Thursday, 10 May 2018

Emma's Review: Ottercombe Bay: Part Four - Shaken and Stirred 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 for my copy via NetGalley of Ottercombe Bay: Part Four - Shaken and Stirred to review and to Sharon for having my review on the blog.

Shaken and Stirred brings to a conclusion Bella Osborne's Ottercombe Bay series. It has been a roller-coaster ride of a year for Daisy Wickens and as her time in Ottercombe Bay draws to a close decisions need to be made with regard to her future. Have all the experiences, adventures and emotions that have arisen during the course of her stay made her change her mind about her long term goals and ambitions? Or is she still firmly stuck in the camp that once the year as designated by her Great Uncle Reg in his will is up, then she will flee and continue to wander aimlessly and travel the world? This is only one of the questions that needs a firm answer in part four amongst many others which have arisen over the course of the story. There are still plenty of pieces of the overall jigsaw puzzle that need slotting into place not least amongst them Daisy needs some solid confirmation surrounding her mother's death in order for her to move on emotionally and perhaps physically. I was more than keen to find out how everything would work itself out on all fronts - professional, personal and with regard to family in both the present and the past and couldn't wait to get stuck in.

We left Daisy overlooking the cliff tops at the end of part three as her former French flame Guillaume heads out to sea in a small boat.Worry, fear and apprehension abounded on Daisy's behalf. I had a bad feeling as to what Guillaume was actually up to and I think Daisy herself felt the same. I won't go into details as to what actually occurred but I did think it was a clever ploy used by the author which in turn brought about connections to Daisy's past and then allowed a certain character to open up and explain things. Said character had been keeping things quiet for far too long and in doing so caused untold stress to numerous people most noticeably Daisy. Not knowing the truth had been holding Daisy back and had caused her anxiety and needless suffering. If it had have been me and the truth finally came to the fore after so many years, I would have been bitterly angry but I think it was a sign as to how much Daisy had grown during her year in the bay that she reacted in the way she did.

Yes she has her stubborn streak and that's natural and the manner in which she treats Max does leave a lot to be desired at times but I think that's purely because she is driven by a passion that she doesn't know how to fully deal with because she has never experienced this before. Also, if one is being honest she didn't want to make life easy for anyone connected to the big reveal given something so big had been kept secret for years and a simple chat and outpouring of the truth would have saved the burden Daisy felt forced to carry around for years. Only when the past is laid to rest can everyone truly move on.

The gin bar Daisy had set up in the old railway building didn't feature as prominently in this last part of the story. It was there in the background as a place where Daisy, Max and Tamsyn worked and the author could bring the characters there to chat and to discuss some of what was ongoing. But the bar itself didn't need to be the sole focus of the conclusion as we had read enough about its inception and the opening, now was more the time to get personal and inside the characters heads and find out just what had been bothering them for the majority of the time I had spent reading about their lives and troubles in Ottercombe Bay.

I will say that Daisy's best friend Tamsyn is a very quirky character and will not be to everyone's taste. She still frustrates me just in general with her personality and the way she speaks. I understand this is the way she is meant to be portrayed but she is one character who does get on my nerves slightly but that's just my own personal opinion. Saying that I will admit Jason's romantic gesture to finally woo her was incredibly romantic and made my heart melt a little. I hoped Daisy, similarly to Tamsyn, would be able to find her happy ending both on the romantic front and also in connection with her long term plans for her life.

Shaken and Stirred was the perfect ending to a really enjoyable series, everything that had needed resolution and confirmation was provided with just that. Daisy as a character has really grown on me over the course of the series as she underwent so many changes. It wasn't in any way easy for her but I do think she rose to the challenge presented to her and gave everything 100%. Normally, I would wait until the full paperback publication of a book but there was something so charming that drew me to Ottercombe Bay that I had to keep reading each part as it was published and I was glad I did so. It's well worth your time to curl up in a chair and enjoy the wonderful writing, lovely plot and special characters. The series overall has been an uplifting, sweet cosy read based in such an idyllic setting with plenty of storylines to keep the reader entertained and gripped. Packed full of loveable characters and lots of splashes of romance you should definitely check out the Ottercombe Bay series. Hopefully Bella Osborne has something just as good next in store for her readers.

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