Thursday, 22 February 2018

Emma's Review: Ottercombe Bay: Part Two - Gin and Trouble by Bella Osborne

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

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Many thanks to Avon Books for my copy of Ottercombe Bay: Part Two Gin and Trouble to review via NetGalley and to Sharon for having my review on the blog.

Gin and Trouble, part two in the Ottercombe Bay series by Bella Osborne, may have been a very quick read but it was just what I needed. I had a very small window of reading time and didn't want to get stuck into a full length book, become hooked and then have to put it down. Instead I was able to sit and relax for twenty minutes, half an hour tops and catch up with Daisy Wickens and see how she is dealing with the challenge set by her Great Uncle Reg as outlined in his will. She has to live for a year in Ottercombe Bay before she can fully inherit the old railway station building in the town. To others this wouldn't seem like such an awful thing to have to do but when you have spent years running away from everything for Daisy this is something she doesn't relish. Or even anticipate that at any stage she may actually enjoy herself. She has, she believes, valid reasons for wanting to continue to stay away from the beautiful, picturesque town by the sea.

Events of the past have had a profound impact on her and if it wasn't for Reg's recent death she wouldn't be back at all. She doesn't even contemplate the fact that she might actually start to enjoy herself and as a challenge arises in the form of establishing a new venture at the old railway station maybe Daisy will be drawn far deeper into the waiting arms of Ottercombe Bay than she had ever thought possible. The length of this part in the series was perfect. It wasn't too short that nothing at all could happen and in fact Bella Osborne packed quite a lot in and of course left us with a real cliff hanger that guarantees you will be back for more. Even if that hadn't been there I know I would want to find out what happens in parts three and four because right from the outset I have had a good feeling about this book and as so many questions have arisen and we still don't have any answers, I don't want to be forever wondering what actually did happen and why?

Daisy is definitely a complex character who I still feel is keeping lots hidden. The loss of a very valuable item to her is playing havoc with her emotions and viewpoints and also an event in her past which had such an over riding forbearance on how she deals with the present is there at the back of her mind and now that she is once again on home soil, old feelings, emotions and unease are stirring. She wants to discover the truth as what she has been told surely couldn't have been clear cut. From subtle hints dropped in throughout the story I have a feeling where Daisy's precious item has gone and if proven correct I am wondering does the culprit have a connection with the major event I have alluded to. Small things that may seem not much to anyone else I have picked up on and I think they are important factors that connect to a much bigger picture. Whether I am right remains to be seen and I don't think I will fully know until very near the end of part four.

Normally with books that are split into four parts, I feel there is always that inevitable part that just becomes a filler in, where nothing much happens and the reader is left disappointed and waiting for the next part. Not in this case so far with the Ottercombe Bay series. Where There's a Will... really set the scene and Gin and Trouble has brought things forward, not at too much of a rapid pace but just enough to keep the reader interested and constantly guessing. The storyline moved on and I felt we got to know the characters that little bit better. There was an insight given into their lives, their current situations within the overall story line and a glimpse given as to how things may or may not pan out.

I was delighted to see Daisy coming to some sort of internal agreement with herself. That realistically if I am staying here for a year, I would be better off being pro-active and actually doing something rather than sitting around, moping and not engaging with people or enjoying my time spent in the bay. At the root of it all Daisy is restless and can't sit still for long and when she discovers selling the station is not possible in providing her with the quick fix she wants and that the council have refused several times permission for flats or anything else in its place she knows she has to do something herself. Her idea of a gin bar and a chocolate cabin were pretty clever. After all gin seems to be the drink of choice at the moment with everybody seeming to love it (not for me though I have to say). Her enthusiasm started to come out and I loved how she wanted to keep the character of the station alive in deference to Reg and the people who had used it so many times over the years.

Ottercombe Bay is slowly starting to grow on Daisy, rather more so than she would care to acknowledge and not surprisingly there is male attention to. This has to be present in a book of this nature but thankfully it is not the overriding story line, at least at present. There is a lovely blend between this, the project Daisy has taken on and what is niggling away regarding the past at the back of her mind. Not one of these aspects of the story line is battling for dominance and I hope this vibe continues throughout the two remaining parts. Jason and Max play pivotal roles in Daisy's story. I admit to getting slightly confused between the two but that's really my own fault. Max's personal storyline I think has a much bigger role to play in the future and I am more than keen to see what avenue it will venture down. Tamysn, Daisy's neighbour and friend, is back again but for me she is slightly too in your face, bouncy, faithful and very much like an over excited puppy. I'd love to see her calm it down a bit but that's just my own personal opinion.

I really enjoyed Gin and Trouble- it's shown Daisy is treading on the path of a fresh start, she is focusing on the future but still the puzzles of the past remain and need to be solved. There were two exciting and dramatic developments towards the end and I am eager to see what will happen with these in part three – Raising the Bar which isn't that far around the corner as it being published in April and I will certainly be back to read the continuation of Daisy's story.

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