I spent a lot of hours on some airplanes a couple of weeks ago and attempted to catch up on my reading. I added several books on my Nook, but brought some print books too. In the end, I only finished one book, but I chose well with The Other Half of Me by Morgan McCarthy.
The Other Half of Me is about a Jonathan Anthony and his younger sister Theo. The siblings live on their family home in Wales and are heirs to their grandmother’s hotel empire. Growing up with an alcoholic mother, Jonathan and Theo spend their days running wild and roaming the land surrounding their home. After a major incident brings their grandmother back home, the siblings finally have a positive adult influence. On the surface everyone seems happy, but soon Theo realizes that what they have been told their past may not be the truth.
The children live in a lush large home with plenty of gossiping maids, cooks, and gardeners. Jonathan is very protective of Theo’s happiness. Neither of them knew their father, so Jonathan becomes both brother and father to Theo, a sensitive, free spirit. As Jonathan grows up and comes into his own, he feels burdened by the responsibility he took upon himself when they were kids.
At first I was frustrated by the pacing of this novel, but it was only because I wanted to know more about the family’s past. Faster isn’t always better. Like the outside edges of the whirlpool, the path to the truth spirals faster and faster until it feels out of control. As the reader, I wanted to reach in and shake Jonathan. And his mother. And his grandmother. McCarthy’s pacing was excellent.
The back cover calls The Other Half of Me a coming of age novel, but it’s more than that to me. It’s about family secrets and rigid expectations. Yearning for love and a sense of family is something everyone desires.
I received a copy of The Other Half of Me for review. All opinions are my own.