Half the World Away

Written by Cath Stancliffe

Review written by John Parker

John Parker is a Graduate-qualified English/Spanish Teacher, owner and director of CHAT ENGLISH, an English Language Centre in Avilés on the north coast of Spain . A voracious reader, he has particularly loved horror fiction for many years.


Half the World Away
Constable
RRP: £7.99
Released: July 14 2016
PBK

This is the story of a mother, Joanna Maddox whose daughter Lorelei goes missing while spending her gap year travelling.

After visiting Thailand and Vietnam, Lori finds herself in China in Chengdu where she starts giving English classes. She keeps in regular contact with home and even has her own blog to recount her adventures. All is well for a while even though it causes angst to Jo who expected her daughter to be home much sooner. When communication from Lori stops, Jo and her ex-husband Tom become worried. Eventually they report her to the police as missing. The frustration of being 5,000 miles away from China and the vagueness of any information from the authorities leads Jo and Tom to fly off to China to search for their beloved missing daughter.

Staincliffe does an excellent job in this novel, written from Jo’s point of view. The feeling of helplessness that she feels; the culture shock as she and Tom desperately try to find any clues as to the whereabouts of Lori and the fear that she will never see her daughter again is all brilliantly conveyed. She also has worries about her husband Nick and her two children aged 5 and 7 to contend with.  Believably written, one does not have to be a parent to imagine the true horror of the situation. The research that the author carried out while visiting Chengdu helps to give the book a feeling of authenticity. Overall, I would say that this is a book which is well-worth your time. 

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