Rosa Larkin is down on her luck in London, so when she inherits a near-derelict corner shop in a quaint Devon village, her first thought is to sell it for cash and sort out her life. But nothing is straightforward about this legacy. While the identity of her benefactor remains a mystery, he – or she – has left one important legal proviso: that the shop cannot be sold, only passed on to somebody who really deserves it.
Rosa makes up her mind to give it a go: to put everything she has into getting the shop up and running again in the small seaside community of Cockleberry Bay. But can she do it all on her own? And if not, who will help her succeed – and who among the following will work secretly to see her fail?
There is a handsome rugby player, a sexy plumber, a charlatan reporter and a selection of meddling locals. Add in a hit and run incident and the disappearance of a valuable engraved necklace – and what you get is a journey of self-discovery and unpredictable events.
With surprising and heartfelt results, Rosa, accompanied at all times by her little sausage dog Hot, will slowly unravel the shadowy secrets of the inheritance, and also bring her own, long-hidden heritage into the light.
First of all let’s get something out of the way, dachshunds are my absolute favourite dog without question so when I saw the cover of this novel I was already won over by Hot’s adorable little doggy face!
From the very beginning of this novel Rosa pulled me into the story, there is something instantly loveable about her. Whether it’s her slight scattiness, her love for little sausage dog Hot or the fact that she embraced the huge life change that came with inheriting the corner shop in Cockleberry Bay, possibly a combination of the lot I adored her as a main character.
From her first moments in Cockleberry Bay I wanted to run away to join her, living by the sea is my absolute dream and I couldn’t imagine anything better than the chance to reinvent myself somewhere new. But boy, does Rosa need every ounce of savvy she has to get through her first weeks in the bay. Between letchy locals, a mad local landlady, a possibly psychic old lady, a dramatic hit and run and a misbehaving journalist she definitely has her hands full.
Thankfully there are some joys on hand in the form of delicious rugby hunk and former landlord Josh, local barmaid and girl about the bay Titch and of course the ever faithful Hot.
I found myself utterly absorbed into life on the bay and felt genuinely sad when things came to an end. Character driven novels are one of my best things in life, and this book was full of fantastic characters.
Titch had a special place in my heart, she was cheeky and mischievous but with a complete heart of gold. I could imagine spending an evening sitting on a balcony with a bottle or two of wine with her putting the world to rights. Her fierce loyalty was one of the things I loved most about her, and I adored watching her character develop throughout the book.
Even characters we were meant to dislike, easily captured me and I found myself wanting to know more about them, even if it was purely to dislike them more. This is what true character writing is about, making us want to know more about each character even if we hate them.
The scene setting in this book is also something I adored, I could so easily imagine myself walking down the main street to the beach for a long walk and then meandering back up the hill to enjoy a drink and maybe some food at The Lobster Pot. I could almost see the view from the balcony, and smell the sea air. Well done Nicola for making Cockleberry Bay the place I want to escape to.
From start to finish this story had me hooked, I loved that for a romance novel it wasn’t the sole element of the story. I was absolutely routing for one man in particular who I personally would have chosen in a heartbeat. But this book was so much more than a romance story it was a story of finding yourself, realising truths and learning who your true friends are. I felt it was genuinely a story about life, about those lessons we all learn as we grow older and that’s why I think it spoke to me.
An absolutely wonder of a book and my first Nicola May novel, but if this is the standard I have to look forward to it will definitely not be my last.
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Award winning author Nicola May lives in Ascot in Berkshire with her rescue cat Stanley. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks and enjoying a flutter on the horses. Inspired by her favourite authors Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews, Nicola writes what she describes as chicklit with a kick.
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