Richard McAllister, a young minister in the government, has temporarily left the Cabinet while recovering from being stabbed by a thug at a football match. He has decided, while recuperating, to go to South Africa to research a relative and his account of the horse in the Boer War. While in Mafeking, he is called back to London because his passionate affair with an actress has become public knowledge. From that moment, the love affair becomes almost impossibly fraught. The press hound them, the government spin doctors try to suppress all news and Joanna's husband becomes very vindictive. The lovers are parted, and Joanna goes to America.
This is a novel about contemporary politics, the power of film, the nature of history and above all about two people caught hopelessly in love, subject to the stresses of fame and scandal. It is an exceptional achievement.
Half In Love has the invigorating feel and racing pace of any good love story - Hampstead and Highgate Express
Cartwright's tender, ironic, but ultimately optimistic dissection of human love is as shrewd and unshrinking as his conclusions about politics and journalism... Half in Love is a marvel of compression, of characterisation and of tightly cast thought. It is also very moving and utterly gripping, to which the author has cleverly added a sly whiff of the roman-?-clef. - The Times
Half in Love is a marvellous novel, serious, moving, compelling, wholly credible. - Weekend Scotsman
Intelligent and lucid - The Times
Cartwright has an unfashionable ear for sincerity, which ambushes modern readers used to seeing the false and flaky exposed. - Saturday Telegraph
This fine novel is also a powerful, irrestibly page-turning love-story. - Harpers & Queen
[An] urbanely intelligent story of political and sexual manners - The Sunday Times
An absorbing novel... the writing is elegant and crisp - Sunday Telegraph
Born in South Africa, Justin Cartwright lived in Britain after studying at Trinity College, Oxford. He worked in advertising and directed documentaries, films and television commercials, and wrote seventeen novels. They include the Booker-shortlisted In Every Face I Meet, the Whitbread Novel Award-winner Leading the Cheers, the acclaimed White Lightning, shortlisted for the 2002 Whitbread Novel Award, The Promise of Happiness, winner of the 2005 Hawthornden Prize, The Song Before It Is Sung, To Heaven By Water, Other People's Money, Lion Heart and Up Against the Night. His novel Look At It This Way was made into a three-part drama by the BBC in 1992, and he also published three works of non-fiction. He died in December 2018.