Review: Half the World Away by Cath Staincliffe

Half the World Away - Cath Staincliffe

Published by:  Constable (4th June 2015), hardcover edition: ISBN-13: 9781472117977


Source: Copy provided by publisher, via NetGalley, in return for my unbiased review




Newly graduated photography student Lori Maddox spends the year after university travelling and visits China where she finds work as a private English tutor. Back in Manchester, her parents Jo and Tom, who separated when Lori was a toddler, follow her adventures on her blog, 'Lori In The Orient'.

Suddenly communication stops and when the silence persists a frantic Jo and Tom report her missing. It is impossible to find out anything from 5,000 miles away so they travel out to Chengdu, a city in the south-western province of Sichuan, to search for their daughter.


Landing in a totally unfamiliar country, with no knowledge of the customs or language, and receiving scant help from the local authorities, Jo and Tom are forced to turn detective, following in their daughter's footsteps, tracing the people she mentioned in her posts, interviewing her friends, colleagues and students. It's an unbearably difficult challenge and, as the days pass, the fear that Lori is lost for good grows ever larger.


My Review:

Having previously read several books by the same author,I was delighted when this title became available on NetGalley. 


I've just finished reading and I'm in awe - this book is breathtakingly crafted. From the very beginning, as we are introduced to Lori and her family, to the bittersweet conclusion, I was utterly enthralled. The plot is like a guitar string being wound ever tighter, the tension increasing with every turn. I simply couldn't stop reading.


It is shocking and suspenseful, with developed characters you take to your heart from the outset. Intelligently written and simply unputdownable.