Below The Big Blue Sky – Anna McPartlin (Rabbit Hayes Book 2)

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.

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?

Meanwhile, Rabbit’s sister Grace is struggling with the knowledge that she carries the same gene that made her sister ill, and Rabbit’s best friend Marjorie is lost, struggling to remain a part of a family she has always wished was her own now that her link to them is gone.

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.

Below a 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.

About the Author:  Hello reader,

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 ‘Under 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.

PS:  If you are not a fan of moderate to severe cursing, best to move on. Either way good luck to you.

PPS:  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

My Review:

I read The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes in March 2016 and honestly I was absolutely BLOWN away and left almost speechless.  Here’s my first review if you don’t believe me “I don’t think anything I write here will do this book justice so all I will say is it is the most moving and charming and exquisite book full of heartbreaking yet wonderfully funny characters and I know that this book will stay with me for a very long time.”  However, re-reading it last week I was able to elaborate more and wrote a more detailed review (Click here for my latest review.)

When I heard almost 4 years later that Anna McPartlin has written the follow up to Rabbit Hayes  I did something I have NEVER, EVER done before.. I re-read the first book purely because I needed to reconnect to Rabbit and her family and I am so glad I did.

Below the Big Blue Sky starts in the hospice where Rabbit has taken her final breath in a bid to catch the “van” leaving her family and friends bereft, heartbroken and trying to cope without her.  Each member of her family and friends have to deal with their grief in their own individual way and whilst it’s raw and heartbreaking to read, it’s also handled with immense sensitivity by the author.

No two people grieve the same and there are no instructions on how to cope after a death in the family so following The Hayes family in their attempt to pick up the pieces and move on without Rabbit is so moving and my heart was literally bursting and breaking throughout the story.

You don’t have to have read book 1 in order to appreciate the characters as the author regularly reminds the reader of previous events, however as book 1 is so brilliant I would strongly recommend you read it first.

It’s always difficult to write a follow up to a successful book because the readers have such high expectations and adore the characters so much.  The pressure on Anna must have been immense – however I can say with absolute certainty that Below the Big Blue Sky lives up to all of my expectations and more… she has brought the Hayes family back into my life, with their colourful language, Molly’s sharp tongue, Jack’s quiet personality, Grace’s guilt and fear for her future, Davey’s determination to do the right thing by his baby sister and everyone else who has been touched and loved by Rabbit during her short life.

I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more and am delighted that Anna decided to #RememberRabbitHayes in such a warm, caring, compassionate way and give the readers the chance to grieve with the family, rejoice and remember Rabbit Hayes.  5 huge stars from me.


Find this book on Amazon