Thursday, 12 April 2018

Emma's Review: Ottercombe Bay: Part Three - Raising the Bar 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 UK via NetGalley for my copy of Ottercombe Bay: Part Three: Raising the Bar to review and to Sharon for having my review on the blog.

Raising the Bar, part three in Bella Osborne's Ottercombe Bay series, although not the most action packed does see the story progressing along nicely as we edge ever closer to the finale. When we last left Daisy Wickens she was in a precarious situation to say the least and even though it was extremely dangerous the reader sensed that things had to turn out OK given there was a further two parts to come in the story. Her knights in shining armour come to the rescue and she can return to the business of getting the gin bar/hot chocolate cabin up and running.

Daisy has come a long way from the reluctant woman who returned to Ottercombe Bay under duress. Although beneath the now more positive attitude and work ethic she is displaying there is always a sense that she is biding her time and all this is but a mere stop gap. After all, she only did promise to remain for a year so she could get her inheritance and move on, travel and see the world. Daisy has always been running since that life changing event in her past and this is a plan she is keen to stick to. But will Ottercombe Bay, its residents, the gin bar and the friends she is further strengthening her bond with begin to have that magic affect that might make her change her mind and stay?

The issue of the bats as arose in part two is quickly solved and plans are now full steam ahead to get the bar open in time and get it turning a profit so Daisy can repay her Aunt Coral whom she is staying with. I loved Aunt Coral as a character, she could see the longer term picture and how things could be good for Daisy if she stayed but yet she never put pressure or forced opinions on Daisy. I think she was wise and played her cards well but also knew when would be the appropriate time to step in. The star of the show had to be Bug the dog who gets up to such antics that have Daisy cursing and the reader laughing out loud. Although I think she might be warming up to him just like a certain someone.

Up to now I was unsure as to who the actual love interest for Daisy might prove to be. I'll admit I was becoming confused between the two main male characters but the lines were not as blurred here with distinct lines between the pair in place. I understood Daisy's reluctance to want to delve deeper and explore the feelings that were stirring given her longer term goal of selling the bar once the year was up. Still a fling or just having a good time wouldn't have gone amiss while she was there. She does need some happiness and enjoyment after all.

I enjoyed reading of all the preparations of trying to get the bar open and to witness so to speak  the transformation it underwent from the old railway station to a place where hopefully everybody will want to be seen. But what I did miss out on was a bit more information as to the storyline regrading the big event in Daisy's past. We know what it is and how it still affects her on a daily basis but I felt this needed more exploration and a bit of digging around to get answers to give Daisy some sort of satisfaction and closure. Maybe there will be more focus on this in part four as I am hoping there will be with regard to the missing items we learned about in a previous part.

Daisy in part three works very hard to achieve her goal but when the bar is up and running she does jump to conclusions and lands her foot in it. I could see why the relevant character was so offended but in fairness I made the same accusation in my mind, it was the natural thing to do. Tamysn, Daisy's best friend, is still a character who I just don't get. Hyperactive is not the word and I just want to tell her calm down, her behaviour comes across as childish. I did feel the very smallest bit of sympathy when she explains her panic in relation to a member of the opposite sex but apart from that she is a character I tend to read about when she appears but then not give scant thought to there after.

The reappearance of someone Daisy thought she had pushed firmly out of her life sets the cat among the pigeons and the last scenes of the book were very intriguing to say the least. Just what is that character up to? How will Daisy react to everything? I was gutted when things ended the way they did. Definitely on a cliff hanger but it has set us up nicely for the concluding part in the series Shaken and Stirred. There are lots of unanswered questions and various story lines to be resolved and I am dying to find out how it all ends. Will Daisy up sticks and leave after the deadline of the year has passed? Or will she discover home is where the heart is and someone special could be waiting for her. I don't know how I will wait until May to discover the eventual outcome for all involved.

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