Welcome to my stop on the tour for Half A World Away by Sue Haasler. I have my review to share with you as well as a chance for you to win a paperback copy of the book.
Thank you to Emily Glenister at The Dome Press for asking me to be part in the tour and for sending me a proof copy of this book to read and review.
~ Publisher’s description ~
Being different can be dangerous…
East Berlin, 1987. Charming and talented Alex dreams of becoming a professional saxophonist while working long hours in the family bakery. Detlef, lonely, repressed, and a small-time Stasi informer, develops an obsessive love for him. But Alex has eyes only for Nicky, an English woman visiting East Berlin as an au pair.
With no natural outlet for his feelings, Detlef’s passion becomes destructive, his need for approval enmeshed with the latent homophobia of the regime. As Alex takes up with more successful musicians, he moves closer to influences considered subversive by a state that has eyes and ears everywhere, and Detlef’s passions threaten to endanger them all.
~ My Thoughts ~
Half A World Away is a love story set in East Berlin in 1987, two years before the Berlin Wall came down. Alex works in his family’s bakery by day and plays saxophone by night. When he meets Nicky, a young English au pair, the two begin a relationship and will do whatever it takes to be together. However, when Detlef, a loner and Stasi informant, upon seeing Alex for the first time, falls in love with him. Under a regime where homosexuality is not allowed, a destructive love triangle ensues.
When I first picked up Half A World Away, I only set out to read a few pages. 50 pages later, I looked up at the clock – I didn’t want to put it down! The writing is comfortable and flows really well. The chapters are short too, which I really liked, and feel lends itself well to the gripping and captivating nature of the story.
By telling this story from 3 different viewpoints on life in the German Democratic Republic, Sue Haasler has allowed us to become immersed in what life was really like under the regime. For Alex, a native, it is regimented and controlled and, at times, feels as though he would need permission just to breathe. For Nicky, a foreigner, she has some freedom to be able to experience life on both sides of the wall. For Detlef, he is stuck between his feelings for Alex and honouring the duty he feels he has towards his country.
I really enjoyed this story. I previously knew very little about the Cold War and the regime in East Berlin. After reading the book, I feel I have a greater insight into what life was like for the residents of East Germany, particularly in Berlin, and it has made me want to go to Berlin to discover more about something which is so recent in history.
~ Where to find Half a World Away ~
Half a World Away was published by The Dome Press on 12 April 2018 and is available via the following links:
~ Giveaway ~
To be in with the chance to win a paperback copy of Half A World Away, click on the picture below. The giveaway is open until 5pm tomorrow, 27 April. A winner will be announced shortly afterwards. UK and Ireland entries only please. Good luck!!
~ About Sue Haasler ~
Sue Haasler was born and brought up in County Durham and studied English Literature and Linguistics at Liverpool University.
After graduating she moved to London and worked for three years as a residential social worker. Since then, she has lived as an administrator for a disability charity, which recruits volunteer carers for disabled adults.
Many of the volunteers are from abroad and this is how she met her husband, who is from the former East Berlin.
Sue is the author of four romantic fiction titles, True Colours, Time After Time, Two’s Company (all Orion paperbacks) and Better Than the Real Thing. Two’s Company was optioned for film by Warner Bros.
She has been commissioned by the BBC to write an authorized tie-in to Holby City.
She is married with an adult daughter and lives in London.
~ Where to find Sue Haasler ~
~ Follow the Tour ~