Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Book Review: The Englishman - Helena Halme

Synopsis - Kaisa realised she'd never felt like this before.  This was love.  The stuff she's 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, 'Do you smile all the time?'

When young Finnish student Kaisa is invited to the British embassy cocktail party in Helsinki to celebrate a Royal Navy visit to Finland, she's not looking for romance.  After all, her future has been carefully planned: she's to complete her degree, marry her respectable, well-to-do Finnish fiancé Matti, and live happily ever after.

Enter dashing Peter, a newly qualified naval officer.  Like a moth to a flame, Kaisa falls head over heels in love.

Kaisa and Peter embark on a long distance relationship, but at the height of the Cold War, while the Englishman chases Russian submarines, Kaisa is stuck in Finland, a country friendly with the Soviet Union.

Review - I was asked to review this book by the author Helena Halme.

Helena Halme is no stranger to the blogging world, she is the owner of the blog Helena's London Life which is where 'The Englishman' came to fruition.  She holds a degree in Economics, has worked as an accountant and more recently a writer.  The Englishman is one of three novels she has published which include Coffee and Vodka and The Red King of Helsinki.

The reader could not help being swept along by this wonderful story.  Based on a true story, fact has been woven into fiction to make a delightful tale.  I loved the description of Finland and the life Kaisa led there and her on/off relationship with her difficult father.  We also got a sneek peek at Sweden when Kaisa visited her mother and sister.

This is a tale of true love and it is believable because it can and does happen like that, and there is not a lot one can do except go with it unless you want a life of regret and what if's.  We got to see Britain from a Scandinavian's (or any visitor to our country) point of view.  Green countryside, lots of tea, sandwiches and I loved that Kaisa liked our thick slices of ham comparing it with the thin slices Scandinavia is famously known to offer at breakfast.

Yes, it is a tale of romance but it is not all plain sailing (pardon the pun), as Kaisa and Peter struggle with a long distance relationship, trust and ultimately faith in knowing that both share the same feelings for each other.  This is not your usual standard chick lit, this is so much more.  A great read.  4*

Published by Newhurst Press
ISBN 978-0-9573711-6-3
Kindle edition: ASIN: B008SBBSPO

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