Published on World Book Day 2020 (5th March), Jack & Bet is a warm, understated, character driven story. It is a moving narrative of finding a sense of identity through home and friendship; and adapting to the moving times and the changes that life throws at us.
It is a poignant, tender portrayal of life, love and marriage with rich, flawed and very real characters.
Jack and Bet are just about to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary; ‘They were having a party, because Bet had insisted.’ Jack, a man of few words is, and always has been devoted to his wife. At almost 90 years old, even though he is getting slower and less stable on his feet, Jack makes sure he goes on a walk every morning:
London was such a rush-about city – everyone would be happier if he stayed at home. But he had his health to think about. Men died before women – he had read the statistics – and he wasn’t about to leave Bet on her own.
Bet is the complete opposite of Jack; she loves to chatter and has always loved excitement and attention. As a girl she thought she’d be a film star, or maybe a ballerina. Her marriage to Jack has not given her the excitement she craved; she has never been able to shake off that sense of disappointment in her husband. Hence Bet feels she has never been a good enough wife to Jack or a good enough mother to their only son Tommy.
Especially as Bet is haunted by a love affair that she had in the early years of their marriage. Please don’t worry, this is not a spoiler!
When Marinela, a 20-something, Romanian women enters their life, old memories are stirred up. Marinela reminds both Bet and Jack of Bet as a younger woman, especially when Marinela reveals her own secrets.
All three characters create a rich tapestry of a story portraying everyday life and relationships. These characters have real depth, which evoked a strong sense of empathy within me. I loved their flaws, faults and vulnerabilities which are vividly expressed throughout the subtle, tender narrative. I was also moved by their love and loyalty for each other.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I love a good character driven story. Jack & Bet is a poignant, character driven story.
Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour to publicise the publication of Jack & Bet. Thank you also to Sarah Butler and Picador Books for the finished copy that I received to review. I am sure you all agree that the cover is absolutely beautiful!
To read the reviews from my fellow book bloggers also on the blog tour, please see below.