The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bayby Nicola May
Published on April 9th 2018
Praise for Nicola Mayâ€™s books
â€˜This book will twang your funny bone & your heartstringsâ€™ â€“ Milly Johnsonâ€˜A fun and flighty readâ€™ the Sunâ€˜A funny and fast-paced romp â€“ thoroughly enjoyable!â€™ 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 â€“ 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.
It seems like I’m going with the unpopular opinion based on the reviews I’ve read from other people.Â From the description I expected a light-hearted, funny read typical of the chick lit genre.Â This book is not that.Â It is surprisingly dark especially considering how it is being marketed.
The main character is self-destructive.Â She drinks excessively and can’t keep a job.Â Her main human contact is a series of one night sexual encounters.Â She uses sex to help make up for the fact that she can’t always pay for the rent on her flat.Â The only thing she loves at all is her dog, Hot.Â Getting an inheritance is a way for her to get out of her current life and start fresh.
Usually in this type of book the small town the heroine goes to is full of lovely characters.Â Here that isn’t the case.Â In short order she is scammed, sexually assaulted, and her secret is outed against her express wishes.Â Then she is threatened to provide someone with an alibi for a hit and run.Â
She eventually finds some nicer people but they have secrets too.Â Then people keep breaking into her house, she ends up with a pregnant teenager living with her, she gets scammed a few more times, she finds out about a decades old affair, and her dog gets hurt (but he’s ok).Â This isn’t a bad book but I didn’t read it anything like the laugh a minute romp I’m seeing other people review it as.Â I read it more as a cautionary tale about trying to keep secrets and the need to have someone who you can confide in.Â Rosa is very damaged emotionally and trying to move past that in her own way isn’t easy.Â Trying to open up and let other people in when you have learned over and over not to trust is hard.Â When those people then repeatedly violate your tentative trust, what do you do?
I read an ARC so hopefully things have been cleaned up but there was an error in my copy.Â She was reading letters about a person who was only referred to by an initial.Â But when she thought about the person she thought of them by their full first name.Â She had no way of knowing that.