A Week in Books · Anstey Harris · Beth Morrey · Book events · Book Hauls · Books · Caroline Scott · Catherine Issac · Christina Pishiris · Holly Hepburn · Literary Lowdown · Lucy Coleman · Milly Johnson · Paige Toon · Santa Montefiore · Sara-Ella Ozbek · Sarah Butler

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 9-15 March 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. I hope you find some books here to escape with.

~ On the blog ~

On Tuesday 3rd March, I went to Simon & Schuster’s Spring Blogger Evening. This was my first blogger event at Simon & Schuster and SJ and her team really know how to put on a showcase!

There were perfectly themed cupcakes, a quiz, flat lays, author pitches and Q&As, author 2 truths and one lie (what is said at a Blogger Evening, stays at a Blogger Evening!), and good merchandise. We got to hang out with the authors, get our proofs signed and mingle. This week I wrote a blog post about the evening, the authors and their books.


Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler

On Wednesday, I shared my review of Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler. is a heartwarming story with kindness at it’s core and I am glad that I got a chance to read it.

~ On my bookshelf ~

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

SJ at Simon & Schuster sent us a link to download Paige Toon’s upcoming novel: The Minute I Saw You . It’s not out until May 14th so I feel privileged to already have a copy to read and review.

The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon

Some people believe that it’s possible to fall in love simply by gazing into another person’s eyes . . .

When Hannah and Sonny meet, a spark ignites that is hard to ignore and impossible to forget. Weeks later, their paths cross again, but Sonny appears distant and reluctant to meet Hannah’s eye. It soon transpires that Sonny is at a crossroads. He’s committed to making serious life changes – ones that can’t and won’t include romance.

Hannah has her own reasons for wanting to keep their budding friendship platonic. Plus, she’s only in town temporarily, housesitting for her uncle. But as the summer hots up and the chemistry between them intensifies, Hannah and Sonny discover that there’s more to each other than meets the eye…


I’ve heard a lot of good things about Saving Missy by Beth Morrey so I could resist no longer when I went to the supermarket yesterday!

Saving Missy by Beth Morrey

Saving Missy by Beth Morrey

Missy Carmichael’s life has become small.

Grieving for a family she has lost or lost touch with, she’s haunted by the echoes of her footsteps in her empty home; the sound of the radio in the dark; the tick-tick-tick of the watching clock.

Spiky and defensive, Missy knows that her loneliness is all her own fault. She deserves no more than this; not after what she’s done. But a chance encounter in the park with two very different women opens the door to something new.

Another life beckons for Missy, if only she can be brave enough to grasp the opportunity. But seventy-nine is too late for a second chance. Isn’t it?

~ On my bedside table ~

Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman

I finished reading Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman last night and I’ll be sharing my review here on 27th March. Doesn’t that cover just make you smile?! 🙂

Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman

Is a change as good as a rest?

When married couple Fern and Aiden have a windfall, their reactions could not be more different. While Fern is content to pay off their mortgage and build a nest egg before starting a family, her husband is set on traveling the world.

Fern’s not much of a back-packer so, before she knows it, the idea of a ‘marriage gap year’ takes shape. And, as Aiden heads off to the wilds of Australia, Fern chooses the more restful Provence for her year out.

Set amidst the glorious French scenery, Château de Vernon offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of normal life, and Fern agrees to help out in return for painting lessons from the owner – renowned, but rather troubled, painter Nico.

As their year unfolds in very different ways, will the time apart transform their marriage, or will it drive Fern and Aiden even further apart…

Let Lucy Coleman whisk you off on a heart-warming, sun-drenched and magical French adventure.


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!

Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · fiction · Review Copy · Reviews · Sarah Butler

A Sarah’s Vignettes Book Review: Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler (@SarahButler100) ~ @PicadorBooks ~ @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour

I am thrilled to be sharing my review of Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler with you today.

My thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour and to Picador for sending me a copy of the book in return for my honest review.

Before I share my review with you, here is what Jack & Bet is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

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.

~ My thoughts ~

I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting from Jack & Bet but I didn’t anticipate it being so emotional. I feel like I should have realised it could be with two 90 year olds as the main characters but this one caught me. I really enjoyed it though.

Jack and Bet Chalmers are celebrating 70 years together. Their son, Tommy, wants them to move into a home but they want to stay in their flat in Elephant & Castle, London. When they meet Marinella, a student from Romania, Bet thinks they have found the perfect solution. However, for Bet, this means unearthing a secret that has long been buried.

The story is told from 3 points of view: Jack, Bet and Marinella. I liked how this gave the perspective of the past and the future. For a shorter novel, 256 pages, the depth of detail into each character’s story is impressive. It would have been good to have had some of the story from Tommy’s point of view though as I found it hard to warm to him.

Sarah Butler explores many themes in Jack & Bet including: long-term marriages, past lives, how we don’t always communicate with those we love when we have been with them for a long time, jealousy, society’s view of old people, how old people view the world, grief, loss, love, role reversal between parents and children, the relationship that we have with properties. The later one is an interesting one. Jack and Bet moved into their current flat after the block of flats they were in previously is being knocked down. They haven’t really settled into the new one, even though they have been there for a few years. Their old flat holds so many memories for them and both Jack and Bet are naturally reflective about it.

Jack & Bet is a heartwarming story with kindness at it’s core and I am glad that I got a chance to read it.

~ Where to find Jack & Bet ~

Jack & Bet cover

Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler was published in Hardback by Picador in the UK on 5 March 2020. It can be found in all good bookshops as well at Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

~ About Sarah Butler ~

Sarah Butler

Sarah Butler is the acclaimed author of two previous novels, Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love and Before the Fire. Her writing has been translated into fourteen languages. She is also the author of a novella, Not Home, written in conversation with people living in unsupported temporary accommodation. Sarah is a part-time lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and lives in Manchester with her family.

~ Follow the tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other stops on the Jack & Bet blog tour!

Jack and Bet Blog tour poster
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!