Review: On Borrowed Time - Graeme Hall

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Title: On Borrowed Time
Author: Graeme Hall
Genre: Fiction (Historical thriller/mystery)
Price: £9.99
Publication Date: 11/01/2021


Hello lovelies! I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity of reading and reviewing 'On Borrowed Time', which is being published tomorrow. My review is part of the blog tour organised by Isabelle Kenyon at Fly On The Wall Blog Tours – massive thanks to Isabelle for my gifted copy of the book!




In Hong Kong, Emma Janssen discovers the truth behind the death of her brother four years earlier. Meanwhile, in Shanghai, a PhD student meets a woman with an unusual degree of interest in his research. These storylines converge at the time of the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, and Emma finds that she has to choose between revenge or the future happiness and safety of both herself and those close to her.

'On Borrowed Time' is set in Hong Kong and Shanghai over the period 1996/1997 - including the handover of Hong Kong to China. The novel explores the choices that people have to make; in particular between doing what is easy and what is right.

'On Borrowed Time' is the first work of fiction by Graeme Hall that I had the pleasure to read and it is one that is a definite favourite! The novel has everything I look for in a story - interesting characters, a fascinating plot and a beautiful setting. 


The story is written from multiple points of view and consists of multiple storylines that are all intertwined together. There's a number of intriguing characters that are well constructed and which appear realistic. Every character makes you feel some type of emotion which makes you even more invested in the story. 

The story is fictional, however it is inspired by the author's experiences of living and working in Hong Kong from 1993 to 2010, in particular the final years of British rule and the transfer of sovereignty back to China. The author's connection to China and Hong Kong is visibly clear through vivid descriptions of the setting, as well as his knowledge of the places and the history.

'On Borrowed Time' was quite an educational read for me as it was set in the year before I was born and I have to admit that I didn't know much about the history of China and Hong Kong before this novel. I was extremely absorbed by the story and the setting which made me want to learn more about the transfer of sovereignty. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel and if I could, I would have read on as I'd love to know the characters' fate. There were still a number of unanswered questions at the end but I think this showcases how the novel reflects the realities of life as no one’s future is clear and it can steer in a different direction at any time.


Overall, 'On Borrowed Time' is a brilliantly written book that is more than worthy of a five star rating as Hall perfectly incorporates history and intrigue within the plot, making the novel not only enjoyable but also educational. If you're a fan of historical thrillers, mystery and espionage then this novel is definitely for you!

The novel is available as an ebook and can also be purchased as a paperback from all major retailers.


Rating: 5/5


About the author

On Borrowed Time is Graeme Hall's first fictional novel and it is set in Hong Kong and Shanghai, a part of the world that Hall loves and which inspires his writing. Graeme first visited Macau in 1993 and he quickly became fascinated by the oldest European settlement in Asia. His short story collection, 'The Goddess of Macau' was published in August 2020 by Fly on the Wall Press.


Hall has previously won the short story competition of the Macau Literary Festival and the Ilkley Literature Festival, and his writing has been published in anthologies by Black Bear Press and the Macau Literary Festival. He is an active member of the Leeds Writers Circle whose members have been a constant source of advice, support and encouragement. Graeme Hall lives in Calderdale, West Yorkshire with his wife and a wooden dog.



Make sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour on Twitter and Instagram!

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