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The Englishman: Can Love Go The Distance?

The Englishman: Can Love Go The Distance? [Kindle Edition]

Helena Halme
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

A stylish 1980s Nordic love story – based on true events.

When a 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 the dashing Peter, a newly qualified naval officer. Like a moth to a flame, Kaisa falls head over heels in love with the handsome Englishman. The young lovers steal passionate kisses in the chilly Esplanade Park and promise to meet again.

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.

Kaisa lives for the Englishman’s passionate letters and infrequent long-distance phone calls, but her jealous ex-fiancé doesn’t want to let go, and her old-fashioned father hates foreigners. Can Kaisa trust the gregarious Englishman? Wouldn’t she be better off going back to her faithful fiancé?

While Kaisa struggles to keep up faith in the relationship, a war breaks out in the faraway Falkland Islands…

Can the love between Kaisa and the Englishman last and go the distance?

This ‘Will they, won’t they?’ -tale of long-distance love is based on true events and attracted thousands of readers when first published as a series of blog posts on Helena’s London Life.

The Englishman will be one of the best true stories you’ll read this year!

‘The Englishman is quite the page-turner, I had difficulty stopping myself from devouring it in one go. All the small details about Finland and Sweden give the book such colour, and I love seeing England through Kaisa's eyes! Highly recommended!’ – Tania Hershman, author of My Mother Was an Upright Piano.

About the Author

Helena Halme grew up in Tampere, central Finland, and moved to Britain at the age of 22 via Stockholm and Helsinki. She spent her first years in Britain working as journalist and translator for the BBC. In 2004 Helena took a MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University having at last realised that she needs to take writing seriously. Helena has written three full length novels, The Englishman, Coffee and Vodka, and The Red King of Helsinki. Helena lives in North London and can often be seen out and about in town, walking her Border Terrier.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2074 KB
  • Print Length: 250 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0957371160
  • Publisher: Newhurst Press (17 Nov 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #72,053 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Helena Halme grew up in Tampere, central Finland, and moved to the UK at the age of 22 via Stockholm and Helsinki. She spent the first ten years in Britain working as journalist and translator for the BBC, where she was first to report on the Chernobyl disaster and on Swedish Premier Palme's murder.

Helena now lives in North London and runs the Finnish-British charity, Finn-Guild. She loves Nordic Noir and thinks in another life she might have been a blonde Birgitte Nyborg from Borgen.

Helena has published three novels, The Englishman, Coffee and Vodka, and The Red King of Helsinki.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Safe harbour in the end 3 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As Shakespeare expressed it in the first scene of A Midsummer's Night Dream, 'the course of true love never did run smooth.' It certainly didn't for Kaisa, the young Finnish heroine of the story. From the moment she meets and falls for the Englishman of the novel's title, at a British Embassy reception in Helsinki at the very start of the tale, we suspect two things. One is that by the final page, location 4271 on the Kindle, she will have got him to the altar. The second is that Peter, the handsome naval officer whose hand during their first dance slips without hesitation from her waist to her butt, does not think in terms of marriage. The reader guesses that, in Peter's eyes, Kaisa is simply an easy lay in a Finnish port. The pages between start and finish are filled with misunderstandings, protestations of love, trysts, absences and reunions over the space of four years. An emotive strand running throughout is Kaisa's relationship with her divorced parents, particularly with her wildly unstable father. We can understand how this unsteady background intensifies the uncertainty of her relationship with Peter. She's at sea metaphorically, as much as he is literally. Does she truly love him? Does he truly love her?

'The Englishman' by Helena Halme is a love story, simply told. The style of writing appears to be without artifice. It is easy to believe that Kaisa's story closely reflects the author's own experience of long-distance love and cross-cultural courtship, despite the usual caveat added at the end asserting that the all the characters are fictitious. If it really is fiction, then the writer has been skilful in creating a story which reads as though it's written by the alter ego of the nave heroine herself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romance at its best 6 Aug 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you love romance, this is the book for you. From page one you will be gripped, sharing all the emotions and anguish that this young woman is experiencing, also giving an insight into the different culture of a Nordic country. I particularly loved this book as I could totally identify with the characters involved and knowing that it is a true story, anything could happen.
I would highly recommend it, Helena Halme is a very talented writer who bares her soul, allowing you more than just a glimpse into one of the most romantic stories that I know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a romance - An important new writer. 28 Mar 2014
By Christina VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have given this five stars as Halme is an extremely accomplished writer. However, her other book, Coffee and Vodka, is even better than this, if this could be possible!

Don't be fooled into thinking this is merely Mills & Boon romance or 'chicklit', it is actually of literary merit, in my view. It reminded me of Jean Rhys or Elizabeth Taylor, in Halme's sharp eye regarding the dynamics of human relationships and social observation. The latter becomes apparent in the same perceptiveness of the satirist or stand-up comic; it is masterful. Although, this began as a blog, about a real life love story, nonetheless, Halme is a fine storyteller. I never once was happy to put it down and forget about it, she kept me turning the pages. I have even ordered a spare copy for my Finnish mother, who came to England as a young woman.

Set in Finland and Britain, there is plenty to fascinate, and as with most biography, there is the secret thrill of peering into the lives of others. The summer cottages, the lakes, the food, the Finns and the Brits all resonated, especially the depiction of Kaisa's father, who bears a striking resemblance to my own "Pappa" (granddad, in my case), the macho Finnish patriarch.

I can see there is a gap in the market here. We have Scandinavian crime noir, but what about Finnish novels in English literature about the lives of our generation?

I do know Helena, as new head of Finn Guild, but that would not influence me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read 16 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
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 clothing, but imbued with all the emotion of a young girl in the middle of a love affair that she must fight to sustain. Although the author maintains that the characters and story are fictitious, it has the style of a personal memoir and seems firmly grounded in some of her own experiences. The novel started life as a series of blog posts called How I Came to Be In England, but the author has unquestionably produced a piece of fiction that wholly engages as a novel. Quite fascinating, and I look forward to reading more by Helena - in fact, Coffee and Vodka is already waiting on my Kindle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It was a pleasure to dive into this book 3 Nov 2012
By Mazzy
Format:Kindle Edition
What I admired most about The Englishman was the way it so convincingly depicted the doubt and trust involved in a long-distance relationship at a time before the Internet existed. Peter and Kaisa inhabit a world where infrequent phone calls and letters must be treasured, rather than one where constant communication is available by mobile, skype and text.

Helena Halme brings Kaisa to life as a young woman setting out into adulthood against a background in Finland that's unknown to me. It's the details of daily life that make all the difference: what to wear to an Embassy cocktail party, or how awkward it feels not knowing what drink to order when in England. The novel is more than a romance, it's also a lament for Kaisa's fractured relationship with her father.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: The Englishman - Helena Halme
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. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Booketta
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle, tantalising tale of love across the miles
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... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Deborah Young
4.0 out of 5 stars An engaging love story
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... Read more
Published 3 months ago by EssexReader
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful read
A fun page turner, with truly loveable characters, beautifully described. I needed an "escape" and this book provided the perfect journey...
Published 3 months ago by Pianta Sue
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This book was a very good read and gave me an insight into Finland, the story was also good and I would recommend this book.
Published 9 months ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars The Englishman
I thought the novel was certainly a page turner and kept me enthralled with twists and turns of the lovebirds. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sue from Devon
5.0 out of 5 stars Romance at its best
The setting, the complexities of emotions and the pull of family had me smitten with this story. It evoked the era it is set in with ease. Read more
Published 12 months ago by K. Battrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I really enjoyed this book, I usually read sci-fi, but read this on a recommendation and couldn't put it down! It's such a great story, I had to keep on reading. Read more
Published 12 months ago by RCocking00
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional joyride
What an emotional journey this was. When I started to read I could not put the book down before I had finished it. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Annelis
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