A lovely big hello to Bella Osborne who is returning to the blog today with the blog tour for Ottercombe Bay: Gin and Trouble, part two in a four-part serialisation.
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?
To celebrate the release of Gin and Trouble, Bella and Avon have shared an extract. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
**** Start of Extract.****
Jason was turning out to be a useful person to know. As the local bobby, everyone knew him and therefore he had a wide network he could tap into, particularly as he had a colleague with an uncle working in the local planning department. After a warm-up phone call from Jason he was happy to meet Daisy for a chat. She had made an effort, steered clear of both espresso and Bug’s furry patch on the sofa, and she felt ready for her meeting.
An older-looking gent with thinning hair and thick glasses collected her from the waiting area at the council offices and they did introductions.
‘Thanks for meeting me,’ said Daisy, starting to feel a little less prepared as she followed him into an office and saw a mountain of paper on his desk.
‘No problem but you will need to submit a formal application through the proper process. Anything discussed here today does not in any way constitute agreement of any changes to the property or land we are discussing. I hope you appreciate this?’
Daisy swallowed hard. With formal wording like that he would get on well with Great Uncle Reg’s solicitor. She hadn’t even suggested anything yet and she was being told off. ‘Yes, of course. I’m just looking for guidance. Some ballpark areas that may be worth exploring.’
‘This is the last application we received for the property,’ said the planning officer, passing Daisy a pile of papers. She had a quick flick through and spotted some blueprints – it looked like her grandfather had taken the whole thing seriously and spent some money in the process.
‘And I think the solicitor said this was turned down, as were the other ones before it. I’m guessing the same would happen again if I were to suggest building a new property in what was the car park.’
‘I think that is a fair assumption. There are properties nearby that would be affected and the apartment building previously proposed would have looked out of place in the surrounding area and had a visually overbearing impact.’
‘How about smaller buildings? Single-storey properties perhaps?’ Holiday cottages could be a profitable option, thought Daisy.
‘Very unlikely,’ he said, a crease deepening on his forehead. ‘You see the car park has a designated public right of way through it.’ He drew a line with his finger across the blueprints virtually cutting the car park in half.
‘And knocking down the platform and railway building?’ She had to ask.
His frown intensified. ‘The railway station is considered a historic building. It is grade two listed and is therefore subject to a number of conditions. Demolition is not an option.’
‘Can I open the car park and charge people to park there?’ This felt like an easy way to make money although, now it was August, the summer season was already well underway.
‘Subject to obtaining a parking permit, public liability insurance and undertaking a risk assessment to ensure there would be no environmental damage caused by vehicles or inconvenience to pedestrians.’
Daisy had to control the urge to huff out her frustrations. ‘Could I not just take down the fencing and charge £5 a day?’ she said, failing to hide a brief pout.
‘I’m afraid not.’
‘Right, so what can I do?’ Daisy was starting to feel this was a pointless meeting.
He nudged his glasses down his nose and viewed the file over the top. ‘Subject to application you could apply for a change of use.’
‘What else can you use a car park for?’ It was hard not to sound cheesed off at this point.
‘I meant the building itself.’
Daisy perked up. ‘Could I convert it into somewhere to live?’ One holiday rental would be better than nothing, she thought.
****End of Extract****
My review of Ottercombe Bay; Gin and Trouble.
Gin and Trouble is part two in the Ottercombe Bay series and follows on from Where There’s a Will.
These novels are part of a four-part serialisation.
Daisy hasn’t been to visit Ottercombe Bay and her Aunt for years preferring to travel rather than to confront the memories from her past and the death of her mother. It’s a place she’s been actively avoiding.
When a family bereavement brings her back, she wants to get there, do what needs to be done and then leave as quickly as possible.
For Daisy, this is going to be easier said than done.
She’s been left a significant inheritance but it comes with a very big string attached. She must stay in Ottercombe Bay for a year.
Can Daisy stay and confront her past so she can move on into her future?
OK, one of the main issues I had with this book is that I have to wait until April to know what happens next. Grrrr! Haha.
Daisy is quite a lost character. She’s trying to hide from things rather than face them. This is something I think many people can relate to. I know I did to a lot of what Daisy is going through.
When you meet her, she seems so sad and downcast. For me, she seemed a little in limbo.
This made her feel very real and likeable. I want things to work out for her.
There are also a couple of men who are quite happy to see her back in Ottercombe Bay but I don’t know what to completely make of them yet.
Bella Osborne is such a talented writer (I’m not jealous…much. Cough.) I can’t help falling in love with her characters and the stories surrounding them.
She brings much warmth, humour and charm to her novels and this one so far is not disappointing.
Both parts one and two have nicely built up the conflict. I haven’t really got a clue what is going to happen next. The setting around this Devon town has been set up well. I have a clear picture in my mind of what the town looks like.
When reviewing a serialisation of a novel, it’s hard to review it as you don’t have the entire story and I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to give much more away.
These two parts have set up the plot well and the characters are being well-developed.
If you’re off on holiday or wanting to snuggle up with the beginnings of a great, well developed story, then the two Ottercombe Bay books would be perfect for you.
Bella can remember writing a story about a theft of the crown jewels when she was nine but she decided that 2013 would be the year she’d write her novel.
She joined the Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writer’s Scheme and in 2014, got a two book contract with Harper Impulse.
It Started at Sunset Cottage was released in 2015 and was later re-released with a new cover by Harper Collins Avon.
Her other books include A Family Holiday and Willow Cottage.
The Ottercombe Bay series is published by Avon. Part two was released in eBook on 22nd February 2018.
For more information about Bella, visit her website: http://www.bellaosborne.com
Bella is also on Twitter too: https://twitter.com/osborne_bella
To read Bella’s previous Bella’s Scribblings columns, click here.