Tansy returns to her home village and her Great Aunt, after the break up of a relationship, betrayal of siblings and having her self confidence and worth knocked out of her. Retreating back to Sticklepond to try and repair all that is broken with her life. Where there are people there who love her for all her quirkiness, whether it be clothing, work or passion for baking.
Tansy decides to bring to life her own Cinderella dream of opening a shoe shop that sells bridal shoes only, traditional, vintage and all that goes with it. As the business builds and “Here Comes the Bride” plays as the door opens to this new venture. However the past is not far behind, when an ex-love, Ivo moves in next door, now a ‘resting’ actor who has taken time out for a peaceful six months suddenly finds in the middle of a lot of romance from the shop door sounding and the peal of wedding bells. His gruff manner is appeased by walking Tansy’s dog and her baking the obsessive need to feed him up.
This is a modern day Cinderella tale– Tansy the main protagonist has the step-sisters, Marcia and Rae who are more than unpleasant they are so awful that I took an instant dislike to them as their characters almost came off the page; I had an overwhelming desire to smack them for their actions. For a while you perhaps think that Justin, a dashing doctor is Prince Charming but in fact he is the toad that all princesses have to kiss before finding their prince. He is on a par with the step sisters, and whilst some could admire his dogged determination in trying to win back Tansy, you do wonder how an intelligent man could not understand the clear message that Tansy was giving him. Tansy loses faith in ever finding Prince Charming; but then perhaps he comes in a different form that Tansy never believed.
There are many sub plots in this book some work and are weaved in well with the story; Bella, who is not looking for romance but it rings at the door. Tansy’s Great Aunt (Nan) Nancy who not only leaves her the family shoe shop but also an oral history of her life and past secrets on her own romantic notions of the past and how sisters were an unpleasant two generations ago. An interesting contrast you could say. Other sub plots jarred rather; the threat of an out of town outlet shopping centre was dropped in the story and seemed to be sorted out so quickly that it became irrelevant to the rest of the plot. For me it did not need to be there or needed to be developed a bit more to make more of an impact. Perhaps it would have fitted better in a sequel once Tansy and the shoe sop had been established? Ivo’s constant voice speaking in Shakespearean quotes was irritating although perhaps that was to be the point? Nonetheless it did not give him the depth that I perceive it was intended to do.
That said Trisha Ashley is on top form with this novel, and I loved it. Much escapism with old fashioned courtship and romance. Plenty of mouth watering descriptions of food, made me want to get up and bake. I want to live in Sticklepond and be part of it all. Familiar characters from her previous Sticklepond based novel Chocolate Wishes are featured and there is a wonderful familiarity about it all which makes it a great comforting read. A good Trisha Ashley novel to start with and if you are a fan you will appreciate the warmth and the gentle humour that is sprinkled throughout – rather like icing on a cake!
Read my review of Chocolate Wishes here.
I am working my way through Trisha Ashley novels and I could not wait for the new one to be released. It came at a time when I needed that wonderful feeling of curling up with a good book and forgetting what was going on outside of the pages. Which is why I think I can give it five stars on Amazon even though there were parts that I did not necessarily like which I have commented in my review above. It has certainly piqued my interest in baking again, not that it had really gone away – It was just the scales once on them tells me something completely different.
Coming Up on this blog – Trisha Ashley answers some questions on her books and writing.