Half The World Away by Cath Staincliffe. Read June 2015.

This story kept my heart hostage all the time I was reading it – and I’m sure it won’t let go for a while.

“Newly graduated photography student Lori Maddox spends the year after university travelling and ends up in 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’. But then all communication stops…so they are compelled to travel out to Chengdu, a city in the south-western province of Sichuan, to search for their missing daughter…It’s an unbearably difficult and heartbreaking challenge and, as the days pass, the fear that Lori is lost to them for ever becomes harder to ignore…”

The author has created a family that feels as real as your relatives or neighbours. While the main plot concerns Lori, missing in China, we also become involved in the lives and everyday problems of all the family.

The depth of research is impressive – although I know next to nothing about China and its customs I was fascinated by the insight into the customs and nature of the people Jo and Tom interacted with in Chengdu.

A highly recommended read. A big change from my usual crime fiction / psychological thrillers but one that I found captivating and powerful.

  

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