I bought this and another of Fiona Walkers books at ASDA for around £3 each if I remember rightly. The RRP is £6.99.
Tongue in cheek was published in 2006.
The prologue describes Diana (who is to become a main character) 18th birthday, the events that unfold and what drove her away from her home and the man she loved.....
Described as a 'rompalong tale' Tongue in cheek tells the story of three very different families who all move into the Oddlode valley on the same day.
First we have Mo; the new teacher at Oddlode primary and Pod her boyfriend, an famous ex-jockey. They move into number 4 horseshoe cottages and quickly become the locals favourite pair to gossip about as their nosy neighbour Gladys keeps an eye on their every move. They have a temptuous relationship but are obviously madly in love.
They have moved here for a fresh start.
Next we have Diana Lampeter who is moving back here to her childhood home, she comes with two young children and moves into her brother Rorys cottage. Newly divorced, she is trying to get every penny she can out of her ex husband. The locals wish she had stayed away as when she left more than 20 years ago she broke the heart of her first love.
Last but not least, the Brakespear family. Consisting of Graham; the new owner of the local haulage company, his Danish wife Anke; another famous ex-jockey and their children Chad; the youngest, Faith; a hormonal teenager and Magnus; the oldest of the three, already the new village heartthrob!
They have moved to the area to be closer to Ankes aging father; Ingmar who owns the local bookshop.
This does seem to be a lot of characters to keep track of but it's easy as they are so different, the author manages in these 674 pages to let us get to know each and every one of the characters in the story.
She doesn't waffle on with descriptions but the way she writes really lets you feel like you are there, as a friend, in the midst of all these people, getting to know them.
All three newcomers lives seem to entwine in the following pages, Diana seems to be after bad boy Pod, ever-faithful Mo has an unhealthy interest in Graham, Pod has his eye on Rorys girlfriend.....
In the few weeks after they have all moved in there seem to be a disproportionate amount of fires in the tiny village, some of the older locals believe Diana's return has awoken old ghosts, others think it is Graham behind these fires which all seem to be close to his business and home.
This is your usual chick-lit with more sex than you can shake a stick at but behind all that is a more sinister tone and you long to know about these 'ghosts' of Oddlode, Firebrand is said to be a flaming spirit and also the often mentioned 'Pleasure Garden', what is it? what powers does it hold? who has been there?
This is a tale of infidelity, love, passion and the fact the past should stay buried.
I had never read one of Walkers novels before but will definitely be picking up more now.
Available for £5.99 from Amazon or probably cheaper in your local supermarket, definitely worth checking out.
**Interesting fact to note, after reading this you will fantasise about this 'Pleasure garden' and in the thanks at the beginning of the book it mentions 'the Yorkshire phantom-riders and spook-walkers who took me to the pleasure garden' So now i'm going to research that further!!
I picked up this book as light holiday reading. It was recommended to me as being similar to a Jilly Cooper novel, which it is - but perhaps better suited to a modern reader.
It follows the tale of three women who move to the same rural area on the same day - and much bed-hopping follows. Passions are ignited, and hearts broken, with a murder mystery plot flickering away in the background.
I was thoroughly engrossed in this novel for the first few days of my holiday - I couldn't put it down. It was wonderful escapism into a world of affluence, beautiful horses, and attractive men. All the characters were written in a sympathetic manner, so the reader feels empathy for them all at some point in the story.
No - it's not a great work of fiction. But frankly, when a book is as fun as this - who cares? I certainly couldn't put it down, and I had to keep turning the pages to find out what happened next. It is priced at £6.99 - pretty standard in the fiction category - but you do get a good thick blockbuster for your money.
The cover does let the book down, however. The saccharin pastel image of a woman picking flowers was a far cry from the raciness of the book itself - so don't let that put you off. I'm not quite sure where the title came from either - it's not particularly well suited.
I paid £5.99 for this book, which is pretty standard as far as book prices go.
I can't wait to read the rest of the series now!
In the past I have read several of Fiona Walkers books. I particularly enjoyed Snap Happy, French Relations and Kiss Chase. Some books by Fiona Walker take a lot of reading. The book I am reviewing here - Tongue In Cheek - is one of them. Walker tends to fill her books with characters. Some of her books cross over with characters from other books but there is usually a central character to each book. I currently don't have a great deal of time to read and so this book took me around 4 months to get through!!
~~So whats the story?~~
Tongue in Cheek is set in the Oddlode Valley. This is made up of several small villages, Upper Springlode, Oddlode etc - you get the idea. There is a map at the beginning of the book to set the scene.
There is a prologue to begin the book which is set in the past and as you go through the book the relevance of this becomes more apparent. Chapter One begins with 3 new sets of people moving into the area. These characters then become central to the story. First of all is recently separated Diana Lampeter and her children Mim and Digby. Diana grew up in the valley and has been forced to move back to live with her brother Rory Midwinter after the breakdown of her marriage. Also moving in are young teacher Mo Stillitoe and her ex jockey boyfriend Pod Shannon. The 3rd group are one time Olympic dressage rider Anke Brakespear and her second husband Graham. Anke has 3 children Faith, Magnus and Chad, the latter being Grahams son also.
The book then sets about explaining events that occur over the next few days that introduce the characters to one and another and give the reader more information about them. This is where Fiona Walkers style of writing sometimes makes reading a little heavy going. As well as the central characters, there are many others in the book. These are introduced one by one within the flux of the story. It took me a fair few chapters to get to grips with who was who. The majority of the characters have a link in some way with horses. Be it jockeys, riding schools, hunting or breeding.
Many of the characters are from Dianas past. Diana was passionately in love with Amos Gates in her youth and he now lives with his wife in the village. Their past is central to the story and is not revealed completely until the very end of the book. The relationship between Pod and Mo is extremely passionate and fiery and it breaks down, with both having affairs with other characters. Graham has bought the local machinery yard Dulston's and his relationship with his wife Anke is also on the rocks.
As well as the extra marital goings on, numerous fires are started mysteriously. This spurs talk of ghosts from the past and a character known as 'Firebrand or Falstaff'. Diana and Amos share the secret of the pleasure garden the importance of which becomes clear within the story.
The story is very complicated but by the end of the book it is all explained. I have only touched on the characters within the book and there are numerous others all with their own past and secrets. The author usually focuses her stories around a central character but with this book this is not the case. This makes it difficult to keep track of whos who and whos doing what. Eventually the characters do develop enough to distinguish them but the first few chapters were definately hard work.
~~Is it any good?~~
As I said at the beginning this book took me a long time to read. I have hardly ever put a book down part way through as I always try to get to the end no matter how hard I find it. Im stubborn like that! A few chapters into this book, I was severely tempted to give up, but I persevered and eventually it got going. I enjoyed the second half of the book more. The end of the book bought all the bits together and it concluded well. This book has 674 pages of small print and if you have plenty of time to read, its worth a look. But its definitely not your easy going chick lit.
The book price is £6.99, I didn't pay this as it was on offer in my local Morrisons store. The paperback was published in 2006 and so you could probably pick up a second hand copy fairly cheaply on Ebay or Amazon.