Monday 30 November 2015

Review ~ The Other Half of My Heart by Stephanie Butland

Random House UK
Black Swan

What Memories Are You Hiding?

I first came across this author's work, last year when I read her novel, Surrounded by Water, (aka Letter to my Husband) so it was a lovely surprise to catch up with some of the characters from that novel, in The Other Half of My Heart. Although, it must be said that this novel is an entirely separate story, and not a sequel. 

It focuses on the story of Bettina May, a thirty something woman with a secret past,which at times, threatens to overwhelm her. Bettina finds comfort in baking the most delicious bread and her village bakery is the source of much comfort to her. She pours her heart and soul into the bread she lovingly bakes, and rather than risk getting hurt, Bettina shields herself from getting too close to anyone. Her relationship with her lover, Rufus, is filled with a reticent tenderness, which at times, Bettina doesn't seem to know how to handle. Very cleverly, and rather like putting together a literary jigsaw puzzle, the story is revealed, and we travel back to a time, some, fifteen years ago, when Bettina was a teenager known as Tina, in love for the first time and with her whole life ahead of her. The reasons for Bettina's reluctance to get close to people and the, rather, strained relationship she has with her mother, starts to make sense.

I thought this was a really poignant story, cleverly highlighting how life can change in a heartbeat and that if feelings are hidden away, the repercussions can last a whole lifetime. It's also about finding love, holding it tight and never letting it go, and equally it's the story of unbelievable suffering and of heartbreaking loss on  a grand scale. Stephanie Butland writes so beautifully, that I must admit that I had a walloping great lump in my throat on more than one occasion and at times, needed to take a break from reading in order to gather my thoughts.

It's an emotional story that will resonate long after the last page is turned.

Best Read with a strong expresso and thick slices of crusty Scarborough cob, loaded with butter.

My thanks to NetGalley and  Random House, Transworld Publishers for my copy of this novel.



  1. I loved this - and so did my Mum!

    1. I agree that it's a lovely story Linda and well worth a read :)


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