Jack and Bet was published by Picador on 5 March 2020.
Jack 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, Jack and 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.
You can get hold of a copy of Jack and Bet from your local bookstore, library or online at bookshop.org (if you buy through this link I get a few extra pennies!).
Some nice things some nice people have said about Jack and Bet:
“A tender, unsentimental exploration of the bittersweet joys of lifelong companionship, beautifully capturing the pangs of ageing and the treacheries of time” Daily Mail
“Full of beauty, pain and joy, I loved Jack & Bet” Laura Barnett, author of The Versions of Us
“A moving yet unsentimental story about family and love and the secrets we live with” Paul McVeigh, author of The Good Son
“With mounting tension, it demonstrates why it’s never too late to have your world turned upside down” Oliver Harris, author of A Shadow of Intelligence
“Seductive and assured, Jack & Bet is a warm, wise and wonderfully defiant exploration of a long marriage and a short-lived experiment in social housing” Emma Claire Sweeney, author of Owl Song at Dawn
“I read Jack & Bet with enjoyment and heartbreak . . . wins its place in the burgeoning writing that shines a spotlight on the lives of over seventies in Britain” Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, author of The First Woman
“I loved Jack & Bet. Butler writes from Jack, Bet and Marinela’s perspectives with such compassion and understanding” Susan Barker, author of The Incarnations
“A fantastic novel – totally absorbing and full of heart” Helen Mort, author of Black Car Burning and No Map Could Show Them