Sowing Secrets by Trisha Ashley

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Sowing Secrets by Trisha Ashley

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Fairhead
Reviewed by Sue Fairhead
Summary: An enjoyable book, once I got used to the writing style which felt almost like blogging. A warm and sympathetic main character, and a satisfying ending.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 496 Date: March 2008
Publisher: Avon
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1847560117

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Fran March has a lovely home, a growing business which she enjoys: creating cards, calendars and cartoons, a gorgeous husband, and a daughter just off to university. She also has some good friends, a good-natured - if eccentric - mother, and a thriving rose garden. Admittedly she's put on a few pounds in recent years, and her husband Mal - who's somewhat obsessive/compulsive - drops the odd snide remark about her weight. Also there's a mystery surrounding the question of who her daughter's father is... but other than that, life is really rather good.

Then Fran's daughter Rosie starts asking more pointed questions about her mother's first serious boyfriend Tom, and the one-night-stand with an unknown gardener from which she probably resulted. And Fran receives an email, out of the blue, from Tom - bigblondsurferdude - who came across her new website. Then, when she watches a gardening programme on television with her friends, she is pretty sure that the presenter is the guy she once spent a night with and never saw again.

Just to complicate matters further, Mal is offered a six-month contract abroad, and their neighbours institute a campaign of humliation against Fran. Oh, and Gabriel Weston, the TV presenter, is interested in restoring the garden at the stately home belonging to one of Fran's friends...

So there are several strands to this novel, which weave gently - or not so gently, at times - together. I suppose it's a typical sort of chick-lit-for-the-middle-aged novel, a genre which I am find myself enjoying more and more. I'm pleased to report that there's no violence, no explicit sex, no bad language, and not even a whole lot of shopping, despite the back cover of the book having a content guide which insists this is a tear-jerker with thrills, drama, and sex. It does also admit honestly to love, humour and friendship.

I found the writing style a bit confusing, to start with. There's a mixture of past and present tense, and it's all written very informally. I wasn't sure quite how to take this, at first, then it struck me that it's written rather like an ongoing blog. Fran narrates the story, telling us her thoughts and concerns as well as what's going on in her life, and each new section moves ahead a day or two. Once I'd got used to it, I found it very effective.

By the time I was half-way through, I found myself very involved in all the subplots, wondering what would happen, and warming more and more to Fran. She's really a very likeable woman who desperately wants to hold her marriage together. There were unexpectedly amusing moments that made me smile, and a satisfying ending after a slightly surprising climax to the book.

All in all, I'd recommend it to anyone who likes this kind of novel. My thanks to the publishers for sending it.

Further reading suggestion: The Scent of Water by Alison Hoblyn, Blue Slipper Bay by Wendy K Harris and Sweet Nothings by Trisha Ashley

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


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