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Sweet Nothings - Trisha Ashley

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      24.03.2013 10:37
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      Disappointing thriller

      ==Synopsis of the book:==

      Lizzie Pharamond is reaching a crossroads in her life. She has been unhappily married to Tom for years but with her son Jasper heading for University she feels she can move on and start a new life alone. As Tom she feels is not the man she married and they have drifted apart and they don't seem to like each other much now let alone love one another. He spends a lot of time away and she is convinced he is having an affair with a local woman.

      However, following another argument he disappears. Lizzie initially is not worried because he has done this for several days at a time in the past. But when the Police advise her he has died in a car accident having borrowed her vehicle she is shocked. It is only now that Lizzie starts to realise how popular he was with the ladies!! The Police treat this death as suspicious because one of the cars tyres came off causing the accident. Making Lizzie their prime suspect as earlier that day she had changed that same tyre after she discovered it was flat.

      ==My thoughts on this novel:==

      I found this a disappointing novel and a hard story to complete. I think part of the reason is I was expected a crime story and while yes there was a murder it did not seem the main part of the story. As it seemed more about Lizzie's life following Tom's death and how her life changed within a community where love and hate seemed very prevalent. So from that aspect I was disappointed but added to that I did not expect to be reading a story I would describe as a chic lit.

      Not that I have much against this style of book but I do find it quite hard to understand and get my head round the feeling and emotions expressed in this type of story. Luckily for me it was not just a chic lit as one of the best features about the story was the humour within it. Sometimes subtly, sometimes more obvious but always present and it was cleverly executed. So that even is serious situations you could see the funny side of what was going on and it certainly helped me through.

      Trisha Ashley is not an author I am familiar with. She is an English novelist who lives in North Wales. So far she has written 15 books with this book being the eighth of these and was first published in 2007. Her work has been compared with Sophie Kinsella and Katie Fforde, who wrote on the cover of the book that Trisha was one of the best writers around, a nice compliment I thought from an author who is competing in the same market.

      I know it probably sounds strange but I bought this book without actually seeing it. That is because at a house clearance there were several boxes of books for sale. So I bought this box that contained this one along with 19 others for ten pounds. This is the first time I have ever done this and I probably will not do it again as some of the books were in bad condition and some I simply would not read because of the subject matter does not interest me.

      Once I looked at the book I had a fair idea what one of the themes might be. As on the cover you had three cakes, this added to the title of 'Sweet Nothings' told me that cooking must be important within the story. And so it proved to be as Lizzie and Nick another key character where always cooking up treats or sharing recipes. For a non-cook like myself who can only heat up food you may think this would be a bit daunting but will it was a constant theme it was more in the background and did not bore me with too much information.

      I flipped the book over to read the summary of the story on the back cover. Unfortunately I discovered one of my bug bears praise for the authors work in general. I have no problem in raise for the book you are about to read by general praise is no use to me when I am just about the read this one. As most authors have in my opinion both good and sometimes bad books. Especially when this compliments are written by publications you have no heard off!!

      When I found the summary on the inside cover I was quietly impressed by it. It was a very good size three paragraphs long. But it was the scene it set that appealed to me, it talked about her difficult marriage to Tom and him dying in a car crash. But is also dealt with a few of the more interesting ideas within the story after this event. It certainly made we want to read it even though it kept bringing up the idea of cakes and puddings.

      When I started reading I found each new chapter would have a title that was food related such as 'totally bananas' and as I was to find out it was relevant to in some way to that chapter. Some of them were unusual and I wondered what and how they would be incorporated into the story. I found the story easy to get into and I quite liked the relaxed and amusing style of writing the author used. Initially the story dealt with the worsening relationship between Tom and Lizzie. It was written from Lizzie's view point so it was very easy to see that Lizzie deserved better than the way he was treating her and so when he did meet with his accident it was hard to have much sympathy for him.

      I found I liked to pace of the story and it was interesting especially in the after-mouth of Tom's death. I liked what happened and the suspects that came out of the woodwork who could have been involved in his accident. Some of the scenes at this point were very amusing and I liked the way the author cleverly produced wit in what was a serious and sometimes sad occasions.

      For me this was as good as it got because the story really moved away from the accident to focus on events such as the 'Mystery Play'. I had expected clearly quite wrongly more of a murder mystery. Instead the story moved on to deal with Lizzie and life back in this quite small community that not only had great characters but a lot happening within it. In a sense I found the rest of the story quietly predictable and that I always find disappointing. Even the answers to what happened to Tom for me was very obvious so lacked mystery from a long way before it was revealed.

      For me the longer the story went on the more like a witty chit lit it became. It was still entertaining but for me the love theme was too strong and not subtly enough. I would have liked a few additional surprises along the way as it was easy to see from at least half way through the story what would happen at the end of it. Additionally I found myself wondering quite often what date it was I was reading about. This was a bit of annoyance as I knew when the Mystery play was to be performed but not how close to it we were.

      Lizzie was the stories main character and it was basically written from her perspective. I liked her but found I had little in common with her. I found her humour good and I like the way she interacted with everyone and while she was a little naive she always saw the good in everyone. I liked the way she just got on with her life and didn't worry about the material world and what people think of you. I thought the author had a good insight into her characteristics and she made Lizzie into an interesting lady.

      I thought the length of the book was exactly right in the context of the story. And if this is to be considered a crime novel it was disappointing as there was so little mystery or suspense about it. If on the other hand it is considered as a chic lit it probably ticks all the boxes. Although for me it was far too predictable as to be enjoyable.

      ==Conclusion:==

      This is not a thriller that I feel I can recommend as it was lacking mystery and suspense. As a chit lit it was good but very obvious. The best part of the book was the humour which was cleverly used to turn even the saddest of occasions into a funny scene that could be pictured. This was my first experience of Trisha Ashley's work and I think she created a good story but fell between two stools as for me it was neither a crime story or a chit lit and as a result it frustrated me.

      ==Other Information:==

      Paperback version:

      Pages: 224
      Price 8.34
      Publisher: Severn House
      ISBN: 1847510037
      ISBN-13: 978-1847510030
      Year first published: 2007

      Thanks for reading my review.

      This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.

      © CPTDANIELS March 2013

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