Monday, 25 June 2018

Emma's Review: The Cottage on Sunshine Beach by Holly Martin

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Melody Rosewood loves her new home in idyllic Sandcastle Bay. The beautiful little cottage on the edge of Sunshine Beach, with its bright yellow door and view of the sea has captured her heart. And she loves being close by to her family and best friend Tori Graham. 

Life by the sea is pretty much perfect, there’s just one thing missing…

Gorgeous Jamie Jackson, with his cheeky grin and adorable puppy, works as a sculptor opposite Melody’s jewellery shop. From the moment he and Melody meet sparks fly. But despite their instant attraction, a past heartache is holding Jamie back.

As Melody starts to make a life for herself in the close-knit, quirky seaside community, she realises Jamie could be the one for her. But as the two of them take a chance on romance, it’s one dating disaster after another. Are they destined to always be just good friends?

Or will Melody finally find her happily-ever-after in Sandcastle Bay?

Amazon Affiliate Links: Kindle or Paperback

Many thanks to Bookouture via NetGalley for my copy of The Cottage on Sunshine Beach to review and to Sharon for having my review on the blog.

I simply adored my first visit to Sandcastle Bay when I read The Holiday Cottage by the Sea back in April so I was glad the wait for book two, The Cottage on Sunshine Beach, in this planned trilogy wasn't that long at all. This was such an enjoyable read packed full of the traits of Holly Martin's writing that I have come to love and also to expect. Holly is a fantastic writer and I know I will always be guaranteed a brilliant storyline packed full of romance, with lots of surprises and laughs along the way. Holly also has this canny knack of creating the most vivid and memorable settings for each of her stories and also comes up with such ingenious place names to go with it. Sandcastle Bay is a special place, packed full of memorable characters and equally as memorable events occur that literally did have me laughing out loud.

I've said it before and probably will say it many more times in the future but with a book from this author you do know more or less from the beginning or even from previous books what the eventual outcome will be for all the characters involved. Some may say - what's the point in that? It takes away the element of surprise and reveal at the end and just gives too much away. Normally, I would have to agree with people who feel this way but not so in the case of this author's books. It really is more about the development of the characters, their indecision and the reasons for the reluctance to just take a leap into the unknown and go for it. The journey is more important than the big climax of acceptance and embracing love and relationships wholeheartedly. It's testament to the brilliant writing that the reader enjoys the storyline and cares more about the journey rather than reaching the final destination.

With it only being two months since my introduction to Sandcastle Bay, I felt the characters we had already met were very much fresh in my mind and I didn't feel the first few chapters were about familiarising myself with everyone and various events and who was connected to etc. Instead, I slipped easily back into the warm writing and was keen to see how the story of Melody Rosewood and Jamie Jackson would develop. I already knew the background to both Melody's family and her friend Tori and also the Jackson brothers. That's not to say new readers won't be able to follow the storyline as plenty of background information is slipped in subtly. I love how we get to see how the couple from book one are now getting on and in the most beautiful way we see a continuation of their story without taking away from Melody and Jamie. Also the couple who will feature in book three start to make themselves more prominent and the reader can take guesses as to how their relationship will develop. It's just all intertwined so well without distracting from the overall plot.

Melody lives close to Sunshine Beach in a snug little cottage and she is more or less happy with her life since she made the big move from London. The reason for her move being the death of her beloved brother Matthew leaving his son Elliott behind. Her sister Isla is now guardian of Elliott and Melody felt she needed support and back up. As Melody is a jewellery designer she can take her business anywhere and it has been reasonably successful since she set up her shop amongst the artisans that occupy Starfish Court. It also helps that the object of her affections Jamie, himself a sculptor, has a shop close by and a lovely friendship walking to work each morning has developed. We know from the beginning that both Melody and Jamie have feelings for each other but are desperately afraid to say it and see where romantic adventures could take them. Yes at times you'll want to bang their heads together but at the same time it's enjoyable to see just what ups and downs and problems await the pair on their path to finding true love if that is at all possible?

Jamie thinks he is crap at relationships as previously he fell head over heels for somebody who didn't return his feelings. He is wary of getting hurt and doesn't want to invest time in a relationship where the same could happen again. I felt Jamie was vulnerable and very much doubted what his heart was telling him. My view is that if you have feelings for someone you should explore them further and see where the path will lead. If you don't try you'll never know if you could succeed. I thought this quote really summed up the indecision both Jamie and Melody were feeling. ' Love is a crazy, wonderful thing, it's not something to run away from, it's something you run towards. Yes, it's painful if it doesn't turn out the way we want to, but you can't shy away from it for the rest of your life because it might hurt'. Very wise words it must be said and that's what I love about Holly's writing. Time and time again, I find myself nodding along in agreement at what is being said. I have to stop and reread passages several times to absorb how honest and true they are. It's almost like she is offering relationship and life advice for the readers, in a good way, as much as she is for her main characters.

Melody, herself, wants more than a friendship with Jamie but she feels she isn't good enough for him that her clumsiness and general awkwardness would turn any man off. But surely a relationship is about embracing all the faults each person has be they major or minor and working through and accepting them. That's my only minor quibble about this book, I felt at times there was too much emphasis on Melody's clumsiness be it spilling a drink or falling into something. I understand this trait was being used as a barrier for Melody and was pivotal to the overall storyline but it did begin to bug me she was so het up over something I would personally view as being minor. Saying that it did provide plenty of laughs along the way and that's what this book was all about. It was packed full of humour and laughter.

Normally when a book is classed as a laugh out loud romantic comedy I mightn’t even break into a smile but here oh my god I was laughing out loud and wanting to share such funny moments with fellow readers. Elliott in all his innocence was just hysterical when he talked about what he found whilst in his Granny's bedroom. The scene at the puppy training classes was just everyone's worst nightmare but all you could do was just laugh and get on with it. Not to mention the supermarket scene and the cave. There was just so much amusement, wit, wisecracks and hilarity throughout that it just made the story so good and a joy to read. Also, what I am calling the spot the puppy angle to the book was brilliant and so sweet a continuation from book one.

As the story continued I thought all viewpoints were presented equally. I felt every bit of the confusion and apprehension that existed for Melody and Jamie and hoped they could work through things. But when they say things like this it did make me wonder would a happy ending be forthcoming.'protecting you and what we have. I don't want to lose you and the very last thing I want is to do anything to hurt you. I want to do this right. I don't want to rush into this and ruin what we have'. Even with those few words the reader can sense the doubt and the reluctance to move from a friendship to a relationship.

The Cottage on Sunshine Beach was an excellent read. Usually, I find myself loving book one in a series and then the next two books don't live up to my expectations or recreate the same feelings I experienced but this was a first for me I adored this book and wanted the story to continue on and on. Holly Martin writes from the heart taking such care with every word poured onto the page to create such wonderful characters you root for from beginning to end. With such a romantic ending and just an overall brilliant, delightful read this book simply has to be on your summer reading list for 2018.

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