Cover Image: Stepping Up

Stepping Up

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

The debut novel by The Unmumsy Mum AKA Sarah Turner did not disappoint. A page-turner dealing with themes of loss; it was sad, but heartwarming. The romantic aspect was predictable, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book. The characters were well-written and relatable. Highly recommend this as an uplifting, easy-to-read, hug of a book.
Was this review helpful?
I love it! I started this book in need of a feel good pick me up and was faced with a tragedy! However, despite the trauma and unusual setting for a romance, this book definitely did deliver the feel good vibe. 

I loved the characters of Beth, Arthur and Jory. The characters are so believable and the story has a perfect balance of tragedy and humour. Beth’s parents are great for adding a comedy value, and I just wanted to take Arthur home and start a text conversation with him. 

A brilliant read that on one hand is a light hearted love story but on the other is also a real look at family, responsibility, love, growing up and all that life can throw at you.
Was this review helpful?
Beth would be the first to admit her life isn't ideal: early thirties, single, living at home, a string of abandoned jobs behind her. But it's hers, and it's comfortable. And it's completely uprooted when, following a tragic accident, Beth finds herself the guardian of her sister's children. Emmy might have thought Beth was up to the task of looking after a teenager and a toddler, but Beth, and her mum, aren't so sure. Will this be another things she quits, or can she step up and take care of those she loves? 

I've been a fan of Sarah Turner and her Unmumsy Mum blog since I had my first daughter, and as soon as Stepping Up was announced I knew I needed to read it. 

Despite the subject being very different to her blog posts, Stepping Up still has Turner's warm, funny style, offering a realistic depiction of bringing up children. 

Secrets, problems with communication, and struggling to properly empathise with others all cause plenty of drama over the course of this story and I found it hard to put down. 

I'd expected to laugh, a lot, what I hadn't expected was how emotional this book would be! Stepping Up is a thoughtful and sensitive exploration of grief and loss. And it's definitely going to encourage me to have that difficult discussion about wills that I've been putting off. 

I loved Beth and was rooting for her from the very beginning. Albert, Emmy's elderly neighbour, was another highlight, and was a delight every time he appeared on the page with his shouty text messages and gentle encouragement. 

This book really is a joy and I'll be recommending it to everyone I know.
Was this review helpful?
What a great book, I was crying, laughing, laughing and crying, it was a real surprise, the characters were well written and very believable, put your feet up and enjoy
Was this review helpful?
I totally loved this book! Such a nice and easy read whilst also being incredibly good at evoking emotions whilst having a pop of humour too! This is the type of book I could totally imagine being turned into a binge-worthy series! Albert is an absolute gem, as is Ted. Polly and Beth’s journey of grief is totally realistic and of course the lovely Jory is brilliant!
Was this review helpful?
I read this in one lazy Saturday. I laughed and i cried. Such a sad story but shows the pulling together of a family in hard times. Beth, the irresponsible single aunt, has to take responsibility for teenage Polly and toddler Ted when their parents are involved in a fatal car accident. But where were they going, and why does Polly think it's her fault? So much to unravel, but such a lovely close family. Full of misunderstanding - Beth's mum always criticises her and it's lovely to see them reach an understanding. Seeing Beth develop a relationship with the elderly neighbour is pure magic. A touching, normal family. #netgalley #steppingup
Was this review helpful?
Oh wow, I genuinely loved this story. Everything about it was just fantastic. The premise, the characters, the journey they take, the smiles, the tears. Just a beautiful story all around.

Beth begins the story as a bit of a mess, a lovely girl who is unable to look after herself let alone other people so when she is thrust into becoming the guardian for her niece and nephew she understandably struggles. However as the title suggests she steps up and despite making (quite a few) mistakes along the way she learns so much about herself.  I loved her personality, the banter and wit she had. Despite the situation being anything but funny. I warmed to her so much.

The other characters were amazing too, I LOVED Albert, what a great friendship they had. The torment Polly felt, the innocence of Ted. I admit I got very cross with her mum at times and wanted to have a strong word with her!! I loved the relationship with Jory but I also appreciated that it wasn't the main storyline. There were so many more important parts of Beth's life that were addressed in the book.

Thankyou Sarah Turner for writing such a gorgeous book which had me laughing and crying in equal measure.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for my copy of the book via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.

I was really excited to see that Sarah had written a fiction novel, I had the pleasure of interviewing her back when The Unmumsy Mum book first came out and she came along to Exeter Library with two of her boys.

Stepping Up is the story of Beth who has never really found her way in life she has been in and out of work and her family accept that this is who she is a bit of disaster. She has a long term friend Jory who has always been there for her along with her sister Emmy and brother in law Doug.

After an accident, everything changes for Beth and she is faced with bringing up her teenage niece Polly and young Nephew Ted. The relationships in this book are so well written and so realistic, Beth and her mother have a fractious relationship and she really feels the scrutiny now as the guardian of her sisters children.

I really felt for Beth she is kind hearted and is really dropped into being parent from a great height, Polly a teenager with her own issues and guilt and Ted is just a little boy who doesn’t really understand what has happened to his family. The book packs an emotional punch but also has Sarah’s humour and has a real feeling of hope as the family all navigate their grief and how they will all carry on with life. Beth is also dealing with her best friend Jory starting a new relationship and the loss she feels from this.

The characters are warm and I loved the developing relationship with Beth and Emmy’s elderly neighbour Albert which was so touching as Albert is also learning to life without his beloved wife.

I loved the story, I read it really quickly and I really felt like I grew to know the family and was firmly behind Beth as she navigates the biggest challenge of her life. An emotional, but uplifting read that sensitively deals with a really tragic event but is also funny warm and hopeful.

A 5 star debut *****
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for my earc of this book! This was a brilliant book written with so much intelligent emotion and realistic characters. All the characters felt so 3-dimensional and I loved all of the interactions between them. At times frustrating and maddening and upsetting, just like real life.
This book made me want to hug my loved ones.
Was this review helpful?
This one's a bit of tearjerker. There's predictable little side plots here and there, but on the whole there's a healthy amount of humour to stop it descending into mawkishness.
Was this review helpful?
This was a cracking read, hard to put down and a page turner all the way to the end. The main character was very relatable and it was easy to identify with her personal and family struggles.
Was this review helpful?
When Life is Changed in an Instant 4.5*
A sensitively written story of grief, friendship, love, family, personal growth and hope. I couldn’t put this book down and read in one sitting, at times emotional and at others comedic this is a book well worth reading. The characters were delightful and I felt invested in their stories and was quite sad when it all came to an end.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Beth hasn't quite sorted put her life as she expected she should have by her 30s - she is still living at home, still single, still waiting on the perfect job. She does have the perfect friend - Jory, and a wonderful family. Then, tragedy strikes and she is catapulted into a world in which she must take on responsibility- guardianship to young children and taking on a daily routine that puts others' needs first. It is a massive leap and Beth (and her parents) wonder if she is up to the job. Stepping Up to the plate will mean big changes and digging deep to find an inner strength she isn't sure she possesses. An emotional and heartfelt read. #SteppingUp #SarahTurner #Netgalley
Was this review helpful?
Beth has never stuck at anything for very long, other than a commitment to leaving jobs at the drop of a hat and living with her parents at the grand old age of 30... This all changes when her beloved sister Emmy and her brother-in-law Doug are involved in a car accident and Beth becomes legal guardian to their children; her teenage niece and three-year-old nephew. What follows is a journey of discovery for everyone but most of all for Beth. 

I have followed Sarah under her Instagram pseudonym The Unmumsy Mum for a few years and knew she'd written a couple of non-fiction books so was intrigued to see how her first fiction novel would go. Stepping Up is a lovely story of someone who is coasting through life and doesn't really give herself any credit meeting the challenges that life throws at her with grit and determination - and several glasses of wine thrown in for good measure! Sarah's trademark gentle humour comes through in the prose and some of the scenarios Beth found herself in did make me laugh! 

The humour is carefully balanced with some really tender moments between Beth and her niece, Polly that made me tear up! I also loved the relationship that developed between Beth and her elderly neighbour, Albert and shows that friendship at all ages is a beautiful thing. The love story that wound its way through the story was sweet but I don't think it necessarily brought more to the narrative - the story of a family coming to terms with grief and navigating "a new normal" was more interesting to me (but I am not the biggest fan of "romance" novels!!). 

This novel was a warm, cosy and uplifting read and hit all the right notes. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes, Giovanna Fletcher and Abigail Mann.
Was this review helpful?
This book really surprised me at how good it was, I admit I didn’t have high hopes, but this was brilliant. Recommend. 

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This was one hell of an emotional rollercoaster. Telling the story of Beth, a thirty-one-year-old woman still living at home, drifting from job to job, who suddenly has to 'step up' when her sister and brother-in-law are involved in a fatal accident. Named as their children's guardian, Beth must navigate a toddler and a teenager's grief, while coming to terms with her own. 

I really liked Beth. She's clearly out of her depth at the start of the story, with few domestic life skills, but as the book progresses we begin to understand how she's got to thirty-one without really learning any. While well-meaning, her mum is the type who does everything because she likes it done 'her way'. That's not to excuse Beth. She herself admits that she's always been a bit lazy, and lacking in direction. But her mum's constant critiques are enough to put anyone off trying. As the story progresses, I felt more and more emotional and consequently, emotionally invested. Beth is fallible and real. She barely got any credit for how much she immediately took on for most of the story. She slept on a sofa for almost a year, and she's suddenly thrown into parenting two children without the benefit of years of practice. While some of her slip-ups are because she's a bit forgetful, it's really hard not to empathise and root for her.

Meanwhile, I knew Jory was something special from the second chapter. Anyone who knows you THAT well, is THAT tuned into your needs in a crisis is definitely keeping something much deeper back, even if they have to navigate several miscommunications to get there. And, while the romance is ultimately secondary to the family drama, it is no less integral to the overall story, with a satisfying conclusion.

Look, I cried a LOT reading this. But I also laughed a lot. Many of these two emotions came from Beth's interactions with Ted, her four-year-old nephew, and with Albert, her sister's octogenarian neighbour. Beth and Albert's friendship is so pure that when things temporarily went a bit awry, it literally broke my heart and I couldn't stop sobbing. To me, that's the measure of a great writer. I would dearly love to catch up with this extended family in the future and see what happens to certain people *hint hint, no spoilers*

*Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to leave an honest review*

Overall Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤
Heat Rating: 🔥
Emotional Rating: 😢😢😢💔😂😂🥰🥰🥰

Favourite Quote (Look, there are lots of poignant moments but if you know, you know, so don't judge me!)

'...the suggested cooking time on an oven chip packet is the greatest lie ever told.'

Was this review helpful?
I absolutely love Sarah and have followed her on facebook since my eldest was little and has her first book The Unmumsy Mum so knew when I saw she had written a fiction book that I would need to read it! 

Well I wasn't disappointed, Beth is amazing, she is the perfect main character - so relatable and I was totally invested in her journey. 

The story had me laughing & crying while reading, the conclusion to the story was absolutely perfect but I was so sad to be at the end of the book as I enjoyed it so much I wanted it to keep going. 

100% reccomend!!
Was this review helpful?
I'm a huge fan of Sarah Turner as The Unmumsy Mum, a hilarious and relatable blogger who has written several non-fiction books about parenting. 

I really enjoy her writing style and sense of humour, so was really excited to hear she was releasing a novel. I didn't care what it was about - I knew I had to read it! 

I originally picked it up thinking it would be a light and fun experience (and a break from the awfulness of the world at the moment) - but had to put it down briefly when the main character, Beth, experiences an awful life-changing event at the start of the book. I realised I would need to buckle up as this was actually going to be a very emotional read!

In the end, although it's tough at times, this is actually a really hopeful, and often fun, reading experience. Beth is an extremely relatable character for me as a woman who also grew up in the 90s - the music references were very fun! It's an extremely powerful story about the importance of family and the support we get from friends when we need it. 

Overall I really recommend this book - I experienced EVERY emotion possible whilst reading this and I'm so glad I picked it up. An incredible first novel, but it's no surprise as Sarah is a great writer.
Was this review helpful?
When I got this book I was expecting a light hearted read. What I got instead was a book filled with heartbreak. 

Beth is a 30 year old woman who has always been known to quit at everything. Then one day her sister and brother in law are in an accident and she suddenly has a teenager and toddler to take care of.

This book is a story of how your responsibilities change when your life is suddenly turned upside down. She is dealing with having 2 kids to look after as well as herself, a mum who appears to be waiting for her to make a mistake, a best friend who she distances herself from and her job

This was amazingly written and hit me right in the heart from the very beginning, by the end I was crying. I definitely hope that Sarah writes more novels as if she does I will definitely be picking them up!
Was this review helpful?
A feel good read that kept me turning pages to find out how life would turn out for this family after the accident that changed all their lives in a flash....
Was this review helpful?