Half A World Away
East Berlin, 1987.
Alex is a talented saxophonist, flirting with ‘Western’ jazz as well as girls. When he meets Nicky – a beautiful English girl visiting East Berlin as an au pair – she makes him feel that his dreams could become reality.
Detlev’s love for his country has always been enough for him, until Alex makes him feel things he never thought possible. But what use is his passion when its object doesn’t even know he exists?
As Alex meets a new group of musicians, he moves closer to influences considered subversive by a state that has eyes and ears everywhere – and Detlev’s unrequited feelings threaten to endanger them all.
Welcome to my spot on the Half A World Away blog tour today! I’m so, SO thrilled to share my review as well as host a fabulous giveaway for a very beautiful copy of the Half A World Away, which is absolutely amazing!!
Alex Meissner is a humble baker. He gets up at the crack of dawn to keep the family bakery ticking over while his father is ill. Dusted in flour and carrying a weariness that goes to his very bones, he dreams of becoming a professional saxophonist, a man who no longer has burnt fingers, a man who plays in the Jazz clubs of New York and fills every waking hour with the sound of music. After leaving school at sixteen to help with the family business, he did his service, served his apprenticeship and did as expected of him. But he wants to be more and so despite concerns, applies to a university and goes for an audition. And if he is successful, it could change everything. As could a young English woman called Nicky Linton who dances into his life one cold day.
Detlef Ohm is a lonely, curious factory worker and small-time informer who collects details of events, places, people cataloguing and storing away to return to later on. He has a ‘magpie mind’ and his collection is growing. When he attends a wedding, the last person he expects to find is Alex, who captures his attention from the very first moment he begins to play. As Detlef continues to ‘bump into’ him again and again, his love becomes obsessive which in turn becomes destructive. And the consequences will be devastating.
Nicky Linton is an English au pair, caring for the sweet child of a wealthy journalist. She took the job because she wanted to do something different, try something new but above all distance herself from ex-boyfriend Jez. When new friend Ute introduces her to her band mates, Nicky meets a young man called Alex for the first time. And within an instant a connection materializes between them. But Nicky must be careful. Not for her sake but for his. The authorities don’t take kindly to its citizens engaging with Westerners. And there are eyes and ears everywhere, some even closer than she thinks.
She Haasler’s evocation of 1980s Cold War East Berlin is fantastic. I really felt as if I’d been transported back through history. The level of detail is utterly remarkable. Charming, ambitious Alex, unnerving, obsessive Detlef and sweet, strong Nicky make up a set of characters that will really stick in your mind. This book was like a breath of fresh air. It’s a gripping and often quite moving love story with a musical note running through it. I really enjoyed and fully recommend!
Half a World Away is a rich, compelling and thought-provoking tale about love, obsession, ambition and going against the grain to be different. Wonderful!
Atmospheric. Gripping. Compelling.
To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the links below:
About Sue Haasler
Sue Haasler was born and brought up in Co. Durham and studied English Literature and Linguistics at
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
Many of the volunteers are from abroad and this is how she met her husband, who is from the former East
Sue has written four books, 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.
To put your name in the hat of chance to win a beautiful copy of Half A World Away by Sue Haasler, all you have to do is RT my Pinned Tweet! A winner will be announced at the end of the day! UK & Ireland only please! Good luck!
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Huge thanks to Emily Glenister and the Dome Press for my review copy and blog tour invite!