Fran thinks she has a lovely life, a husband, Mal who she still thinks is dashingly handsome, a lovely daughter, Rosie making her own way in t he world, her love of roses brought to bear in her own garden and her work as a cartoonist and artist, lovely friends and a rather eccentric mother. But like everyone Trish has secrets and for some reason everything is currently against her as life takes an unexpected turn.
Her daughter Rosie, was the result of a one night stand on the rebound after breaking up with her flighty boyfriend Tom, Fran is convinced well 99% convinced that this man Adam an alleged gardener is the father. Rosie is keen to know more, and no longer wants the fairy tales her mother has been telling her for the past few years. But will Rosie believe the truth?
Mal has made his own conclusions about this situation and seemingly tolerates his step daughter but only just. His life is structured, ordered and clean to the point of obsession. Everything that Fran and her family is not, but they have ‘rubbed’ along together nicely for a while. But now Mal is starting to develop a rather mean streak. Everything is not as it should be, cleanliness in the house, eggs not cooked correctly for his breakfast, toast burnt and Fran herself comes in for personal criticism (weight & clothes) as well. Mal was a most disagreeable character which I took an instant dislike to from the moment he was mentioned. Even when you feel Fran is trying to justify his actions to others, that perhaps we should feel sorry for him – I could not. I had an overwhelming desire to go and make a mess in his perfect life.
Everything only seems to be perfect when Mal is away and working and the true Fran comes out. When a local house asks for the help of TV’s Restoration Gardener to restore the gardens and make the house more profitable in walks a gardener which Fran is sure she has met before…….
Trisha Ashley manages to combine the romance of roses and gardens, weaved in with a village tale and family troubles into this one book. It was a good book to seek comfort with and although not as good as some of her later books as I felt the ending was rather rushed. Personally I wanted more about the restoration of the house and garden, but that is probably because that is of interest to me. The supporting characters were rather good and unlike other Trisha Ashley novels this one was not too laden with baking treats that made me want to cook in the middle of the night! Although the mention of cream horns, took me back to my childhood and nearly the cake shop!
If you have never read any Trisha Ashley before then this is as good as place as any to start. Please note this book was previously published in hardback as The Generous Gardener.
I am working my way through Trisha’s novels quite nicely and they have been a real comfort read these last few weeks when things have not been perhaps going to plan. For some reason, I am reading these books towards the weekend, and reading other genre books earlier in the week. On the settee with tea and cake is the best way to read them I am convinced. (The scales may not say that though!) I have one more on my shelf and another on my kindle so I am good for another couple of weekends at least!