Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler ★★★☆☆
Published : 5th March 2020
Publisher : Picador
Format : Kindle, Paperback, Hardback, Audio
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
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.
Thank you Picador for this hardback copy and Anne Cater for this blog tour spot.
This was such a sweet, uplifting but heartfelt story. Jack & Bet tells a story about love, secrets, marriage and friendship.
Told over three perspectives Jack, Bet and Marinela and over the span from past to present. Jack and Bet have been happily married for seventy years, they have a child Tommy and have shared a long life together. Jack is a man of few words, whereas Bet is the total opposite, but where opposites attract these two are made for each other.It has not always been perfection and a long time ago in the beginning of there life together something happened that was tucked away and forgotten, but secrets fester and never stay hidden for long. Jack meets a Romanian woman called Marinela, a young student from Romania in a cafe one day and the three pair up an unlikely friendship.
I loved these characters so much, I have such a soft spot for the elderly and these two just wanted to live out there days together, in there own home in peace, whereas there son Tommy has other ideas. He wants them safely tucked up in sheltered accommodation regardless of what they want.
This book really made me feel quite sad in parts, especially as the elderly generation tend not to be listened to and treated like they need all there decisions made for them, even in the kindest of intentions.
It would have been nice to have had a couple of chapters thrown in there from Tommys perspective but as a whole it was a really lovely, sometimes quite sad read.
In saying this though, the story also strongly points out that no marriage is perfect, we all have our secrets and that to make a happy marriage work there needs to be forgiveness and compromise.
I highly recommend this one for your tbr.
Meet the author
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.
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