Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Review: The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay

By Becky Gulc

‘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.’
(Synopsis courtesy of Amazon UK).

With a gorgeously enticing cover, featuring the quaint Devon seaside location of ‘Cockleberry Bay’ and one of the book’s best characters, the Daschund ‘Hot’ I was hopeful this would be a book I would enjoy.

I’ll admit that when I first started reading this book I wasn’t too sure about Rosa, she didn’t seem that likable to begin with, quite brash and rude. Thankfully, she quickly won me over and I began to appreciate her flaws and all, she has so many great qualities too. She has had a tough upbringing, was brought up in a care and has no family to call her own; she’s a tough cookie who keeps people at a distance. Rosa is also kind, witty, determined, a great dog-Mum to Hot and can flirt for England. When she mysteriously inherits the shop I was eager for her to succeed, but in a tight knit community will this be straightforward?

I felt truly transported to Cockleberry Bay, the location was very vivid in my mind. The various focal points from the pubs to Seaview Cottage and the shop itself, all felt so real. There is a great mix of characters in the novel, these are aplenty, and all offered something to the story, made the community seem real and none of them felt shoe-horned in for no reason. I enjoyed how some characters surprised me too, often I can preempt which ones will turn out to be not as they seem, but this wasn’t the case here and that kept it interesting. Queenie, in particular, was a great spiritual character that I loved popping up here and there. My only very slight criticism would be that there were too many male characters beginning with a J, so I had to keep reminding myself who was who.

There are also two strands to the story that keep you guessing too, regarding who the mysterious benefactor is, and who is responsible for a hit-and-run incident. I didn’t guess either outcome, which is testament to great writing. Rosa’s love-life is also quite busy and I found that quite refreshing for a lead character. I experienced a range of emotions whilst reading this novel, it made me laugh, it had me intrigued, it made me tense and want to shout at some characters whilst hug others.

I seem to have read a lot of books about people inheriting shops, cafes etc in the past couple of years but actually, I think Rosa as a character offered something so different I never even thought about comparing it with these other books. It is genuinely pleasantly distinctive. I would love to see Nicola write another story set in Cockleberry Bay, as it was a wonderful set of characters.

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review. 

Purchase the book here.

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1 comment:

Janine said...

This book sounds interesting. I'm adding it to my want to read list.