Did I Mention I Won the Lottery and Did I Mention I was getting Married by Julie Butterfield


This book poses a fascinating question: what would you do if you won the lottery? There is certainly something about having a massive, sudden input of money that makes for a great story, and the author here has made the most of the answer. She has also succeeded in creating some memorable characters, including one who needs to be sorted out throughout the book, and the reader gets thoroughly caught up in not only the action, but also the emotions of the protagonist. It is a well written book, which provokes thought around the question of how to react in certain circumstances, and also has some entertaining surprises. I was delighted to receive this book for review.

Rebecca Miles is a woman who is fed up with her life. She works part time in a Deli, her best friends are in another place, her children both at University. Her greatest problem is her husband, Daniel. Controlling, inattentive and verbally abusive, he had unilaterally decided to move them to a house with no character where Rebecca feels she has no part. Then she is amazed to discover that she has won several million pounds on the lottery. Until it is confirmed she panics, carries the ticket everywhere, and generally tries to carry on as normal. This is the great strength of the book; she behaves in a realistic, believable way. When confirmed, the money is in some ways helpful, as she develops a separate life from her horrible husband. Daniel is quite the creation; overbearing, boorish and nearly unbearable. Secrets and lies abound as a double life of normal, mundane and secrets continues, as Rebecca tries to decide how best to deal with her substantial win. Not that this is a book of lottery winners’ tales in isolation; both the plot and the characters  feel real and sharply defined, even to the minor characters whose contributions help to build up a convincing picture.

I really enjoyed this book. There are points of repetition when the lead characters repeat their behaviour or speeches, but essentially it is a good novel for relaxing with, never making huge demands on the reader. I recommend it as a perceptive book on an approachable level, which is far from the usual romance but presents its own challenges. This book is worth a read for its characters, its plot and simply because it asks, and answers, a question of modern life in a most satisfying way.

Romantic comedy with a definite twist, this sequel to “Did I Mention I Won the Lottery would probably work as a standalone novel, if only because the author repeats many of the facts from the first book. As in the other book, Butterfield has created some memorable characters; Rebecca, her horrible husband Daniel, and now introduces another pretty terrible character as well as exploring her daughter Sarah’s character in greater depth. While there is a dash of romance here, the central plot is about another practical project for Rebecca, and what that means for her life as she becomes more accustomed to her large financial means. After enjoying the first book, I was really pleased to tackle this novel which I received for review.

Rebecca is now getting used to her lottery win of two years before and the lovely home she has created. Into this idyllic setting erupts Annabelle, seemingly determined to claim part of the luxury lifestyle. While dealing with this shock Sarah, Rebecca’s daughter, announces her own engagement. While delighted for her daughter in many ways, new problems emerge for Rebecca as she feels her own life needs a huge change. While seeking a new partner, she must fight off the all machinations of the terrible Annabelle, a terrifically well drawn character with breath-taking cheek, and deal with Sarah’s hopes for her special day. She is accidentally drawn to a lovely building which is crying out for help, and with her characteristic drive she makes dramatic plans for its sympathetic transformation. Predictably not everything goes to plan, as Butterfield once again brings her skills in creating characters and situations of such a realistic nature that it becomes a compelling read.

While this book contains more romance than the first, this is not a straightforward love story. It is funny, satirical and so detailed in its descriptions of the fortunes of Rebecca that there is much to recognise. Enjoyable, reassuring and well written, this is a book to savour in so many ways, satisfying and relatable in its humour and plot, sharp in its dealing with certain character. Recommended.

So two books, and two book reviews. Phew! I do like reviewing a variety of books – if only because there will be something for every one on this blog. Some books are easier to read than others, and sometimes it is tougher to keep up. February has lots of blog tours, but I am trying to reduce the number of books I am reviewing to a particular date. Meanwhile, remember that there is no such thing as too many books – just not enough bookshelves….