I’m beyond excited to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for Below the Big Blue Sky, the long anticipated sequel to the beautiful, hilarious and moving The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin. Thank you to Tracy Fenton and Zaffre Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book.
About the book:
How do you pick up the pieces when the person that held them together is gone?
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?
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.
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 unexpected of places. Below a Big Blue Sky will make you laugh, cry and shout with joy.
About the author:
I’m an Irish novelist and a TV scriptwriter. Currently with 7 fiction titles available to buy online and one children’s title under the name Bannie McPartlin. As of August 2019 I’ve just finished writing ‘Below The Big Blue Sky,’ the follow up to international best selling title ‘The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes.’ This title will be published by Bonnier Zaffer and will be available UK &I IRE and amazon Summer 2020.
My previous short incarnation as a stand-up comedian left an indelible mark. I’m described by all who know me as a slave to the joke and my work focuses on humour and humanity in even the darkness situations.
So if you’d like to take a trip to the dark side and if you are a fan of big, bold characters check out my titles and I hope you enjoy.
If you are not a fan of moderate to severe cursing, best to move on. Either way good luck to you.
I dabble in twitter but often forget it’s there (@annamcpartlin). I’m better on Facebook but not brilliant Anna McPartlin and I really giving it a good old go on instagram #Trying (mcpartlin.anna) and my website is annamcpartlin.com.
Anna McP XXX
As someone who adored The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes I was overjoyed when I heard that Anna McPartlin had written a sequel to her much loved book, although I do have to admit to feeling a little bit worried that it wouldn’t be able to live up to the pure perfection of its predecessor. But I needn’t have worried as Anna McPartlin has done it again! Below the Big Blue Sky is (in my humble opinion) even better than the first book.
Although a sequel to The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes, Below the Big Blue Sky could easily be read as a standalone. It begins directly after the last book ends, which is with the passing of forty year old Rabbit Hayes after a long battle with breast cancer. We are instantly drawn back into the lives of the wonderful Hayes family as they begin the process of mourning their loss.
We have Molly, Rabbit’s larger than life mother, who begins to question her faith in God after the loss of her youngest daughter. With her colourful language and side splitting Irish humour, Molly will have you howling with laughter one moment and then crying with emotion the next.
Then there’s Jack, Rabbit’s distraught father, who ‘goes out to lunch’ by hiding away in the attic and losing himself in his memories of the past as he pores over his old diaries of happy times gone by, talking to his beloved Rabbit as if she is still there.
Rabbit’s brother Davey finds himself as guardian to her twelve year old daughter, Bunny (now only wanting to be known as Juliet) after promising Rabbit he would take care of her after she was gone. But how is Davey going to be able to help Juliet come to terms with the loss of her mother, when he can barely cope with his own loss as it is?
And then there’s Grace, Rabbit’s older sister, who as well as struggling to come to terms with her grief, is doing her best to look after her husband and four sons, all at the same time as having to cope with a decision that has the potential to change her life forever.
Below the Big Blue Sky is a beautifully written story that draws you back into the lives of the Hayes family as if you had never been away. It feels like coming home, almost like slipping into a pair of comfy slippers at the end of a long day, as you find yourself caught up in their lives, feeling every emotion right alongside Molly and her family. And even though she is no longer with them Rabbit is still very much present throughout, her voice a constant companion to her family as they slowly begin to navigate their way through their ‘new normal’.
How is it even possible to do this beautiful, moving, often hilarious, but always emotionally satisfying book justice? Anna McPartlin brings the Hayes family so vividly to life you feel as if you really know them. I felt bereft as I turned the last page of this warm, at times heartachingly sad, but ultimately uplifting story.
Below the Big Blue Sky is the story of a family as they try to come to terms with an unbearable loss, each dealing with it in their own individual way. It’s about learning to live with grief and, eventually, finding the strength to move forward with your life, at the same time as keeping your loved one’s memory alive in your heart. But most of all it’s a very real, very human story of hope and how the love of those around you can help you through even the most testing of times.
I honestly can’t praise this book highly enough. Anna McPartlin is an extraordinarily gifted story teller and I can’t wait to read whatever she comes up with next.
Below the Big Blue Sky by Anna McPartlin is available to purchase now: Amazon UK
Check out what these other lovely bloggers have to say about this fabulous book: