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Half a World Away

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  18,928 ratings  ·  1,622 reviews
Strangers living worlds apart.
Strangers with nothing in common.

But it wasn’t always that way…

Kerry Hayes
is single mum, living on a tough south London estate. She provides for her son by cleaning houses she could never afford. Taken into care as a child, Kerry cannot forget her past.

Noah Martineau is a successful barrister with a beautiful wife, daughter and home in fashio
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published June 13th 2019 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Gary Not sure whether you already found a copy but, if not, this is now available on Amazon in Canada:

If you're int…more
Not sure whether you already found a copy but, if not, this is now available on Amazon in Canada:

If you're interested, Mike has recently been doing weekly Facebook Live events (Monday's 8pm UK). He talks about a different book each week and reads comments and answers questions from the chat. The events so far are available as videos to watch (starting in March 2020) at https://facebook.com/mikegayleauthor. If he keeps to the weekly schedule, Half A World Away is likely to be discussed on 6th July.
And his new book All The Lonely People will be released on 23rd July.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,928 ratings  ·  1,622 reviews

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May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the first contemporary fiction novel that I have read by Mike Gayle, and I absolutely loved it, despite the fact that I found myself emotionally wrung out from the experience. Kerry Hayes is in her early 40s, a single mom with young son, Kian, living on a tough and challenging London estate. She is a hardworking cleaner, determined to be a good role model for her son, and given where they live, she has her work cut out in steering Kian along a positive life path. Kian's father is the no ...more
Aug 22, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Half a Word away is a heartbreaking and beautiful story. An uplifting tale that is relatable and well written.

This is my second novel by Mike Gayle having recently read The Man I Think I Know which I also enjoyed. I love the ease of Mike Gayle books, they are well written, well rounded characters that the reader can connect with and a plot that is thought provoking and entertaining.

Kerry Hayes is a single mum, living on a tough south London estate. she works as a cleaner and provides
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's been many takes on the traditional tale of the different paths those of a certain upbringing are able to take, that it's testament to Mike Gayles strong writing that I was instantly invested in siblings Kerry and Noah reunion after being parted during a traumatic childhood.

Single mum Kerry trys her best to support her young son Kian through various cleaning jobs, whist Noah is a successful barrister and happily married father.

Its great that the chapters jump between the two POVs as both
Susan Atkin
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Not read any of his before and it started off quite well. But then it got so predictable, to the point I was cringing and it was completely spoilt for me. it was so obvious what was going to happen to Kerry. If you like light reading and soppiness then go ahead and read but I’m not gonna bother with this author again I didn’t think if they are all along the same lines. It could’ve been so much better without it being cliched and unoriginal. The sad and inevitable bit happened and then everything ...more
Lydia Bailey
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
I completely accept I’m in the minority here, particularly with fellow book club buddies, but this did very little for me at all. I have struggled with the author before. I found this one a chore to finish & had to speed read a few chapters in the middle. For me it read like a low grade chic-lit book (absolutely nothing wrong with the genre, it’s just not what I was expecting) with some dodgy first person writing & forced dialogue. On the plus side, I think the characters were well rounded & bel ...more
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
The incredibly moving and uplifting novel "Half a World Away" is an acute observation of human nature and is written by Mike Gayle, bestselling author of "The Man I Think I Know".
"Kerry Hayes knows exactly who she is: a single mum, a cleaner and Mariah Carey's biggest fan. Noah Martineau thinks he knows who he is: a successful barrister, with a wife, daughter and big house in Primrose Hill. Strangers with nothing in common. Strangers living worlds apart. But it wasn't always this way...and Noah
Lisa Regan
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Mostly...meh. Really poorly written dialogue, characters I didn't care about, no real plot twists, an ending I expected...I only kept reading because I thought something would happen to make it worthy of it having made it to print. But it didn't. ...more
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I absolutely loved this book, I didn’t want it to end! Mike Gayle really takes you on a journey reading this. It was such a beautifully written story, I was so invested. Kerry and Noah are so wonderful and loveable with fantastic character development. Written in their perspectives, you can paint a clear picture in your mind of their very different personalities and backgrounds. Social class and race were prominent issues highlighted here which I found really added to the emotion of the sto ...more
Rachel Gilbey
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Words can't describe adequately what I feel about this book.

Without a doubt Mike Gayle's best book, and I've read them all, and its such a powerful but heartbreaking story,

I was almost in floods of tears for most of the last fifth of the book, and kept having to swallow the lump in my throat, purely as I didn't want people wondering why on earth I was crying poolside on holiday.

Kerry and Noah couldn't have had any more different upbringings if they tried, but yet there are a few similarities
Hannah Moore
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, family
Lovely story for the most part and ever so sad, though I kept hoping for a twist. I found the writing style a bit simple, too much like a diary though it wasn’t meant to be, and often found the dialogue unbelievable and not how people would speak. Felt like a chore at times and also felt the description was unnecessary and not authentic. For instance when someone is ill but still describes another person’s clothing. All in all nice story, unconvincing narration.
Paula Sealey
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A heartrending tale, this book pulled me in from the start with its wonderful ensemble of characters. The story is highly emotional but so beautifully written; I found myself completely invested in the two main characters, Kerry especially, and absorbed myself in their lives until I reached the conclusion. A touching family saga full of heart and soul that will have you reaching for the tissue box.

*I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Meagan (Meagansbookclub)
Nov 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Heartwarming story.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everyone is talking about this quite tearful read Half A World Away by Mike Gayle, anyone with the love of good books can see why everyone is talking this story.

Kerry Hayes is a single mother trying to earn a living house cleaning for people, because the job fits around her having a child at nursery school.

From the past, the most saddest thing ever is that when her mother couldn't look after Kerry and her brother, anymore, they went into separate care.

With now her mother has passed away, she d
Beth Sandland (Beth’s Book Club)
This is the story of Kerry and Noah, two siblings separated when they were taken from their mother in early childhood.

One pinballs from placement to placement before finally growing up in a care home. A rough start in life, a need to fend for herself and eventually, a determination to ‘make good’. Kerry lives a humble but happy life as the single mother of her son, Kian, in a west London council estate, working hard as a cleaner.

The other is adopted aged 2.5 and raised by a loving, wealthy whi
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Heart warming and heart breaking.

This book sucks you in from the start. Kerry is so relatable and you just want everything to work out as she deserves. I loved the dynamic of her relationship with Noah, reconnecting after so many years with her long lost brother whereas for Noah it was all new.

As the book went on it was quite clear where it was going so there weren’t any shock revelations but it is still a great read if you’re looking for something a little different.
Jessica Gilmore
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Okay. What you need to do is block out a whole afternoon. Make sure you have a full pot of tea, a plate of biscuits (or cake or fruit, delete as applicable), a cosy reading spot and preferably a pet to cuddle up to. Put your phone on silent and let yourself be immersed in this book. You won't regret it. Oh, you'll need tissues too...
Kerry is a hardworking single mother, who adores her son, Kian, and never bemoans the hand she's been dealt. And it's not an easy hand. Put into care as a child she
Tracy Fenton
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Where do I begin with this review? Well firstly, I listened to it on Audible and the narrators Kayi Ushe and Joanna Brookes were absolutely incredible and I could see them quite clearly in my mind and to me Kerry was a very young Kathy Burke and Noah a young Adrian Lester!

Now in her early 40’s Kerry is a single mum to a young son, living on a rough estate, she has her own small business cleaning the houses of the rich and entitled. Having been put into the care system at a young age and separate
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book will make you cry.

It didn’t make me cry, because I’m pretty hard (a.k.a. heartless) when it comes to these types of books.

Half a World Away is about a woman called Kerry who, after years of trying to get back in touch, eventually manages to reunite with her long-lost half-brother, Noah. And that’s pretty much all you need to know.

At its heart, this book is primarily about family and what it means to be a family. I didn’t give it five stars because it ended up being a bit too ‘sweet’ fo
Ruth Carey
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Good story at first. Second half of the book dragged on. Really awful dialogue and no characters that I was particularly invested in
Molly Barton
Aug 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Omg this book !!!! My heart broke over and over and over again for them all 💔💔 I felt every single emotion good and bad through out this book; joy , hope, anger, and overwhelming sadness! I’ve never cried so hard finishing a book in my life, I’m a mess! This is a must read!
Apr 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Half a World Away follows the heartbreaking story of two siblings, Kerry and Noah, who are taken into care and live very different lives.

This is my second Mike Gayle book, and this one is a clear favourite. It was beautifully written; both characters immediately come to life, their personality completely throws itself at you on the page. Kerry is down to earth, lovable and endlessly caring, whilst Noah is extremely intelligent and kind-hearted. As the book progresses, I became overwhelmingly inv
kirsty gray
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what can I say, this book has left me emotionally traumatised!!! I have sobbed my heart out, huge ugly cries!!!! It was amazing and everyone should read this book!!!!
I finished this last night, couldn't stop reading. Ended up going to bed at 1 am, and spent about an hour crying my eyes out from the last 75 pages.

If you don't like stories that are made to be tear-jerkers with tragedies and lives being turned upside down at every occasion, I don't think you'll like this one. As much as I loved it, there's a part of me that thought: these characters are going through hell and back, and this is getting to a point where I'm not sure all of the ordeals were neces
Steph  Williams
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
***************CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS****************
I really enjoyed reading this book, and felt that I could relate quite well to the characters, as we have members of our family who have been adopted.
I felt for the character, Noah, as it must have been hard for him to have lost his sister having just been reconnected.
This is quite a realistic account of how some children very sadly get taken into care and adopted.
Jul 22, 2020 rated it liked it
A bit too predictably soppy for me. Some of it felt rushed where other parts seemed to drag on forever.

Not bad but not great. The copy I read though had a preview of another Mike Gayle book that sucked me in so now I’m on to that one.

My copy was provided by NetGalley for review, all opinions are my own.
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
A beautiful story,told from two perspectives,one that will gladden your heart and see you reaching for some tissues.

I loved the strength and determination of Kerry and understood the reasons for Noah’s refusal to deal with his past.
Dylan Kakoulli
May 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021
Both heartwarming and heartbreaking “Half a world away” is a story of two individuals, who’s lives could not be more different. Though that wasn’t always the case...

We follow a brother and sister torn apart from a very young age. With one fortunate enough to be adopted, growing up to lead an immensely privileged and successful life as a barrister. And the other, placed into a difficult and troubling care system, where her only future prospects are a tumultuous life on a tough south london estate
Carly Cumming
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book. It was a nice easy read. Sad in parts.
Katy Kelly
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Emotional family drama from the male and female perspectives; you'll need tissues.

A two-hander of viewpoints that will touch you. The story doesn't let up, and both sides bring honest and raw sentiments with them.

Kerry works diligently as a cleaner to raise her son by herself, taking pride in her flat, while holding onto hopes of the long-gone baby brother she lost in the care system when still a child herself.

Noah Martineau is a well-spoken and successful barrister, married family man, who kno
Melanie Lewis
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible-books
I'd heard so much about this book before I listened to it, I was expecting to sob my way from the first word until the last. I didn't cry, I did well up a few times but didn't actually shed a tear. Please don't misunderstand, this isn't because the book isn't intensely moving and highly emotional, it is both those things and more. It's the writing, which is so exquisite in its eloquence and lyricism I didn't want to miss a word. Mike Gayle's words are poetic, his writing possesses a rhythm so me ...more
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