Those who know me would be forgiven for thinking that I’m about to post about my Christmas plans. I am, however, today’s spot on the blog tour for Christmas at the Gin Shack by Catherine Miller
Today I am drinking Duromina, an Ethiopian filter coffee from Steampunk coffee roasters in Berwick. They brew an excellent bean but I’m disappointed today that it’s not gin.
Olive Turner is 84. Christmas is her favourite time of year, and this year, with the Gin Shack’s celebrations, she is set to have an extra special time. But it seems someone is out to sabotage her efforts: someone is hiding in her beach hut, playing unfunny jokes on her and making her think she’s losing her mind. More importantly: can she perfect the perfect gin cocktail in time to win the Christmas competition?
I have a huge soft spot for old people who do not go quietly into their retirement homes, but kick up a fuss and insist on enjoying themselves. And if it involves gin, all the better. Christmas at the Gin Shack is the perfect read for lovers of both hilarious old people and gin. It reminded me of (a more festive) The Little Old Woman Who Broke All The Rules.
From the start, it is fairly obvious that this isn’t the first book featuring this cast (that would be The Gin Shack on the Beach , which I fully intend to read in the near future). There is clearly a shared history between the characters and there are references to past adventures. You don’t need to have read the other book first, but I feel that it might add an extra something if you did.
Olive is an amazing character, from her gin fetish to purchasing a segway as a means of transport (why be boring and get a mobility scooter). She seemed a little interfering at times, especially in her son’s relationship, and has an opinion about absolutely everything and everyone around her, but she manages to pull it off and remain loveable. She and her friends are known as the Oakley West Trio (a backstory I need to know) and I fully intend to pull of similar adventures in gin with my own friends at that stage of our lives.
The story has a wonderful Christmas theme and enough family / friendship drama to keep you on your toes. There are a couple of bits where it gets really emotional (watch out for the death rattle scene) and there are many references to difficulties of being older and in poor health, but it’s mostly a feel-good story with lots of gin. It was a quick read for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed Olive’s adventures, and I hope there will be more of them for me to read in the future!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to try the gin recipes from the back of the book…
Christmas at the Gin Shack is available to buy now.
Thanks to HQ Digital for the review copy.