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VINE VOICEon 25 August 2012
Friendships that start at school can last a lifetime. That is the case for Josie and Libby. Thrown together when Josie having lost both her parents has to start at a new school now she lives with her Granny in a cottage in Neatslake, Lancashire. It is up to Libby to show her round and befriend her. Then they probably did not realise how life was going to turn out for them both. But friendships like theirs never dies.

Some years later Libby returns to the village she never thought she would, with two marriages behind her which left her very comfortably off and one rather sulky teenager daughter, she falls head over heels with a man who is selling the crumbling house she always wanted to live in. Can she now save this house and find happiness back there?

Josie, has never left she has become part of the village and village life. The cottage becoming hers when her Granny dies. She continues to plant, weed and harvest in her garden. Her products are turned into cakes, pies, jams and some particularly lethal pea pod wine. On the side she makes the most magnificent and rather eclectic quirky wedding cakes. Then she spends her time writing wry observations about her almost self sufficient life for an online magazine. Which also chronicles her time with the Artist. Ben is his name and he has been a part of Josie's life since she arrived in the village.

What more could these two women want? Well actually it is not a case of what they want but what others want and what develops is a true Trisha Ashley story where everyone pitches in to help with the latest project, in this case Libby's new business adventure. Then when Josie's life is turned upside down, she suddenly sees what she may have been missing since living in Neatslake and not venturing really any further than the end of her garden.

In fact the book is so rich in content, like Josie's produce that it is far too easy to give something away unintentionally. All I will say is, if you are looking for a novel that has it all, life's ups and down's, romance, cooking, quirky individuals and where dreams come true through sheer hard work then you can do no wrong in picking up this novel. It is a really chunky novel at over 350 pages and for that you are getting so much! Enjoy.
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Josie lives an apparently idyllic existence in a small village in Lancashire with her artist boyfriend Ben. She makes wedding cakes to individual designs, grows her own fruit and veg and runs a barter system with her neighbours. A friend from her schooldays - Libby - returns to the village a rich widow wanting to buy the local manor house. Josie feels her life is going just how she wants it to but fate has some surprises in store not the least of which is society photographer Noah - a friend of Libby's.

How Josie deals with her problems and continues with her eco-friendly lifestyle makes fascinating reading. There is much humour in the story and the descriptions of growing vegetables and recycling everything possible as well as the camaraderie in the village make you want to sell everything and move somewhere similar. The characters are very human with their own share of faults and virtues. I loved Josie - grumpy when she has to dress up and never happier than when she is tending her garden and the hens in her dungarees and rainbow knitted hoodie. This is a real feel good story with Trisha Ashley at her best.
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on 8 March 2012
This book, just like all the other Trisha Ashley books I have read has the feel good factor about it.
Her heroines are very much the same in each novel, namely down to earth women who love producing and preparing food and who know a thing or two about all other household duties. They are also a bit insecure about their own feminine charm until Mr. Right comes along to give them love and care, taking them by surprise.
One can find the same heroine recepie in each novel and the same plot recepie as well. However, the fact that the heroines and the plots are predictable has not made me stop reading TA's novels. On the contrary, I want more. There is something so refreshing about the food recepies discussed and about an ideal picture postcard village world present in all of them. It is like eating very good chocolate: one wants more of the same.
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on 11 July 2012
Josie and Ben have been together since they met in their teens. All of a sudden their blissful bubble well and truly bursts with Ben's adultery and more importantly a baby on the way despite knowing that Josie yearned for a baby and he refused to undergo tests to find out why they couldn't get pregnant. With Ben off the scene, Josie is left with her wedding cake business and helping out her best friend with her fledgling wedding venue hire business, a joyful combination when Josie is feeling very anti love. Josie has help getting over Ben with celeb photographer Noah and a 1 night stand and a friendship with a soap star. Josie also becomes the star of a TV series along with Aggie, her hen. Lots of gritty real live stuff in this book, along with lovey dovey moments as well, gorgeous book.
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on 3 February 2012
I've read a few of Trisha's books now, and this rates up at the top of them in quality.

I won't go over the plot, but I will say just how believable the characters are: Josie, Libby, Noah, Henry and the rest. I love how characters from previous books (including the Magic of Christmas/Sweet Nothings and A Winter's Tale) fit into this one so I warn you not to read this before those at it might give some of those plots away!

Trisha writes so well, and this was another story that I just couldn't put down. I should say that there were typos in the Kindle edition - the first time I have come across them in a Trisha Ashley Kindle book. Nothing too bad but missing full stops and speech marks here and there. But that isn't the author's fault!

I loved this book and was sad to see it end - I'd appreciate a sequel to follow up on Josie's life and the exciting plans she was making at the end of the book.
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on 21 October 2014
I again was surprised how I enjoyed this book which is based around two friends from school who went their different ways but we're brought together by a lovely old house which came up for sale. There were parts involving delicious and inventive cooking and complex characters were put in the mix to make you want to carry on reading. This story cleverly mentions old friends from a previous book which makes it more complete and I am left with wanting to read more about village life in Trisha Ashley' s imagination.
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on 21 May 2010
There are so many great authors around these days, you are spoiled for choice. Here is yet another one I have recently discovered. I thought 'Wedding Tiers' would be a good read as my youngest daughter is getting married this summer, and it was delightful. I also sent it to a friend who made my own wedding cake in 1977, because she would appreciate not only the cake-making side of the story, but there are so many other facets to Trisha Ashley's characters that make them interesting to her readers. This is the second of her books I have read, choosing 'Chocolate Wishes' for myself and my eldest daughter for Easter, as a non-calorie gift! We both thoroughly enjoyed this story, but be warned - you find yourself wanting to curl up with the book AND a box of chocolates!
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on 11 July 2015
Sorry, gave up on this less than halfway through. Nothing happened, the characters were boring and I kept forgetting who was who, they were all the same non entities. It was just a lot of senseless boring chit chat between bland characters and I've forgotten the plot so can't remember what it was about. There are much better novels out there from Trisha Ashley so buy those and bypass this one.
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on 8 June 2012
TRISHA ASHLEY a name i will look out for more on the bookshelf as this was the secound book iv read and loved it ..i like her country style living in her books and the magic of a great community where people are there for one another it is simply wonderful..the main star of this book for me would be josie she is a great main character that loves the self sufficant life and works it really well altho she has highs and lows in her life all things come to those that wait..and i certainly cant wait for another of this authors books very good indeed ..
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on 23 April 2012
I read a lot of romance novels and they are often quite similar, enjoyable, they pass the time, one merges into another... However, the character Ben, the artist, really stood out for me in this book, the story surrounding him is a little nastier than you usually find in romance books.

Trishia Ashley is not one of my favourite contemporary romance authors but I've read a few of her books and will probably read more. I don't find her books memorable and would choose a Katie Fforde over one of Trishia Ashley's books if there was something I hadn't yet read.
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