This review is written with thanks to Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read and review Below The Big Blue Sky.
How does a family pick up the pieces, when the one person who held them all together has gone?
Below The 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.
It’s five years since The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes was published, but luckily I only read it a few weeks ago. How those earlier readers have waited so long to be reunited with the Hayes family and their friends, I do not know as I felt bereft after leaving them behind and absolutely delighted to be catching up with them. It did feel like being back amongst friends, and McPartlin has used this opportunity to develop her characters even further very wisely. The characters feel just as authentic this time around and it was interesting, and at times heartbreaking, to see how they were daring without Rabbit.
Once again, McPartlin has struck the perfect balance between sadness and humour, and I immediately felt emotionally involved in this story. I laughed out loud and sobbed in equal measure. I wanted to keep reading at the end of every stave, so that I could spend more time with these characters and make sure everything would be OK for them.
McPartlin also touches on a number of themes throughout Below The Big Blue Sky and it was interesting to see how she tackled them. Alongside grief, she explores religion and faith, sexual assault and family relationships (to name a few) and she does so with incredible sensitivity. I came away from reading this novel with a lot to think about, and again, a great sense of loss that I have to let these characters go.
Below The Big Blue Sky is available from Amazon.