Today my Mum joins me with her review of Other Halves by Nick Alexander.
When Hannah and Cliff’s fifteen-year marriage falls apart, it seems almost impossible to start again. While Hannah tries to reconcile the warring factions of her heart, torn between a pre-teen son and a romantic love half a world away, Cliff struggles to face up to issues he has suppressed since adolescence in the hope of finding happiness in a confusing world. Amid the turmoil of separation, and with their son, Luke, caught in the crossfire, both Hannah and Cliff face the challenge of rebuilding their lives. To make the other halves of their lives count, they will need courage and determination. To build new relationships, they will need to dare to love again. Other Halves beautifully maps the break-up of a couple, with all the tough choices and heartache it entails, but above all it is a touching story of self-discovery, finding new love and beginning life afresh.
This was a ‘ first ‘ for me. Other Haves is the first fiction book I have read by a male author, and I have to say I approached it with some skepticism! I don’t know why but I doubted the story would have depth of feeling that a female author could bring to a story of love and relationships. I couldn’t have been more wrong and very much enjoyed this novel.
Other Halves deals with some very delicate and some very ordinary issues, but each one and every page holds a refreshing analysis of the characters’ feelings. The book is set out in alternate chapters, expressing first Hannah’s views and feelings and then Cliff’s, the husband whom she has parted from. I found myself in the first instant empathising with Hannah, but then after hearing Cliff’s side of events I swung from one to the other, proving genuinely, as in real live, there are two sides to every story.
The story is fast moving and I liked the pace and as the characters dip in and out of the past, the reader can build a picture of how they reached the point they are at. I thought Nick introduced sensitive issues cleverly and challenged assumptions. I particularly liked the way, when called to their son’s school, it became clear that some issues are not covered by political correctness and with all the will in the world, even the supposedly adult and educated are human too.
Nick Alexander addresses the ‘ stereotype’ attitude we can so easily fall into – again I found myself saying, ‘ Well what do you expect, going to places like that?’ but then moments later realising along with Cliff that this was not the whole picture. At times I felt Hannah deserved to break her heart, especially after trying so hard to manipulate her son and the situation – but again Nick made me see both sides of the story and I was relieved when the outcome, although not necessarily a fairytale one, was at least a humane one.
Thank you for teaching me a lesson, Nick, I shall be reading more of your work in the future!
Other Halves is out now in paperback and ebook formats.
Find out more about Nick Alexander and his writing at: http://nick-alexander.com/