A Week in Books · Advanced Review Copy · Anna McPartlin · Blog Tours · Book Post · Books · fiction · Literary Lowdown · Lucy Foley · Rachael English · Romantic Novelists Association · Sarah Butler

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 24 February – 1 March

Welcome to this week’s round-up of book life at Sarah’s Vignettes.

Keep scrolling to get the lowdown on what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, on social media, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves, and other bookish delights.

~ On the blog ~

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

On Saturday, I shared my review of The Guest List by Lucy Foley. It’s an outstanding read and it deserves all the numerous accolades it has already received – it was only published 10 days ago!

~ On my calendar ~

RNA London Chapter Leap Into A Love Story event

On Saturday evening, authors from the Romantic Novelists Association (RNA) London Chapter invited book bloggers to their #LeapIntoALoveStory meet-up event to celebrate the last day of Romance Reading Month. It was also part of the RNA’s 60th Anniversary celebrations. I had a great time chatting all things writing and books with fellow book blogger Rachel Gilbey and the RNA authors.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 2 books to my book shelf this week.

Next month, I’m taking part in the blog tour for Below the Big Blue Sky, Anna McPartlin’s sequel to The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes. I loved Rabbit Hayes so I’m looking forward to finding out how the Hayes Family are doing. I think it will be an emotional read but if The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes is anything to go by, it will be a beautiful, compassionate and uplifting read.

Below the Big Blue Sky by Anna McPartlin

From the bestselling author of The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes comes a huge-hearted novel about death, family and finding laughter in the most bloody mental places.

Below the Big Blue Sky by Anna McPartlin

When forty-year-old Rabbit Hayes dies, she leaves behind a family broken by grief. Her mother Molly is distraught and in danger of losing her faith. Her father Jack spends hour upon hour in the family attic, poring over his old diaries, losing himself in the past.

Rabbit’s brother Davey finds himself suddenly guardian to her twelve-year-old daughter Juliet. Juliet might be able to fill a hole in Davey’s heart – but how can he help Juliet through her grief when he can barely cope with his own?

Meanwhile, Rabbit’s sister Grace is struggling with the knowledge that she carries the same gene that made her sister ill, and Rabbit’s best friend Marjorie is lost, struggling to remain a part of a family she has always wished was her own now that her link to them is gone.

But even though the Hayes family are all fighting their own battles, they are drawn together by their love for Rabbit, and their love for each other. In the years that follow her death they find new ways to celebrate and remember her, to find humour and hope in the face of tragedy, and to live life to its fullest, as Rabbit would have wanted.

Below a Big Blue Sky will make you laugh, cry and shout with joy for the colourful, unruly Hayes family as they battle with the loss of their beloved Rabbit, the daughter, mother, sister and friend, who in her own crazy way taught each of them how to live, and goes on showing them how to love from beyond the grave.


I was thrilled to receive a signed copy of The Paper Bracelet from Rachael English. I adored The American Girl and The Night of the Party so I am excited to read Rachael’s latest novel. It’s already out in Ireland and it comes to the UK on July 9th.

The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English

The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English

For almost fifty years, Katie Carroll has kept a box tucked away inside her wardrobe. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland mother and baby home in the 1960s. The box contains a notebook holding the details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies’ identity bracelets.

Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision. The information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers, and she decides to post a message on an internet forum. Soon the replies are rolling in, and Katie finds herself returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. She encounters success and failure, heartbreak and joy. But is she prepared for old secrets to be uncovered in her own life?

~ On my bedside table ~

I’m currently reading Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler and I’ll be sharing my review here on 11th March.

Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler

Even the longest marriages have their secrets . . .

Jack Chalmers is a man of few words, married to a woman of many. He and Bet have been together for seventy years – almost a lifetime – and happily so, for the most part.

All Jack and Bet want is to enjoy the time they have left together, in the flat they have tried to make their home. Their son Tommy has other ideas: he wants them to live somewhere with round-the-clock care, hot meals, activities. Bet thinks they can manage just fine.

When they strike up an unlikely friendship with Marinela, a young Romanian woman, Bet thinks she has found the perfect solution – one that could change Marinela’s life as well as theirs. But this means revisiting an old love affair, and confronting a long-buried secret she has kept hidden from everyone, even Jack, for many years.

Tender, moving and beautifully told, Sarah Butler’s Jack & Bet is an unforgettable novel about love and loss, the joys and regrets of a long marriage, and the struggle to find a place to call home.


What books have you been reading and buying this week? Let me know by leaving a reply in the box below.

Until next week, happy reading!

A Week in Books · Advanced Review Copy · Books · Literary Lowdown · Lucy Coleman · Promotional Post · Romantic Novelists Association · Sarah Butler

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 10-16 February 2020

Welcome to this week’s round-up of book life at Sarah’s Vignettes.

Keep scrolling to get the lowdown on what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves, and other bookish delights.

~ On the blog ~

Win 60 books!

As this year is the Romantic Novelists Association 60th Anniversary and this week has been Romance Reading Week, the RNA has launched a group on Facebook to celebrate. The Romantic Fiction Book Club is a warm and cosy place for readers of romantic fiction to engage with other readers, bloggers and authors of romantic fiction, not just those members of the RNA.

The group launched on Valentine’s Day and to mark this the RNA has collaborated with publisher 0ne More Chapter to giveaway 60 romance novels to members of the Romance Fiction Book Club! Once you’ve joined the group, all you need to do is enter the giveaway to be in with a chance to win.

You can find out all about the great books in the giveaway, how to join the Romance Fiction Book Club and enter the giveaway here.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 1 book to my shelf this week.

I’m taking part in a blog tour next month for Jack & Bet, Sarah Butler’s latest novel, which is out in digital and hardback on 5th March 2020. I am really looking forward to reading it. Not only is Sarah Butler a new author to me but also I’m struggling to think of many books I have read with elderly principal characters. I could probably count them on one hand.

Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler

Even the longest marriages have their secrets . . .

Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler

Jack Chalmers is a man of few words, married to a woman of many. He and Bet have been together for seventy years – almost a lifetime – and happily so, for the most part.

All Jack and Bet want is to enjoy the time they have left together, in the flat they have tried to make their home. Their son Tommy has other ideas: he wants them to live somewhere with round-the-clock care, hot meals, activities. Bet thinks they can manage just fine.

When they strike up an unlikely friendship with Marinela, a young Romanian woman, Bet thinks she has found the perfect solution – one that could change Marinela’s life as well as theirs. But this means revisiting an old love affair, and confronting a long-buried secret she has kept hidden from everyone, even Jack, for many years.

Tender, moving and beautifully told, Sarah Butler’s Jack & Bet is an unforgettable novel about love and loss, the joys and regrets of a long marriage, and the struggle to find a place to call home.

~ On my bedside table ~

A Springtime to Remember by Lucy Coleman

I’ve just started reading A Springtime to Remember by Lucy Coleman. Watch out for my review on 5th March.

A Springtime to Remember by Lucy Coleman

Paris and the Palace of Versailles have always meant a lot to TV producer Lexie. Her grandma Viv spent a year there, but her adventures and memories were never discussed, and Lexie has long wondered why they were a family secret. 

When work presents the perfect excuse to spend Springtime in Versailles, Lexie delves into Viv’s old diaries and scrapbooks, and with the help of handsome interpreter Ronan, she is soon learning more about the characters that tend to the magnificent gardens, now and in the past.

In amongst the beauty and splendour of the French countryside, a story of lost love, rivalry and tragedy unfolds.  Can Lexie and Ronan right the wrongs of the past, and will France play its tricks on them both before Lexie has to go home? Will this truly be a Springtime to Remember…

Let Lucy Coleman sweep you away with this perfect feel-good love story.


What books have you been reading and buying this week? Let me know by leaving a reply in the box below.

Until next week, happy reading!

Books · fiction · Giveaway · Other Bookish Things · Promotional Post · Romantic Novelists Association

Would you like to join the #RNA60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Facebook Group and win 60 Romantic Novels from 0ne More Chapter? @RNATweets @0neMoreChapter_ #RomanticFictionBookClub #RomFicBookClub

Happy Romance Reading Week! As it was Valentine’s Day on Friday, it is the perfect week to celebrate romance books.

The Romantic Novelists Association is celebrating it’s 60th anniversary this year and to mark this amazing occasion, the RNA has launched a new Facebook group, the Romantic Fiction Book Club. The group is a warm and cosy place for readers of romantic fiction to engage with other readers, bloggers and authors of romantic fiction, not just those members of the RNA.

What better way to start off the launch than with a competition! Run in conjunction with the publisher 0ne More Chapter, members of the Romantic Fiction Book Club group have the chance to win a fantastic bundle of 60 romantic novels, donated by 0ne More Chapter. There are also 60 runners up prizes of one book from a selection of 60 RNA authors. That a total of 61 prizes up for grabs! That’s great odds to win a book!!

I am going to stop talking now for a couple of minutes so you can take a look at the amazing books up for grabs!

RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition
RNA 60 Romantic Fiction Book Club Valentine's Day Launch Competition

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning these wonderful books is to join the Romantic Fiction Book Club here on Facebook and then enter the One More Chapter and RNA Diamond Anniversary Book Giveaway here.

The competition is running from 14th February until 29th February. Full details of how to enter can be found on the Romantic Fiction Book Club page. Extra entries can be claimed by subscribing to RNA and 0MC social media channels. UK entries only.

Good luck!!

If you’d like to find out more about the Romantic Fiction Book Club and how it came about, RNA author Jane Cable has written this article for Frost Magazine.

A Week in Books · Adele Parks · Anstey Harris · Books · Cathy Kelly · Cecelia Ahern · Elizabeth Buchan · Elizabeth Macneal · Guildford Book Festival · Katherine Center · Lisa Jewell · Literary Lowdown · Richard Roper · Romantic Novelists Association · Stacey Halls · Tracy Chevalier

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 13 Oct 2019

Welcome to this week’s round-up of what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, on social media, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves and other bookish delights. Keep scrolling to get the lowdown, including the introduction of an ad-hoc section.

~ On the blog ~

Shelf Control

I took a break from Shelf Control this week. It’ll be back next week 🙂


The Familiars by Stacey Halls

On Monday, I shared my review for The Familiars by Stacey Halls. It’s a brilliant book!

~ On social media ~

For #ThrowbackThursday, I chose How to Walk Away by Katherine Center.


On Friday, I was chatting with author Rhoda Baxter over on the Romantic Novelists Association (RNA) blog. This was great fun to do! https://romanticnovelistsassociation.org/2019/10/sarah-swan-sarahs-vignettes-blog/

~ On my calendar ~

Adele Parks
Adele Parks

On Tuesday, I went to my local library to hear Sunday Times Bestselling Author, Adele Parks talk about her life, writing and her latest novel Lies, Lies, Lies. She also shared some top tips for any budding writers looking to get published. Adele is such a great speaker, I could listen to her stories for hours!


On Saturday, I went to Guildford Book Festival‘s Readers’ Day. With 7 authors, 1 host and books, books, books, it’s a mini festival in one day.

Tracy Chevalier chatting with Fanny Blake
Tracy Chevalier chatting with Fanny Blake

The day began with a brilliant opening session from Tracy Chevalier. She is a wonderful, fascinating speaker. She spoke with Fanny Blake (our fabulous host for the day) about her inspiration for her latest novel A Single Thread and treated us to a reading from the opening chapter. I am so looking forward to reading this book (find out what A Single Thread is about in the On my bookshelf section below).

From left to right: Fanny Blake, Lisa Jewell, Adele Parks
From left to right: Fanny Blake, Lisa Jewell, Adele Parks

The next session was over to the darker side of fiction and domestic noir with Lisa Jewell and Adele Parks. They both spoke about their latest novels The Family Upstairs and Lies, Lies, Lies and their contrasting writing processes.

From left to right: Fanny Blake, Elizabeth Macneal, Elizabeth Buchan
From left to right: Fanny Blake, Elizabeth Macneal, Elizabeth Buchan

After lunch, it was the turn of the two Elizabeths: Elizabeth Macneal and Elizabeth Buchan, to talk about their books The Doll Factory and The Museum of Broken Promises. I love that Elizabeth Macneal plans out her stories with the aid of a spreadsheet (I organise blog stuff with a spreadsheet!). Elizabeth Buchan shared some eye-opening snippets from her research trips to Berlin and Prague (settings for The Museum of Broken Promises).

From left to right: Fanny Blake, Richard Roper, Anstey Harris
From left to right: Fanny Blake, Richard Roper, Anstey Harris

The final session of the day had the audience laughing out loud. Richard Roper and Anstey Harris were the perfect duo to finish an awesome day with, chatting about their books Something to Live For and The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton, their long journeys to publication and how the titles of both books changed for a US market.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I added 5 books (4 of them signed) to my shelves this week!

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt. Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiancé and her brother and regarded by society as a ‘surplus woman’ unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone.

A new life awaits her in Winchester. Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity. Violet falls in with the broderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral, and is soon entwined in their lives and their secrets. As the almost unthinkable threat of a second Great War appears on the horizon Violet collects a few secrets of her own that could just change everything…

The Museum of Broken Promises by Elizabeth Buchan

The Museum of Broken Promises by Elizabeth Buchan

Paris, today. The Museum of Broken Promises is a place of wonder and sadness, hope and loss. Every object in the museum has been donated – a cake tin, a wedding veil, a baby’s shoe. And each represent a moment of grief or terrible betrayal. The museum is a place where people come to speak to the ghosts of the past and, sometimes, to lay them to rest. Laure, the owner and curator, has also hidden artefacts from her own painful youth amongst the objects on display.

Prague, 1985. Recovering from the sudden death of her father, Laure flees to Prague. But life behind the Iron Curtain is a complex thing: drab and grey yet charged with danger. Laure cannot begin to comprehend the dark, political currents that run beneath the surface of this communist city. Until, that is, she meets a young dissident musician. Her love for him will have terrible and unforeseen consequences. It is only years later, having created the museum, that Laure can make finally face up to her past and celebrate the passionate love which has directed her life.

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

Sometimes you have to risk everything to find your something…

All Andrew wants is to be normal. He has the perfect wife and 2.4 children waiting at home for him after a long day. At least, that’s what he’s told people.

The truth is, his life isn’t exactly as people think and his little white lie is about to catch up with him.

Because in all Andrew’s efforts to fit in, he’s forgotten one important thing: how to really live. And maybe, it’s about time for him to start.

The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris

Grace once had the beginnings of a promising musical career, but she hasn’t been able to play her cello publicly since a traumatic event at music college years ago. Since then, she’s built a quiet life for herself in her small English village, repairing instruments and nurturing her long- distance affair with David, the man who has helped her rebuild her life even as she puts her dreams of a family on hold until his children are old enough for him to leave his loveless marriage.

But when David saves the life of a woman in the Paris Metro, his resulting fame shines a light onto the real state of the relationship(s) in his life. Shattered, Grace hits rock bottom and abandons everything that has been important to her, including her dream of entering and winning the world’s most important violin-making competition. Her closest friends–a charming elderly violinist with a secret love affair of his own, and her store clerk, a gifted but angst-ridden teenage girl–step in to help, but will their friendship be enough to help her pick up the pieces?


I treated myself to Postscript by Cecelia Ahern. It is the sequel to P.S. I Love You and I am intrigued to find out what happens next.

Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

It’s been seven years since Holly Kennedy’s husband died – six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life.

She’s proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry’s letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind.

Reluctantly, Holly begins a relationship with the club, even as their friendship threatens to destroy the peace she believes she has achieved. As each of these people calls upon Holly to help them leave something meaningful behind for their loved ones, Holly will embark on a remarkable journey – one that will challenge her to ask whether embracing the future means betraying the past, and what it means to love someone forever…

~ On my bedside table ~

The Family Gift by Cathy Kelly

I’m currently reading The Family Gift by Cathy Kelly ahead of my stop on the blog tour on 23rd October.


What have you been reading and buying this week? Let me know by leaving a reply in the box below.

Until next week, happy reading!