Author and Novelist

Everyone has a book in them, or so it’s said. But I have too many ideas in me for just one. Here are details of the fiction and non-fiction titles I have authored.

An Ocean Apart – a story of Windrush women and a national treasure

Described as Call the Midwife meets Small Island, my first novel, An Ocean Apart (Pan Macmillan), is the story of the Windrush Generation women who helped lay the foundations for the UK’s National Health Service.

A glorious triumph of a book full of characters that feel like real friends, so atmospheric, compelling and nostalgic, I adored it.” Alex Brown, author of A Postcard from Italy

An Ocean Apart follows the lives, loves and adventures of Connie and Ruby Haynes from Barbados, and Billie Benjamin from Jamaica – who journey to Britain to train as nurses in 1954. It is based on the experiences and stories told to me by my mother and her peers, who trained as nurses in the fledgling NHS.

“This is a really clever novel . A beautiful story of friendship, new beginnings and love, which entices you in with characters you immediately care about. Then in the devastating detail, it delivers the damming racism and discrimination that so many migrants faced when they arrived in the Mother Country. It’s a love letter to the women who left behind everything to help heal our country and establish the NHS. At its heart, it’s a story of courage! I could not have loved this more and thought about it long after I turned the last page.” Kate Thompson, author of The Little Wartime Library

My debut novel, An Ocean Apart

Did you know: The Empire Windrush – the first ship to bring people from the Caribbean – docked at Tilbury, in Essex, on June 21, 1948, exactly two weeks before the NHS began?

The experiences and history of the Windrush Generation has not been very well-documented. In fact, the more people I’ve spoken to both while researching An Ocean Apart and later, leading up to its publication, the more I realised how little was known about this significant milestone in 20th century Britain. So it is a joy for me to be able to shed light on the experiences of those who travelled from the Caribbean to here in the post-war years, as British citizens. I felt a considerable weight of responsibility sharing stories of the near half a million people, like my parents, who gave their working lives to building the Britain of the 21st century.

A wonderful story filled with beautiful characters. Oh how I loved this book!

@Turn.Up.For.The.Books, Instagram

The NHS, a vital and much loved service – now considered a national treasure – is just one organisation that benefited from the contributions of not only those early pioneers from the Caribbean; but of people coming to work in Britain from all over the world.

Reviews of An Ocean Apart

Review from WI Life magazine

An Ocean Apart is a relatively light, easy and entertaining read, but Sarah Lee never shies away from weightier themes that add layers of depth. Identity and how we present ourselves to others, race, trauma, secrets and relationships of many kinds weave through the story too. With romance, realism and just a touch of humour, An Ocean Apart is billed as a must for fans of Call the Midwife. I think those who love that television series will love An Ocean Apart too.

Linda Hill, My Weekly: An Ocean Apart is an engaging insight into the Windrush Generation arriving in Britain

Our Man On The Ground: An Ocean Apart – Call The Midwife Meets Small Island
Portobello Book Blog: An Ocean Apart by Sarah Lee
Christian Bookaholic: An Ocean Apart

Heartwarming, atmospheric and engaging, An Ocean Apart is a celebration of the NHS and the remarkable people who were part of its creation.  Perfect for fans of Call the Midwife, I would love to see this get its own TV adaptation and I’m hoping that Ms. Lee will turn this marvellous debut into a series so that I can return to these characters again and again.

Emma’s Biblio Treasures: An Ocean Apart, by Sarah Lee

Stories, opinion pieces and press

My Weekly story

Culturefly: Sarah Lee on giving voice to unspoken histories
Northants Live: Northants author’s Windrush-inspired first book is ‘Call the Midwife meets Small Island’
Northamptonshire Telegraph: Author’s debut novel a love letter to the NHS and the Windrush Generation who helped build it
Portobello Book Blog: Author in the Spotlight

This is a phenomenal novel,  it makes you feel every emotion going. It is stunningly written, and the characters are easy to like.

@Penfoldlayla, Instagram

The Luxury Traveller’s Handbook – liberating luxury for the smart traveller

Penned by myself and my husband, Terry Lee, The Luxury Traveller’s Handbook (Full Flight Press) is a guide to how to travel in luxury for less. Based on the tips we have unearthed ourselves during more than a decade of travel (and those we share on our affordable luxury travel blog, LiveShareTravel) the book is a guide packed full of planning and money-saving tips, but also includes narrative stories to inspire people to explore the world.

The Luxury Traveller’s Handbook