The Other Half of Me

A Novel

The Other Half of Me

For fans of Atonement and Brideshead Revisited, a gorgeously written, darkly wise coming-of-age novel about the pull of the past and the destructive power of the stories we tell ourselves.

“What good can the past do the living? What harm?” Growing up in their family’s ancestral home in Wales, Jonathan Anthony and his little sister, Theo, are inseparable. Together they explore the wild acres of Evendon, inventing magical worlds and buttressing each other against the loneliness of life with their alcoholic mother, Alicia, and a shifting cast of gossiping cooks and maids. When a family tragedy brings their glamorous grandmother, Eve, home from America, Jonathan and Theo are initially elated by the attention she lavishes on them. But soon it becomes clear that there is more to the Anthony family history than either Eve or Alicia will acknowledge, trapping Jonathan and Theo in a web of dark secrets that have haunted Evendon for generations.

Written in luminous prose, with richly endearing characters and a profound appreciation for the rustic beauty of the Welsh countryside, The Other Half of Me is a darkly wise coming-of-age novel and a masterful portrait of a family and the burdens of the past.
  • Free Press | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451668230 | 
  • September 2012
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Other Half of Me includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Morgan McCarthy. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Jonathan and Theo are as close as siblings can be, having been raised by their eccentric, powerful, and glamorous grandmother in the shadow of an alcoholic mother and a mysteriously absent father. But their bond is threatened by suspicions about the truth behind their father’s disappearance, as well as the dark pull of hidden secrets. Set in the rustic Welsh countryside, The Other Half of Me is a rich, luminous debut novel that explores the bonds of family and the power the past holds over our present.  

Topics & Questions for Discussion 

1. Early on in the novel Jonathan describes his relationship with his mother, Alicia, as distant: “she simply didn’t occupy the same emotional space as the rest of us” (p. 38). How would you describe the relationship between Alicia and Jonathan by the end of the novel?
2. The house at Evendon is treated as its own character: “—the happiness of Evendon—was delicate, a b see more

More Books from this Author

This summer, Free Press will publish five powerful, original, and irresistible novels. The eBook edition of the Free Press Summer Fiction Sampler includes excerpts from Shelter, The Folded Earth, Gone to the Forest, The Other Half of Me, and Some Kind of Peace.

With behind-the-scenes content interspersed throughout, the sampler will transport readers to gorgeous landscapes around the world, from the foothills of the Himalaya to the Welsh...

About the Author

Morgan McCarthy
Photograph by Dean Kaden Photography

Morgan McCarthy

Morgan McCarthy was born in Berkshire, UK, where she still lives. She has worked in a supermarket, a small independent bookstore, and, most recently, as a media analyst.