• Reviews of Starling

  • “Shimmering, immersive descriptions of nature instantly conjure up the world of teenage nomad Starling. … The tension between community and ecology helps propel a memorable coming-of-age novel.”
    Hephzibah Anderson, The Observer
    “Butler’s writing is a joy, effortlessly moving from detailed nature observations to sharp dialogue … Touching on multiple aspects of belonging, whether within a community or in nature, this is a thoughtful book which stays with you for days.”
    Anne Hill, Sussex Life
    “A beautifully written debut. Sarah Jane Butler explores the challenges of treading lightly in this modern world, the power of community and the process of recovering from difficult mothering.”
    Katherine May, author of Wintering
    “A beautiful tale of wandering and searching, full of gorgeous nature writing that illuminates our complex and varied relationships with the natural world. Starling reminds us that there are many ways to be free and wild, and we must find our own.”
    Zoe Gilbert, author of Mischief Acts
    Starling is both a hymn to the English landscape and an exploration of what it takes to live together and apart. Sarah Jane Butler writes with a visceral lyricism; she doesn’t so much observe the natural world as plunge us into its ditches, woods and rivers. A profound, gripping and deeply humane story about the choices we make in relation to the land and each other.”
    Judith Heneghan, author of Snegurochka
    Starling is a love letter to the natural world, a celebration of the threads that bind us to the land and to each other.”
    Peggy Riley, author of Amity & Sorrow
    Every once in a while, I find a book I know is going to get 5 stars from me within the first few chapters. Starling is one of them. The detailed descriptions of the countryside made me feel like I was out walking past battered hedgerows and over streams. Food descriptions had me salivating and now I must find a recipe for raspberry flapjacks. I could smell woodsmoke, grass and foxes. Starling is one of my new favourite fictional people. I want to be her friend. The storytelling is clever and the characters are all strong and well developed. Butler makes her novel so visually descriptive, it’s almost like watching something on the screen. I’m honoured to have had an ARC but will be buying a copy when it gets published It is, to put it simply, exquisite. I would 100% recommend that you get yourself a copy.
    @bookishsam71 on Instagram
    Reading Starling was like stepping into a beautifully overgrown and abandoned garden: it fills you with longing and nostalgia. The story within the pages submerges you amongst the natural world: it depicts the beauty and simplicity of nature. At the core of Starling is its discussion about the blending of the natural world with the material world and the sometimes harsh divide between rural and urban; whether they can coexist. Books that delve into the natural word always strike a cord with me: nature is a profound entity that can be explored as friend or foe and Starling encapsulates that. We see Starling battling with herself when she embraces more ‘traditional’ and materialistic ways of living and her guilt of leaving her life within nature, Mar, and the camper van behind. Starling as a character was brilliantly written and crafted; her character development throughout the book’s journey was a delight to read. Through her story we learn of the ways we can be untrammelled and free in our twenty-first century society – we have to find what brings us peace and happiness. Butler’s lyrical writing portrays themes of: love, friendship, betrayal, nature, environment, and so forth. Starling is testament to finding joy in the little things in life; how fragile and delicate life can be; the importance of community and friendship. It’s a delightful, cosy, and fulfilling read. I couldn’t put it down. A huge thank you to @fairlightbooks for sending me a proof copy of this gorgeous book! It’s being published on 29th September 2022. Perfect for any nature enthusiasts, lovers of character-driven stories, or anyone who wants a heartwarming read.
    @Livslittlereads on Instagram
    A beautiful, powerful story of life, loss and journeying. I loved Starling and read it over two greedy days. The author writes with such simple elegance and attention to detail, that I had to stop countless times to reread the beautiful language – ‘the high sky held a handful of light’, ‘she measured out words carefully as though she and Starling were running out of sounds’. This, on almost every page. I was beckoned into the woods and fields of the story with the opening lines and held there until I put the book down. The plot unfolded at just the right pace, allowing me to hope that things would turn out for the better, but surprising me, for good and ill, when I least expected it. The story is one of loneliness, fear and uncertainty but also of friendship, hope and longing. It gave me a strong sense of the power of the land; of the strength of community; of both the ingenuity and hardships of a nomadic life. Out at the end of September, Starling is the perfect, atmospheric read for the last quarter of the year. I loved it and would highly recommend it as a deeply thought provoking, beautifully written and satisfying story.
    Deborah J on NetGalley
    I awoke early one morning a couple of weeks ago. The air was fresh and the world was still asleep. I felt restless. I popped the kettle on and watched the sunrise. I opened this book. I started to read. For the last few months I have relied heavily on audiobooks. But I cannot express to you how delightful it was to be reading a physical book again. I couldn’t have chosen a better book to enjoy – sitting outside listening to the dawn chorus. The rhythm of nature surrounding me, matched the pace of Starling. As time slipped away, pink skies turn to blue. I was totally immersed in Starling’s life and the natural world. Starling by Sarah Jane Butler. My Thoughts. Let’s take a moment to admire the gorgeous book cover. Cover design and illustration by @jbwlewis The exquisite artwork – reflects the beauty of the words on the pages. It’s a tale of nature, wandering, searching, love and belonging. Starling is a restless soul – longing for her own journey and to be free. She is a wonderful character. This is not a tale of glamorous “van life” or “nomadic life” It’s a raw story of living an alternative lifestyle – in harmony with the natural world. Every page is a joy to read and made me open my eyes a little wider. I truly appreciate that I live so close to nature myself now. I know so many of you will enjoy it as much as I did. Publication Date – 29th September 2022. Save this post if you like the sound of the book – you won’t be disappointed.
    @slowlane.bookworm on Instagram