Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Wedding Tiers by Trisha Ashley

Growing up in the beautiful village of Neatslake, Joise Gray and her childhood sweetheart, Ben Richards, always dreamt of a life of rural bliss. And when Josie inherits her beloved grandmothers cottage, it seems like all their dreams are coming true.

The tranquil village turns into a hive of activity with the return of Josies childhood friend, Libby Martin, now a wealthy widow. Soon, Libby and Josie are hard at work at their fledging wedding business, with Josie dreaming up all manner of wonderful creations; from a fashionista cake - complete with icing Manolos - to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

But amidst all this romance, Josie's fairytale relationship with Ben turns into a nightmare, and she quickly becomes loves number one cynic. Until charming wedding photographer Noah Sephton arrives in Neatslake...

Can this hopeless romantic persuade pessimistic Josie to give romance one more try?

Or will be be a case of always the cake maker, never the bride...?

*Contains Spoilers*
I've had Wedding Tiers stuck on my bookshelf for what feels like months and with the wedding season upon us I decided now was as good a time as any to get stuck in to it.

Although for me the book was a little slow to get into, Trisha Ashley set the story up really well with a prologue titles 'Ends and Beginnings, 1983'.
To start we are introduced to Josie, the main female character, as a young girl waking up in hospital after a horrific crash which killed her parents. Josie is taken in by her grandmother and starts a new school, where she meets her best friend Libby and long life partner Ben.

As we then go through the book, the story, told from Josie herself, tells you about her life with Ben. Ben splits his time between Neatslake and London as he tries to make his name as an established artist, whilst Josie stays at the cottage looking after their fruit and veg patch, enabling them to live a self sufficient life. 

At times the book was a little predictable too, like I'd worked out a few chapters before, that Ben was having an affair, but there were surprises too... I wasn't expecting Ben's new bit of stuff to fall pregnant, which as you go further through the book is the one thing Josie wants. There's also other little bursts of surprises which keep you reding on.

Josie instantly throws Ben out and after getting completely drunk one night, sleeps with Noah. Noah is the complete opposite to Ben and like most good romantic stories, Josie and Noah have a happy ever after but I won't tell too much of that as it comes after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, plus in the meantime.... Libby gets married and also has a brainwave of opening her barn for other weddings, as her and Josie throw themselves into making this business work alongside Josies own wacky cake making venture, you can see Josie and Noah's relationship bloom. 
There's also Ben trying to win Josie back and then her keeping a secret from her best friend, Uncle debating whether to emigrate or not, and the local TV soap start trying it on...It all happens in Neatslake!! 

What I really liked about this book is at the start of each chapter there is a little extract from 'Cake and Ale' which is Josie's column for a country magazine and tells all about what's she's growing or doing with her veg and fruit at that time, and despite the book being wedding themed and suitable for this time of year as I originally thought, these little extracts move the story forward through Christmas and Easter too so you could easily pick this up and read literally whenever!

There's also a real warm, kind...humbling feel to the book. 
Josie's neighbours don't have much money and so she provides them with imaginary acorns, if they help out in some way they earn these acorns which in turn can be used as bartering tools for cakes, biscuits, jams, pickles or whatever else Josie is making at the time.

There are some really lovely relationships through the story, from love breaking down to love blossoming, friendship and family. The closeness of Josie and Uncle came over really well, and there's also Libby and her daughter who aren't particularly close but with Josies gentle intervening you see Pia warm to her mum.

Although I found this a little slow and predictable at time, it didn't stop me enjoying the story, and personally the way it's left (uncles new life, babies and business for instance), I feel Trisha could easily wrote a follow up novel as I'd be interested to read how the individual lives panned out...

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