Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues by Trisha Ashley

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Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues by Trisha Ashley

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Fairhead
Reviewed by Sue Fairhead
Summary: A light village story about a shoe shop, a depressed actor, a writer whose boyfriend betrayed her, and an elderly lady with a secret in her past. Predictable, with an irritating number of exclamation marks, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 408 Date: May 2012
Publisher: Avon
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781847562777

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Tansy was brought up by her great-aunt Nancy, who is in her nineties at the start of this book. Tansy lives with her fiancé Justin, but time is racing by and she is beginning to despair of ever getting married or having babies. Justin is under his demanding mother's thumb, and Tansy loves getting away to the village where her great aunt owns a small shoe shop.

Then Tansy learns a shocking secret which pretty much destroys any feelings she has for Justin. She goes to live with Nancy, who is becoming increasingly frail. She makes plans to turn the general shoe shop into a specialist wedding shoe shop and finds herself on bad terms with her new neighbour Ivo, who - by startling coincidence - is an old flame of hers. He has recently lost his wife and seems to be plunged into the depths of despair.

Alongside Tansy's story, which is told in the fast-paced and rather informal style that I've come to associate with Trisha Ashley, there are some anecdotes from Nancy's past - a prologue which hints at further secrets, and then the transcripts of some 'living archive' recordings that she makes in her later years, at the start of each chapter. There's also a final message for Tansy hinting at great drama. It works quite well as a device, although Nancy's revelations are not, in fact, a surprise when they finally appear.

It took me a few days to get into this book; there's rather a lot of background information given directly rather than in flashback, which made me feel a bit overloaded. Writing books tell authors to 'show' rather than 'tell' - in the first few chapters this is not followed, and I found myself unable to become interested in anyone. However, the pace soon picks up, and there is a lot more direct action and dialogue once Tansy has moved. Indeed, by the time I was half-way through, I was becoming more and more interested in the people, warming strongly to Tansy and her many friends.

An added bonus is that this story references some characters from a previous book - Chocolate Wishes - who are living in the same village. It's not necessary to have read that, though; this one stands alone. There's a kind of Cinderella theme underlying the story too, featuring two stepsisters who are far from ugly in appearance but seem to spend their time trying to undermine Tansy's confidence. There's quite a bit of Shakespeare, too.

The proof-reader/editor in me was irritated by an over-abundance of exclamation marks, and one place where the tenses suddenly switch from past to present - but they're minor quibbles. Overall I thought this is an enjoyable, nicely plotted village novel in the chick-lit style, but - happily - without any bad language, and without any detail at all about the inevitable bedroom scene.

Many thanks to the publishers for sending this book to The Bookbag.

If you like this kind of book, you might also enjoy Sowing Secrets, also by Tricia Ashley or perhaps The Scent of Water by Alison Hoblyn. We've also enjoyed Wish Upon a Star by Trisha Ashley.

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Buy Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues by Trisha Ashley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues by Trisha Ashley at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues by Trisha Ashley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues by Trisha Ashley at


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