Being a fan of Catherine Miller's previous books, Waiting for You and All That is Left of Me, I was thrilled to be invited by Catherine herself to take part in the Blog Tour for her newest novel, The Gin Shack on the Beach. Her third novel was published by HQ Digital on 5th June 2017.
When octogenarian Olive Turner is persuaded by her son to move into a retirement home, she congratulates herself on finding the secret to an easy life: no washing up, cooking or cleaning. But Olive isn’t one for mindless bingo with her fellow residents, and before the first day is over she's already hatching a plan to escape back to her beloved beach hut and indulge in her secret passion for a very good gin & tonic.
Before long Olive’s secret is out and turning into something wonderful and new. Only a select few are invited, but word spreads quickly about the weekly meetings of The Gin Shack Club. Soon everybody on the beach wants to become a gin connoisseur and join Olive on her journey to never being forced to grow older than you feel.
A journey of friendship, defiance and a quest for the perfect G&T.
Ah, Gin & Tonic. That most refreshing of alcoholic drinks, with hidden depths and mysterious ingredients, each different make of gin having its own character. Just like this book!
I want to be like Olive when I grow up (if that ever happens!). This feisty eighty year old lets no one boss her around. She is fiercely independent, and likes her own space. After a fall, she agrees to go into a retirement home - not a care home - but is devastated when her son says he is selling her beloved beach hut.
She soon finds new allies in her quest for the perfect gin in fellow residents Veronica and Randy, and the Three Amigos get up to some hilarious antics quite unexpected for people of a certain age. They certainly bemuse the local police. The theme of friendship and community is strong in the book, with Olive's beach hut neighbours rallying around her.
There's mystery involving the despicable Matron, a woman full of her own self-importance. Can the Three Amigos bring an end to her regime?
There are poignant moments, such as between Olive and her son Richard, who appears not to care what his mother actually wants. The relationship is obviously strained, the reasons for which become evident later on.
It's a wonderful, heart-warming story showing that age should have no boundaries.
I hope Catherine had as much fun researching her novel as I did reading it - I know I would have!
You can buy The Gin Shack on the Beach here. Alcoholic beverage optional.
About the Author
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 Carina UK. There is a possibility she has aged remarkably in that time. Her debut novel, Waiting For You, came out in March 2016, and her latest, All That is Left of Us, is out now.
Catherine was a NHS physiotherapist, but for health reasons (Uveitis and Sarcoidosis) she retired early from this career. As she loved her physiotherapy job, she decided if she couldn't do that she would pursue her writing dream. It took a few years and a couple of babies, but in 2015 she won the Katie Fforde bursary, was a finalist in the London Book Fair Write Stuff Competition and highly commended in Woman magazine's writing competition. Soon afterwards she signed with Carina. Soon after that, she collapsed in a heap and was eventually revived by chocolate.