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The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May, Review: Charming

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May is a delightful romantic comedy novel, cosy crime mystery and moving story of personal growth and transformation. Read on for our full review.

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay Book Synopsis

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay - Nicola May - ReviewRosa 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?

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.

Genre: Romance, Drama, Mystery

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BOOK REVIEW

I must say that this title’s cover art is not what I usually go for, but I am very glad I looked past that. Nicola May’s The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay is such a fun read!

Leading lass Rosa is not someone who appealed to me right off the bat. She can be a little stand-offish, spikey even, and prone to biting the hands (or heads off of) those trying to help her.

She was an adult. But a troubled, misguided adult, and when drunk all her childhood insecurities rose to the top and sprayed out like an out-of-control firework.

However, from the love she showers upon her rescue dachshund Hot, it is clear Rosa is a good egg whose life experiences have heightened her defence mechanisms. And, as the colourful residents of Cockleberry Bay take her under their wing and support the opening of her Corner Shop, her more appealing character traits shine through — her inner strength, drive and well-targeted sass.

Many characters make a village, or in this case, a novel

This novel is filled with colourful characters. From Rosa’s ever-loyal male friend Josh, the dashing new love interest, the local publican, Cockleberry coven, flamboyant restauranters and many more for readers to love or hate. They are each in their own way a mystery to be solved, on top of the worrying local crime the police are investigating, and that little matter of the secret benefactor that brought her to town in the first place.

It would be hard not to be charmed by a story that features a loyal and inquisitive dachshund in nearly every scene, but what I most admired about The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay was the raft of smaller storylines in play at any given moment. It works as a delightful romantic comedy novel, but also a cosy crime mystery and moving story of personal growth and transformation.

Plus, while this is only the first title in a 3-book Cockleberry Bay Series, Nicola May delivers a highly satisfying conclusion with ample emotional resolution. I look forward to reading more from this author.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5

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UPDATE: Nicola May joined us to discuss the third and final series title, The Gift of Cockleberry Bay.

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About the Author, Nicola May

Nicola May was made redundant from her event management job, and she resorted to a variety of temping jobs to make ends meet. This became the inspiration for her first novel, Working It Out. Unable to find a publisher, she published that novel herself, achieving the rare distinction of getting it stocked in Waterstones, and went on to self-publish eight more novels, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Her novels Christmas Spirit and The School Gates won Best Author-Published Read at the Festival of Romance in 2012 and 2014, while It Started With A Click was ebook of the week in the Sun. Her ninth novel, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, became the bestselling Kindle book in the UK in January 2019. Check out Nicola’s website or connect with her on Twitter.

* My receiving a copy from the author for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions.