Review of 'Bluebell Season At The Potting Shed' - Jenny Kane
The second instalment of the Potting Shed series continues the story of Maddie and Sabi and their fight to keep the might of the BIG corporation at bay. Whereas in Frost Falls At The Potting Shed focused very much on the dual battles between the two businesses and between the sisters themselves, in Bluebell Season the family is presenting a more united front with regards to the business and it is personal relationships which drive the plot. Sabi's past comes back to haunt her, as does Jo's, albeit in a very different way, whilst Maddie is caught in the middle of all the drama, trying to ensure her relationship with Ed progresses as it should.
Jake and Petra make cameo appearances, but I hope that they will continue to be involved in future books, as I think the development of their relationship and Jake's continuing commitment to improving his literacy are provide a solid subplot which underpins many of the other relationships and storylines. In much the same way as the side (I won't call them minor as that does them a huge disservice) characters in Mill Grange became much loved, Jake and Petra are establishing themselves as integral parts of the series. So many people undervalue their skills and intelligence for similar reasons as Jake, that I think having this represented in fiction is vital.
The other aspect of Bluebell Season that I find interesting is the introduction of the character of Davina 'Ditzy' Ditz. Reference is made to the fact that as a celebrity she has to do a certain amount of publicity that is directed by her agent/management team and that anything she 'wants' to do, has to be run past them first. We've had a similar experience recently with regards to a local charity organisation and the whole process made me realise quite how much control is taken away from artists when they become 'big'. A celebrity can't do things in their local community, however much they might want to, because their management won't allow it. Authors can't necessarily sell their own books in the way they might want to because it has to go through their publisher. Singers can't perform in small gigs because it would be bad for their image as it might make them look less successful than they are. Introverts have to brace themselves to do book signings, meet and greet sessions etc. It's a side of success that the general public don't necessarily think about and that creative people don't always consider when they are pursuing their dream.
With Jenny's books it's not unusual for me to go down these rabbit-holes of musing about different aspects of life and Bluebell Season is no exception to this. I don't want to go into too much detail, as I don't want to include spoilers, but there are issues raised which will make people think more carefully about their own behaviour. In a world where it is so easy to form quick judgements about both people and their behaviour, we should all aim to be a little more 'Jem'.
To check out Jenny's other books, as well as her fantastic blog, head over to www.jennykane.com