Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Christmas at the Gin Shack, which I’m sharing with Clair at Have Books, Will Read.
- Author: Catherine Miller
- Kindle Edition
- Category: Contemporary, Christmas, Book Review, Books, Reading
Gingle bells, gingle bells, gingle all the way…
Olive Turner might have lived through eighty-four Christmases, but she’ll never get bored of her favourite time of year. And this one’s set to be extra-special. It’s the Gin Shack’s first Christmas – and there’s a gin-themed weekend and a cocktail competition on the cards!
But, beneath the dazzle of fairy lights and the delicious scent of mince-pies, Olive smells a rat. From trespassers in her beloved beach hut to a very unfunny joke played on her friends, it seems that someone is missing a dose of good cheer.
Olive knows she’s getting on a bit – but is she really imagining that someone in the little seaside town is out to steal Christmas? More importantly, can she create the perfect gin cocktail before Christmas Eve – in time to save the day?
I hadn’t realised this was a sequel so I had a quick recap of the first book which gave me enough background to become involved with the characters and the story, without actually having read the previous book. Despite being an octogenarian and having been persuaded to move into Oakley West retirement facility by her son after a minor stroke, Olive Turner is determined to live life to the full. Olive’s original ‘gin shack’ was her beloved beach hut where she and her two friends and kindred spirits, Veronica and Randy, met to drink their favourite tipple, becoming known as the Oakley West Trio. The quest to find the perfect gin and tonic began with Olive and her late husband, and Olive has no intention of giving up on their dream. And it makes her feel closer to her husband and daughter when she toasts them at the end of each day.
Olive’s Gin Shack idea escalated and is now a bar in larger premises, run by her beach hut neighbour and good friend, Tony, with the help of the original trio and the beach hut community. Christmas is coming which is Olive’s favourite season, and the Gin Shack members are trying out various delicious sounding cocktail recipes to enter into the Best Christmas Cocktail competition.
The Gin Shack was famous for featuring different gins. Every week customers got to try two new gin varieties and a cocktail featuring one of those gins. They were already known for their cocktail specials so it made sense that they should try and become award-winners to give their reputation some official gusto. Plus, it would be a fun way to keep attracting customers. Having had such a struggle in its early days, they needed to make sure the Gin Club shack was here to stay.
I love the concept of this story; the idea of a beach hut community (I’ve always fancied owning a beach hut) and the Gin Shack. And there’s much more to the story than you might at first assume, including lots of Christmas spirit (of both kinds), seeing off pranksters and saboteurs and a touch of romance. It’s far removed from the typical Christmas themed romance however, with the gang of older characters intent on family and friends, maintaining the Christmas spirit and keeping their enterprise going. Olive is a likeable and realistic character with genuine age related issues and tragic events in her past. She has a great attitude to life with a larger than life personality and I love the way she embraces her new purchase as she overcomes the steep climb up from the beach. It’s a refreshing change to have the more mature characters in the forefront of the story.
Catherine Miller has crafted a delightful cast of characters of all ages with an engaging, feel good story full of emotion and humour, a perfect read for the season.
I chose to read and review Christmas at the Gin Shack based on a digital copy of the book supplied by Rachel’s Random Resources and the author/publisher.
When Catherine Miller became a mum to twins, she decided her hands weren’t full enough so wrote a novel with every spare moment she managed to find. By the time the twins were two, Catherine had a two-book deal with HQDigital UK. There is a possibility she has aged remarkably in that time. Her debut novel, Waiting For You, came out in March 2016. She is now the author of four books and hopes there will be many more now her twins have started school. Either that, or she’ll conduct more gin research on Olive’s behalf.