The Other Half of Me is Morgan McCarthy’s first novel and it’s an intriguing tale about an unusual and dysfunctional family. Jonathan and his sister Theo have grown up in Wales in a large old house called Evendon, brought up by a series of housekeepers while their mother lives in her own little world. They are pretty much left to roam free but do not necessarily enjoy having so much freedom. When their grandmother, Eve, returns, she brings an order to their lives but also an air of mystery. There seem to be some dark secrets lurking from the past that neither Theo nor Jonathan can make sense of.
The Other Half of Me follows Theo and Jonathan through from their younger days to early adulthood with the story moving between the past and the present. Because it is written like this, the reader is aware from early on that there has been some sort of tragedy and this is slowly revealed bit by bit. It certainly instils a sense of foreboding as one is reading as the mystery is pieced together a little at a time.
I enjoyed reading about Theo and Jonathan’s childhood through their teenage years and onto early adulthood. Through these transitions, the strength of their relationship comes through, and this is really at the crux of the novel. It is a story about the bond between siblings especially when their wider family circumstances are far from ideal. There is a need for them to look out for each other which they certainly do.
Although I found it a little slow in places, I was intrigued by the storyline and found myself wanting to read on. I was particularly fascinated by Jonathan’s and Theo’s characters and found myself warming to both for different reasons. I thought that it was interesting that the novel is written in the first person and is told through Jonathan’s eyes. This felt a bit unusual mainly because the author is female and therefore it could have been difficult to put herself in the position of a boy or a man. I have to admit that I did get a bit confused at times and felt that the story was being told by a woman.
Overall The Other Half of Me is a good first novel and Morgan McCarthy has created an absorbing storyline and some interesting characters. It definitely kept my attention and I was intrigued to find out what dark secrets were going to emerge. I’ll be interested to read more from this new author.
The Other Half of Me by Morgan McCarthy
Published by Headline Review, May 2012
With thanks to Headline Review for sending a review copy.
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