9 May 2015

eBook Review: It Started at Sunset Cottage by Bella Osborne

"Kate Marshall is slowly getting her life back on track after losing her fiancé. As an author she has been able to hide herself away from the world and its expectations – but now one of her books has been optioned for a film and Hollywood suddenly comes knocking on her door!

When Kate is given the opportunity to stay at a beautiful country retreat and concentrate on the screenplay, it’s an offer she can’t refuse. Encouraged by her best friend, sharp-tongued single mum Sarah, Kate sees it’s finally time to stop letting life pass her by.

Looking for confidence and inspiration in the idyllic Cotswolds countryside, the last thing Kate expects is for Timothy Calder, A-list actor and leading man in the movie adaptation of her book, to turn up on her doorstep, hoping to lie low after his latest tabloid scandal! But after a rocky start, with Tim narrowly avoiding death by watering can, they find they have a few things in common: a liking for Lady Grey tea, walnut whips and bad ‘knock knock’ jokes. Actually, the bad jokes are just Tim.

As an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, and with circumstances repeatedly throwing them together, is Sunset Cottage where both Kate and Tim’s lives will really start?"

Rating: 3/5

You can buy It Started at Sunset Cottage as a paperback or an eBook.

Another book I was drawn to reading by the cover was the debut novel from author Bella Osborne with Harper Impulse, It Started at Sunset Cottage. The cover looked really quaint and sweet, exactly like the sort of cosy story I enjoy reading after a hard day at work. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy from Netgalley and eagerly got stuck in, excited for the story. However, it wasn't quite what I imagined, and the story had so many twists and turns I wasn't sure exactly what the main plot of the story was!

Author Kate Marshall has struck it lucky with her novel and is excitedly turning it into a screenplay for a Hollywood film. To do this, she goes to a wonderful little cottage in the heart of the Cotswolds to work on it with a screenwriter, but doesn't bank on the arrival of the star of the film, Timothy Calder. The two get on like a house on fire, and Kate looks forward to working with him on the set of the film. As well as juggling her professional life, she's also looking out for her best friend Sarah who is having a bit of a hard time with her ex, the father of her young daughter, and is in a spot of bother. Will Kate be able to juggle everything, and make a success of her new film, and is there love lurking around the corner for the reluctant widow?

Although the book is billed as being about Sunset cottage, and consequently about Kate and her screenwriting for the new film, but to me it didn't feel like the main plot of the story. To me, this was the story with Sarah and her daughter, who is having trouble with her ex husband Shaun. A lot of parents will be able to relate to Sarah's story of reluctantly having to let her daughter spend time with her awful ex, but things about to take a more sinister turn. This part of the book had me hooked, I thoroughly enjoyed the development of this story even if it was a bit stilted in parts. This definitely deserved to be the main focus, and I far more enjoyed reading Sarah's tale than I did Kate's.

I don't know what it was about Kate but I think I just found her a bit too bland and rather forgettable unfortunately. She has sadly lost her fiancé and is still struggling to get over his death, so is rather throwing herself into work as a distraction. However, I felt this story took a backseat to the other action going on in the book, perhaps because it was a rather slow-burner, and nothing happened for quite a while, it all plodded on a bit too slowly for me. It was nice to read about a book being turned into a screenplay and a film, surely a dream for any author, but it just didn't completely pique my interest which was a shame. I couldn't warm too much to the actor, Timothy Calder, either - he just didn't seem my cup of tea.

Overall, this was a well written book but I couldn't help but wonder if the author was struggling to decide which exactly was her main plot - Sarah's or Kate's story. It certainly wasn't the read I was expecting from the quaint cover, and I don't feel the title is entirely relevant either, but those are just my opinions. I did enjoy the development of Sarah's story - it had me wondering what on earth had happened, just how bad a man Shaun was and how far Sarah would go to be rid of him from their lives - and she certainly has the mother-in-law from hell as well! I did enjoy the story, but found myself losing interest a little bit as Kate's story carried on, this just didn't draw me in as I had hoped. Even so, I will looking out for more from this author, hoping her next is more along the lines of Sarah's story!

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