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Coffee and Vodka Paperback – October 23, 2014
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The Amazon Book Review
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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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Top customer reviews
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I like the change from childhood memories to adult interpretations of childhood events. It was not a sweet happy story. The divorce was not a happy event. The writer also kept me reading to discover the dark secrets of this family. The way family members were able to reconnect without forcing the main character to be apart of their new relationships reinforces communication. communicate ever after family tragedies such as divorce. I took a Finnish language class and I can see why the father was monolingual! Finnish could be a lifetime study.
I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review..
This child, we realise from the adult's perspective, has so much to deal with. Changing country, schools, language friendships; then the fraught family relationships, a time of political change and empowerment for women - and secrets. We realise by the time we join Eeva in adulthood that she has successfully dealt with most of these themes. Those she hasn't so far dealt with (and I want to avoid the spoiler) we watch her resolve or come to terms with.
I found the relationship Eeva had with her grandmother very moving. I cared about the characters though I didn't like all of them! I'm going to try another by this author.
At one point, Eeva sums up her predicament, "I looked fairly normal again, as normal as you can with a treacherous sister, estranged father and dying Grandmother. And a love affair with a married Polish dentist!" Well, hasn't everyone been there? But even if these things are as foreign to you as they are to me, along with the settings in this novel, Eeva's story will still strike a chord. Its descriptions of the difficulties of childhood, sisterhood, relationships and parenthood transcend national borders. Because families are universal, even if they sometimes aren't simple. This is a novel about displacement and family separation but it is also a story of hope.