. So the audio had two narrators.
Mike Gayle has several books out but this is the first of his books I’ve read. I didn’t know what to expect. I went into it blind. In fact I think I picked it up because it was on offer. But boy I’m glad I did. But no one warned me about the SOBBING. There is a lot of sobbing! Big ugly-faced sobbing.
There are letters Kerry has written to her younger sibling, Noah as his birthdays pass every year. She can’t find him because that’s the way the adoption system is set up. The only way they can be reunited is if he reaches out to find her. But he never does. It isn’t until they are adults that she finally manages to find him.
They really couldn’t be any further apart in backgrounds. Kerry is a cleaner from a poor estate and Noah is a barrister from a lovely well-to-do estate. She’s ashamed of where she lives. But the two form a relationship that is utterly beautiful to read. I adored them both.
Noah is struggling though, his marriage isn’t doing well and it all stems from his adoption. His past. And Kerry holds all the answers.
The book is a delightful look at relationships. It will break you down and ultimately leave you feeling there is good in the world.
If you want a read that will help you release some of your isolation emotions then I’d highly recommend this book. The audio version really enhances the story as both narrators bring the characters to life. But however you read it, I would definitely say, read it. And have the tissues ready.
Marina Sofia says
It must be a bit more grandmotherly care than you’d bargained for, but at least you have them safe there with you. I think a diary of films and books is a good idea, a way to keep yourself and us sane.
Rebecca Bradley says
It definitely is a bit more grandmotherly care than I’d anticipated, but you’re right, I’m so glad they are both here with us. I’d hate if they weren’t. I’d miss them both so very much and would spend all my time worrying about them.
Margot Kinberg says
The lockdown has changed life for all of his, hasn’t it, Rebecca? I’m glad you get to see your grandson grow, though – that is recompense. It’s good to hear you enjoyed this book. Sometimes the dual narrator doesn’t work particularly well, but it sounds as though it did here.
Rebecca Bradley says
I think life will have changed for us all permanently now, Margot. Whatever comes in our future I think the virus has changed the world for us. I’m not sure it’s going to slip away like the swine flu did in 2009/10.
The dual narrator was brilliant and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.