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The English Heart

(The Nordic Heart #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  108 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Kaisa realized she’d never felt like this before. This was love. The stuff she’d read about in books since she was a teenager; the films she’d watched. This was how Ryan O’Neal felt about Ali MacGraw in Love Story, and Barbra Streisand about Robert Redford in, The Way We Were. Kaisa grinned. She’d wanted to pose the same question to the Englishman that Katie had to Hubbell ...more
Kindle Edition, 282 pages
Published November 9th 2017 by Newhurst Press (first published November 17th 2013)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  108 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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N.N. Light
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story of love and the Cold War. Highly recommend!

My Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Mrs. N
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story filled with the love, excitements, doubts and uncertainties of a long-distance relationship. Well written and very realistic.
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I downloaded this on Kindle because through following the author's blog I learned it was autobiographical about how she, a Finn, met and married her husband, an Englishman. I am a sucker for memoirs and autobiographical novels. Not sure how much of this one is fictionalized or actually happened but just the same it was very enjoyable reading, a delightfully intriguing love story. The Finnish girl, Keisa, meets the Englishman, Peter, at a dance in Finland and although it's basically love at first ...more
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Englishman is subtitled "Can love go the distance" and it is quite the page-turner, I had difficulty stopping myself from devouring it in one go. It is the story of Kaisa, a young Finnish girl who meets and falls in love with Peter, an English naval officer. The author, who is a friend of mine, lives in England and is married to an Englishman, and she has made no secret of the fact that this novel has its roots in autobiography - in fact, it started life as a series of blog posts called How ...more
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, romance
This was a recommendation from my Finnish girlfriend - as a love story between a Finnish girl and an Englishman it seemed quite apt really! Whilst perhaps not the genre I would usually read, I was compelled throughout, completing the book in a couple of days. I really loved the little touches of cross-cultural romance; I could definitely identify with several of the Englishman's actions, for example making a sandwich out of the traditional Finnish snack of cheese, ham and rye bread! Not to menti ...more
JJ Marsh
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Helena Halme, a Finn who grew up in Sweden, now writes in English. Her fictionalised memoirs give an insight into displacement, long-distance love, dysfunctional families, cultural differences between neighbouring countries, and the emotional journey of readjustment.

Check out Coffee and Vodka and The Red King of Helsinki by the same author.

As a perennial nomad, I identify. The light tones of romance and adventure are deceptive. Halme tackles awkward issues such as family problems, practical bure
Jan 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
I am absolutely baffled how this book has such good reviews. I don’t get it, I really do not. I was rolling my eyes already on the third page and would have given up on it by page 50 had this not been a part of a book club I’m in. As a Finn myself, I would have loved to love this, but I just could not. Reasons below…


I’m not entirely sure where to begin, but I guess I start with the obvious - the quality of the writing.

I know the story is based on real life events that were
Sandy McCarthy
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway-winner
Goodreads First Reads Winner!!

Brilliant, endearing story. Couldn't wait for the ending, but so enjoyed the story, I didn't want to rush through it. Took my breath away. Glad it's a mystery as to who the story is based on. It makes it more mysterious and romantic!!! Can't say enough good things about it!!
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
The Young Heart - My first book by this author and I have conflicting thoughts after reading all five books sequentially. I usually chain read as many books by one author as possible, but I had to pick up other books to take a break from Kaisa. This is introduction to Kaisa the main character and several supporting characters of the Nordic Series. Kaisa is a 14-year-old female. Her thought processes, or lack of, her experiences with her family members and her friends-to-lovers relationship with ...more
Isabelle D
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this first book in a series, a Finnish girl and an English young man are in a long-distance relationship at a time when people could only keep in touch with "snail mail" letters and occasional (because it was expensive) landline phone calls. To younger readers, this might seem as unfamiliar as Finland, where most of the story is set. Speaking of that, I liked the mentions of things that are different in Finland compared to England (both being foreing countries for me), and more generally ever ...more
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I like best about this story is that the romance feels "real." It's not some sappy Harlequin version, with the same old tropes and situations. The reader is allowed to grow with Kaisa as she falls in love with Peter, her Englishman. You see her eyes open to the world--that there can be more to life and love than what her fiance Matti had to offer her. If you want to get the full effect of this book (and Kaisa's relationship with Matti) and understand Kaisa and her actions better, read the p ...more
Sarah B White
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Love Story

In this book, we have a love story. A young couple meets and falls in love. Kaisa, a Finnish university student, and Peter, an English submarine worker, meet and quickly decide that their lives will not be complete without the other. Because Finland is located near communist Russia, Kaisa will have to be interviewed and approved before the wedding can take place.

Again, Helena has written an enjoyable novel. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Jeanne Dierkes
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked it

I loved the writing about the countryside and the way everything looks wherever Kaisa goes. Helena describes really well the way she's feeling and whenever she is in turmoil about how to feel or how to make a choice or certain decisions. I enjoyed the storyline in the prequel and The English Heart, though in places it is a bit too cheesy for my liking. I did get invested with the characters though wanted to know what will happen next. Great book!
Barbara Tobey
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fascinating tale of life in Finland, Sweden and Britain, with a little British Navy added. Interesting look at various customs and lifestyles. A sweet romance. A more open view of sex than is typical for Americans, but there are no intimate details. Americans are usually more uptight about nudity and sex. Of course, this is not about Americans or their point of view. The author generously provided a copy.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book and I look forward to treading the other books. This is a love story about two people from two different worlds and how they work to maintain love.

I received an ebook copy for an honest review.
Awesome Indies Book Awards
Awesome Indies Book Awards is pleased to include THE ENGLISH HEART by HELENA HALME in the library of Awesome Indies' Badge of Approval recipients at
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining read which I devoured during a couple of days away and a long train journey. Having been to Sweden and Finland once, and Edinburgh several times it was nice to see them brought to life in the book. Not sure how much it is based on the author's real life and how much she has fictionlised to protect friends and family. ...more
Debbie Young
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I automatically give five stars to any book that has me staying up way past my bedtime to read it and abandoning anything else that I'm meant to be doing in order to get to the end, and this was one of those books.

Knowing that this was based on a true story and had started life as a nostalgic blog, I read it in a slightly different way to a totally fictitious novel, not judging it on plot, characterisation, etc, but enjoying the clear evocation of the various sittings (Sweden, Finland, England)
I found this book recommendation on a blog and was intrigued by the title. Inter cultural marriages are very interesting and the blurb piqued my interest more.

A Finnish girl, very young, very insular meets up with an English navy officer working on a submarine at a cocktail party in Helsinki. It is a chance meeting and one of those times which is a real karmic one! if she hadn't gone this story would not be here. A developing attraction between the two continues over the years with him always on
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in the early 1980’s, this is the story, simply told, of a love affair conducted without the advantage of internet, email or mobile phones – all the things that we now take for granted and reminds us of the difficulties of conducting a long distance romance when all you have to rely on are letters and the occasional phone call.

Our young heroine, Kaisa, a Finnish student is superbly brought to life with great detail, and the cultural differences between the Baltic country of Finland and Brita
Tiina Walsh
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book of an inter-cultural relationship, where one half of the couple is from Finland - personally, I could well relate to the story, as I'm also originally from Finland and although, I didn't marry an Englishman, I'm not too far: I married an Irishman & living now in Ireland.

I read the book in one day while travelling, and the hours of journey melted away, thanks to the Englishman - I was half-in love with him myself well before the story was over!

I particularly like t
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Having visited the Baltic this year for the first time, this was a perfect read for me. As well as being fascinated and intrigued by the central love story, I loved the detail about Finnish daily life, and it had never really struck me how – as recently as the 80s – Finland was seen as inextricably linked with the Soviet Union. The author is excellent at the detail of daily life, and we see everything vividly through the simple retelling by the naive heroine, filled with the minutiae of food and ...more
Grigory Ryzhakov
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Englishmen is a story of a long-distance romance between a Finnish girl and an English seaman. While I couldn't relate to any of the characters, they seemed very real to me. It is as if I was reading someone's autobiography.
The prose flows well, and a little bit simplistic, which makes the book ideal for an international audience.
Certain things are quite unique about this book. A contrast between Finnish and English mentalities. I thought the story explored nicely what it is to be young, and
Kimberly Westrope
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
There are parts of this story that fascinated me. I had never read a book that took place in Finland before, nor had I read much about the Cold War, so the geographical and the historical aspects of the story really appealed to me. I liked the characters and the few settings in the story. I would have liked the story itself had it been shorter. Many parts of it seemed to drag on, describing day to day mundane activities while the heroine, a young Finnish student waited for her dashing British so ...more
Diana Hockley
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a most unusual treatment of a traditional scenario - a young Finnish girl meets a handsome young English naval officer at an Embassy party and they start a long-distance relationship.

There's a lot of "telling" in this story rather than showing - but just as you wonder if something more exciting is to happen, another layer of the relationship between Kaisa and her father, then predictable glitches between Peter and Kaisa, engendered by long separations.

It is a tribute to the author's skil
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-read-list
I won this as a First Reads on Goodreads.
A very enjoyable love story between a Finnish woman -Kaisa and an Englishman-Peter and the trials and tribulations of having a long distance relationship.The fact Peter is a Naval officer and this is set in the Eighties during the Cold War makes their relationship even more difficult.
It was nice reading about some facts on Finland and how Kaisa found some of our habits odd!Just one criticism, instead of using Peters name when she was thinking of him, Kais
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best, most exciting book I've read in ages! I laughed out loud, I burst out crying on a London bus and missed my stop, I fist pumped the air reading in the tube! Having lived through more than one long distance relationship, the doubt, the missing, the pain in parting... was all so very familiar. This was just the kind a romance novel I needed, one with a happy ending for the Finnish girl for once. ...more
Jo Notary
221pgs, her life is all planned and she is engaged, she's invited to a British Embassy cocktail party, and meets a dashing Naval officer. In the chilly Esplanade Park the Englishman and her share passionate, secret kisses and promise to meet up again. But they live thousands of miles apart 13 and she is engaged to be married.

Marja Valtonen
Jan 07, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Managed to read it through, though giving up was more of an option. The author should've killed a lot of darlings! And maybe written the story in her own mother tongue. I'd like to be nice and find something positive to say about the book. But I just can't think of anything. ...more
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, first-reads
Excellent summer reading. A really lovely story with a nice twist at the end.
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Helena Halme is a Prize-winning Finnish author based in London. Her books include The English Heart, a best-selling romantic novel, which won an Awesome Indies badge on publication. Her other titles include The Faithful Heart, The Good Heart, The True Heart and The Young Heart in the Nordic Heart Series and Nordic family drama, Coffee and Vodka. Helena has also written a Cold War spy thriller, The ...more

Other books in the series

The Nordic Heart (5 books)
  • The Faithful Heart (The Nordic Heart #2)
  • The Good Heart (The Nordic Heart #3)
  • The True Heart (The Nordic Heart #4)
  • The Christmas Heart (The Nordic Heart #5)

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