Where There’s a Will by Bella Osborne (Ottercombe Bay #1)

Where There’s a Will by Bella Osborne

 

35555798Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 28th December 2017

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 100

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Escape to the Devon coast, with Part One of a brand-new four-part serial from the author of Willow Cottage.
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?

Rating: three-stars

Bella Osborne’s “Where There’s a Will” is an introduction to a brand new series “Ottercombe Bay”. It sets up the location and introduces us to some of the main characters and already leaves us with some questions to be answered.

There are of course many questions opened. Daisy returns to Ottercombe Bay for the funeral of her Great Uncle Reg. We know her mother died here when Daisy was a child, and we know from the pieces of information that something has probably happened that brought her to this death, we also know that Daisy avoided Ottercombe Bay with all her might but still we’re not sure why – only because it brings memories of her childhood and her mother? Also, she just wants to attend the funeral and then go. But the late Uncle Reg had other ideas and Daisy finds herself inheriting an old railway station building, providing she’s going to spent the next twelve months on Ottercombe Bay. Is it possible at all for Daisy, the free spirit?

The story was written in a nice, warm way – I really like Bella Osborne writing style. However, this time, I had problems with the characters here, and as this part was really characters’ centred it wasn’t easy to enjoy the story. Daisy is brash and temperamental, or rather moody, and I’m guessing it’s because of her past, but nobody has been hurt by being kind, right? But the location on the Devon coast was lovely and the old station building sounds brilliant and beautiful and that there is a lot of potential in it.

I really looked forward to this novella and it’s a real pity that I didn’t warm to it as much as I hoped. I guess it would work much better as a whole novel – I understand it is only the introduction and it’s a little unfortunate that it started in such a way, when I didn’t warm to the characters at all. However, I’m guessing I’ll read a second part in this series, to see if anything’s going to change, and yes, I want to see how Daisy is going to settle in Ottercombe Bay – I’m sure she’ll be wanting to leave more than once but well, she has to stay, right?

Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne

Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne

 

33651984Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 10th August 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley  in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 464

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

The Escape to Willow Cottage was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

A cosy and heartwarming seasonal romance, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley.

Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a warm, caring and safe place for little Leo.

When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.

Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…

Escape to Willow Cottage was originally digitally published as a four-part serial under the title Willow Cottage. This is the complete story.

Rating: four-stars

“Escape to Willow Cottage” by Bella Osborne was originally published in four parts series and I’ve managed to read the two first one parts – the lack of time hasn’t allowed me to read the other two ones, even though I really liked the story, and so when I spotted there is a whole book available on NetGalley I downloaded it to my kindle immediately. Some books read well in parts, some are better as a whole one package, and this one is the latest – you just don’t want to leave the characters and their world in this heart – warming and feel – good story.

First of all, I truly like the idea of buying a cottage in the auction without even seeing it – not that I’d decide for such a great step myself, but as Beth did it was a great, promising start to the story. And well, the cottage looked so great in the auction catalogue, right, so what could go wrong? It turns out that a lot can go wrong but please read for yourself – it’s hilarious. But our Beth is not a woman that quickly gives up. We know that she’s running from an abusive relationship, that she has a son and that she had a great job. As Beth is very new to the village, together with her we are introduced to the people of Dumbleford and one seems to be more eccentric than the other.

The village of Dumbleford is a charming place, with all the villagers being so friendly, all of them jumping to help each other and supporting each other – you know how much I love those community feelings and here Bella Osborne captured it wonderfully.

The characters were very easy to like, though not all of them from the very beginning, as I had some problems with some of them. But altogether, they were warm, relatable and believable. They had flaws, they made mistakes but mostly they also learnt from those mistakes and you just couldn’t help but like them and cheer them on their way. The plot is complex, with some twists and turns and some drama added, and the author also mixes some heavier issues into the story, but it blends really well with the whole story and I liked the outcome.
Bella Osborne’s writing is great. It’s easy to follow, it’s light, with a right dose of humour – there are some really hilarious scenes in this book! – and seriousness. The characters were developing, and the cottage was taking shape, and I loved to read about all the ideas Beth had and how the villagers were willing to help her. The writing is really vivid and down to earth and I could easily imagine all the things really happening.

“Escape to Willow Cottage” was hooking, interesting story about abusive relationships, commitment problems, new beginnings. There is also the romance element introduced, which I liked very much, as it was not at all predictable. Over the course of four seasons our main character has learnt a lot, realised she can trust again and that it is worth to trust again. It was a lovely, quirky, summery read, great for one evening with a glass of wine. Recommended!

Christmas Cheer by Bella Osborne

Christmas Cheer by Bella Osborne

 

29750481Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 20th October 2016

Series: Willow Cottage #2 (read my review of #1 here)

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 111

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

A cosy and heartwarming seasonal romance, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley.

Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a warm, caring and safe place for little Leo.

When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.

Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…

Rating: 4/5

“Christmas Cheer” is the second instalment in Bella Osborne’s Willow Cottage’s series, and it rather should be read as a part of the series, as it starts exactly where we left in the first novella and continues on the characters’ adventures without all over again going into details about who is who and why. It is already some time since I’ve read “Sunshine and Secrets” and I was worried that I forgot most of the things and characters but by the end of the first chapter I already felt at home and remembered everything.

It was nice to be back in the village, with all its villagers, some more weird than the others, and to see that Beth and her son Leo are getting settled in and finding not only friends but also jobs. One of the jobs involves Beth taking care about Jack’s dog Daisy, and oh my word, can this dog create a havoc! But she’s a lovely dog, Daisy is, really, and at least it is cleared up why she’s getting crazy every time she sees one of the villagers and her trolley.

I know that after reading the first part I had some problems with the story following also Beth’s best friend Carly and her boyfriend and somehow it just didn’t sit with me, as it seemed as if there were two different stories in one book. However, this time, I took it stoically – the sudden switches between Beth and Carly’s stories, maybe it just should be like this, and moreover, the stories start to intertwine in my opinion, and Carly is more at Beth’s, and it works now.

Bella Osborne’s writing is getting better and better. It’s easy to follow, it’s light, with a right dose of humour – there are some really hilarious scenes in this novella! – and seriousness. The characters are developing, and the cottage is taking shape, and I loved to read about all the ideas Beth had and how the villagers were willing to help her. The writing is really vivid and down to earth and I could easily imagine all the things really happening.

So it was really great to see Beth and Leo starting to fit in and it is a real pain to see that there are for sure troubles coming in! Of course, this part ended with a cliff – hanger as well, and I think there will be some unexpected visits in the third part, but I am also dead sure that a big, huge understatement happened at the end of “Christmas Cheer” and that it’s also going to create chaos and there will be a lot of jumping to conclusions, and it already annoys me because I want to see Beth happy, and I know, deep in my heart, that she and Jack just belong together! I am certain that problems are expecting us in the third instalment, “A Spring Affair” – and I can’t wait to read it! “Christmas Cheer” was a funny, poignant and also romantic and festive short story – I recommend it!

Sunshine and Secrets by Bella Osborne

Sunshine and Secrets

by Bella Osborne

 

Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 7th July 2015

Series: Willow Cottage #1

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 99

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 Synopsis:

Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a safe place for little Leo.

When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.

Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…

Rating: 4/5

 

„Sunshine and Secrets” is the first part in the new series by author Bella Osborne set in the picturesque Dumbleford, a Cotswolds Village. I admit, I requested this short story on NetGalley, albeit hesitantly, as recently I’ve read a novel by Ms Osborne and had some issues with it, but nevertheless I loved the premise to „Sunshine and Secrets” – it sounds really intriguing and I am really glad that I decided to read it.

First of all, I truly like the idea of buying a cottage in the auction without even seeing it – not that I’d decide for such a great step myself, but as Beth did it was a great, promising start to the story. And well, the cottage looked so great in the auction catalogue, right, so what could go wrong? It turns out that a lot can go wrong but please read for yourself – it’s hilarious. But our Beth is not a woman that quickly gives up – at least she looks like this (in this first part we didn’t get many chances to get to know her deeply. We know that she’s running from an abusive relationship, that she has a son and that she had a great job but for me there was not much about Beth’s personality but I hope we’ll get to know her better in the next instalments) and so she decided to renovate the cottage of course. As Beth is very new to the village, together with her we are introduced to the people of Dumbleford and one seems to be more eccentric than the other and I am truly waiting for an explanation of this – I hope it’ll come! One of the villagers is Jack and they didn’t start their acquaintance in the best possible way.

The narration alternates between Beth and her best friend Carly, and it is the same way Ms Osborne previous book „A Family Holiday” was written, which bothered me mostly when reading it, and it bothers me here as well, because those two stories are totally different and I am not sure if they anything in common, except for Beth and Carly being friends.

I’ve already found the village a charming place, even with some of the villagers being so controversial, but also some of them very friendly, like the barmaid in the pub, and Beth’s behaviour bothered me a little – she seemed as if she patronised the people, as if she were better than all of them, she had moments that she was too smug and shallow for my liking, not too keen to allow her little boy to play with others and there was one scene in the pub when she didn’t want anybody to sit next to her that made me feel a little uncomfortable.

But already in this first part the author gives us a foretaste of what we can expect in the future – a hooking, interesting story including abusive relationships, commitment problems, new beginnings. I really have a feeling that there is a lot coming. There is also the romance element introduced, which I already started to like, and I will be waiting for the next part impatiently. „Sunshine and Secrets” is a lovely, quirky, summery quick read, great for one evening with a glass of wine.

A Family Holiday by Bella Osborne

A Family Holiday

by Bella Osborne

 

Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 16th June 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher,  thank you!

Number of pages: 324

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

‘Heartwarming and funny from an exciting new talent’ – Katie Fforde

She’ll do whatever it takes to keep this family together…

As the nanny to four quirky but loveable children, Charlie French has learnt that if there was ever a cement shortage Weetabix would be a viable substitute and that YouTube videos can go viral in seconds, much to her horror. But, most importantly, she’s learnt that whatever happens you stick together as a family.

When tragedy strikes, Charlie is forced to decide whether it’s time to move on or fight to keep the children she loves. With the distraction of the children’s gorgeous Uncle Felix and the chance of a holiday in stunning Antigua, she’s left wondering if turquoise seas can wash away their present troubles. Is the pull of white sand beaches too tempting to resist or will paradise fail to keep them all together?

A gorgeous summery beach read, perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Jill Mansell.

Rating: 3/5

 

„A Family Holiday” is Bella Osborne’s second novel but my first read by this author. I’ve already heard some good things about Ms Osborne so when I’ve spotted her novel on NetGalley I didn’t hesitate to request it – the cover of „A Family Holiday” is gorgeous – simple but in this case less is more – , it has a family and holiday in the title, and yes, the synopsis was very promising, and without further ado I started to read.

I must admit, I was sure that it is going to be a fluffy, sunny, light read about family holiday, full of sunshine, sunbathing and ice – cream eating and while there is plenty of humour, this book has a much serious side to it. It had you in giggles at the children’s antics and in the next moment you were looking soberly at the text, with your heart slowly breaking in two parts. The author has brilliantly captured the feelings and emotions of the characters and she especially excelled herself when it came to the children – their grief, sadness and their hard trying to cope with the awful situation they found themselves in were incredibly well, incredibly touching and incredibly well nailed and written.
But it is Charlie French that is our main protagonist and I admired her from the beginning for her devotion and commitment and motives. She was trying so hard to save this what has been left of the Cobley family, even when law and some other people were doing everything to make it so hard for her. She’s been left as a sole charger for the four Cobley children after their parents died in a car accident but she was so much more than just a nanny to them. She knew them all so well, in contrast to their aunt (Ruthless) Ruth and uncle Felix who were coming in question as potential guardians of the children, and while Ruth wanted to be their guardian and immediately let Charlie go, Felix didn’t want to be their guardian but wanted Charlie to stay. Charlie cared for the children and she knew that should they land into care, they will never be together again, and she desperately wanted to prevent it – she also knew how it is to be in the care, as Charlie had a very unhappy past herself. Really, she had the biggest heart in the world, her love to the children was palpable through the pages and I hated to see her struggle so much. For the children she wasn’t afraid to fight and put her own interest aside and yet she was aware that she has her own life as well.
Now, I know that we were supposed to dislike Ruth, and sure, I didn’t like her, but I think that the scenes with her were hilarious and added a lot of pepper to the story. We also have Felix, who, after being found again in Antigua expected us to call him Blue, which made me roll my eyes to be honest, but well, whatever. However, I couldn’t warm to Felix, or Blue (I can’t. Not sure why but it would be impossible for me to call someone Blue) not for a single second, even though throughout the story he was developing and coming out of his shell and we slowly got to know his thoughts, his past and his priorities. As much as I really appreciate that he knew what he wanted and he was sure he doesn’t want to change his life, I also couldn’t shake off the feeling that he could have at least try a little more for the sake of his brother’s children.

Gosh, guys, when we eventually arrived to Antigua I was so tired of waiting for the holidays that I didn’t enjoy them as much as they deserved to be enjoyed – sadly. I liked how Charlie dealt with all the issues on the island, how much patience and understanding she had, but I couldn’t stop feeling that we are running in circles all the time, and it just made me feel frustrated. Though the island itself looked brilliant in the descriptions, so exotic and vivid and full of water.

However, I had a feeling that I’m never going to finish this book – I just somehow couldn’t totally, absolutely, deeply engage with the story, with the characters even though, after reading all those raging reviews I was sure this book is the next jackpot for my book shelf. It’s just that for me the book has two parts: the first one is a very long introduction to the whole situation, intertwined with adventures of Charlie’s best friend, Fleur, and as much as it was humorous and added a lot of lightness to the story I couldn’t help thinking what does she actually have to do with the exact plot? Yes, she was a great support for Charlie but nothing more and for me Fleur could easily get her own novel, she’s for sure worth it. And the second part is the holiday itself that, even though in an exotic place – Antigua – with a lot of sunshine, blue waters and accidents, dragged on and on for me and it was more as if the author wanted to share her own memories about her own holidays with the readers. I wanted to love this story, I really wanted it, and it is worth to be loved, but somehow I just couldn’t engage with the characters and the dragging on events and I just had a feeling that there are too many things that are neither relevant, nor significant, to the plot.
But apart of me having the few issues with the book, I enjoyed it and there was so much potential, and the author’s writing style really took to my liking, so I’ll be for sure looking for her other works. I highly appreciate that Bella Osborne has written a book about such important issue (that I think I haven’t read before about!) in such a thoughtful way and for creating a fantastic, loving family and people who would support this family no matter what.