I am a big fan of Trisha Ashley's work and I have read most of her collection, enjoying them all very much. Therefore when I was looking for a few new books I looked at Trisha's first as she is probably my favourite author.
The story begins with a prologue taking us back to the early 1980's and we meet Josie who is thirteen. She has very recently lost both of her parents in an accident and has come to live with her Grandmother in a small village called Neatslake. Understandably, Josies head is all over the place. She is grieving the loss of her parents and she is very nervous about starting a new school. The first day of school arrives and two fellow students make an impact on Josie - Ben who is a year older and all the girls seem to fancy and Libby who has been asked to look after Josie for her first week.
We then return to the current day and we learn that Josie is now living in her Grandmothers cottage with Ben as her Grandmother sadly passed away. Ben and Josie have been together since school but they hadn't married or had children yet. Next door lives 'Uncle' Harry who Josie is extremely fond of and she looks after him very well. Ben is an artist and Josie makes wedding cakes but the pair are mainly focussed on being self-sufficient.
Libby on the other hand has homes in both London and Pisa and has been the wife of two wealthy men. However, Libby was not a goldigger and you can see that she really did care for both of these men. Libby also has a daughter, Pia who is in her late teens and is going through a rebellious stage as the story begins.
Will Josie and Ben remain in self-sufficient bliss or will a shocking revelation come to light that turns their world upside down? Will Libby marry again or make peace with Pia?
As I stated previously I had very high expectations of this book and I was not disappointed. A lot of Trisha's books are quite similar, usually focussing around a woman living in the country with an interest in gardening and baking. However, she manages to make all of the characters diverse enough in order to ensure the books are not repetative of their predecesors.
I warmed to the character of Josie instantly as she is a very loveable and down to earth and you can see she really values her life in Neatslake and really tries to look after those around her. Initially I did like the character of Ben but relatively early on in the story he began to annoy me by his actions, giving the impression that he and Josie were growing apart.
The plot flowed very well and although it wasn't action packed there was always plenty going on to hold your attention and to keep you reading. The writing style is very laid back and informal and sometimes it really does feel as though you are hearing the story being read aloud.
The only negative about this book is that it is very predictable in places and you are able to guess straight away what is going to happen next.
The book was published in 2009 by Avon.
It has 416 pages.
The book is available from Amazon for £5.17 or the Kindle version is available for just 99p!
Josie is living a life of self-sufficiency with her long-term partner, Ben, and enjoying her sideline of creating weird and wacky wedding cakes - until a shock revelation turns her world upside down. Just before this, her childhood friend, Libby, makes a surprise return to the village, promptly gets engaged and sets about planning her next wedding, which of course Josie is making the cake for! Having been with Ben since she was thirteen, Josie quickly loses faith in love. Will new arrival Noah be able to change her mind?
Although Josie is the main character and the book is written in the first person, it also follows some of the other characters, particularly Libby, Noah and Uncle Harry. While we don't get any first person insights into their thoughts, I liked the fact that Josie's first person narrative didn't focus solely on herself, and there were paragraphs or longer sections updating us on various other characters. I'd probably class this as a chick lit book but the writing style isn't as light and fluffy as a lot of chick lit novels. It's still an easy read and feels as though Josie is talking directly to the reader.
As for the characters themselves, I really engaged with Josie as a protagonist. I initially sympathised with Ben's reluctance to propose despite the length of their relationship, and this sympathy deepened when the revelation came to light. I admired the way she pulled herself together and get on with her life. Ben himself was not a very likeable character. He seemed incredibly self-centred and full of his own self-worth, especially in relation to the way that he reacted after the revelation came to light. I honestly couldn't find anything redeeming about his character and presumed that Josie had previously been blinded to his faults.
Libby was an interesting character. The blurb on the back cover described her as a wealthy widow and having read that she had previously had two rich older husbands, I initially had her down as a golddigger. This assumption turned out to be quite wrong as she didn't give this vibe at all after her return to the village, despite planning a pretty big wedding. Her support of Josie throughout the book was touching and lovely to see.
I didn't warm to Noah at first, mainly because of Libby's reminders that he was a bit of a womaniser but his character grew on me as he became more of a prominent feature of the book.
As you've probably guessed by now, I really enjoyed this book. I'd never read anything by Trisha Ashley before but I've made a mental note to look her up and see what else she's written now. My only criticism was the rather predictable ending, which I suspected long before it happened but most chick lit books fall into this category so it's not a major minus point. All in all, I'd thoroughly recommend this book.
Growing up in the beautiful Lancashire village of Neatslake, Josie Gray and her childhood sweetheart, Ben Richards, have always dreamt of living a life of rural self-sufficiency. And when Josie inherits her beloved Grandmother's cottage, it seems they might just have got what they wished for. Josie throws herself into her wedding cake business, whilst Ben supports himself as an artist.
But the tranquil village turns into a hive of activity when Josie's childhood friend, Libby Martin - now a wealthy widow - returns to the village, planning a lavish wedding to rival any celeb bash. The day goes with a bang, and soon Libby and Josie are hard at work at their fledgling wedding business, hiring out Libby's beautiful Elizabethan home for ceremonies, with Josie creating all manner of wonderful cakes.
But amidst all this romance, Josie's fairytale relationship with Ben turns into a nightmare, and she quickly becomes Love's number one cynic - until charming wedding photographer, Noah Sephton, arrives in Neatslake, with a very different outlook on love!
Can this hopeless romantic persuade pessimistic Josie to give romance another try? Or will it be a case of always the cake maker, never the bride!?
Wedding Tiers is my first Trisha Ashley novel and tells the story of Josie, a cakemaker, who lives with her childhood sweetheart Ben. Back in the village is Libby, Josie's best friend and together they start a wedding business. But as the business takes off, Ben & Josie's relationship falls apart and Josie becomes loves number one cynic. Until Noah Sephton arrives on the scene...
I absolutely loved Wedding Tiers. Katie Fforde is quoted on the back cover saying "One of the best writers around!" and she isn't far wrong. Wedding Tiers is told in first person and is a very quick and enjoyable read.
I loved reading about the weird and wonderful cakes Josie made, it was a very interesting insight into cake making. I also enjoyed reading snippets of her 'Cakes & Ale' column at the beginning of each chapter, it was very well done.
I thought Josie was a brilliant character. I found her likeable and thought her narrative throughout the story was well written. I also loved the character of Libby - in the prologue she seemed as if she just wanted money and lots of it but that was completely wrong and she was a brilliant character.
I enjoyed Noah and how he gradually came into the book more and more. He started out a slowburner and turned into a fully fledged character halfway through the novel and I liked that. I liked the sparring between him and Josie.
I found Ben incredibly irritating and undeserving of Josie. I found him shallow and very annoying.
Then there are all the other character - the three Graces, whom I loved; Uncle Harry who was really great and I was worried for him throughout the whole book! I liked he got his happy ending; Dorrie; Tim; Pia.
I really enjoyed how the novel was centered not only on Josie, Libby, Noah and co. but also on the other villagers in Neatslake. It definitely gives a wider view of village life. Not only do we get to read about those in Neatslake but we also read about characters from Trisha's previous novel, A Winters Tale.
The only downside is the fact I should have read A Winter's Tale first as Wedding Tiers does give the ending of A Winter's Tale away but that's not really a problem. Aside from that I loved the book.
I loved how Josie was self-sufficient and willing to take on anyone. I wish Josie could have taken on Ben's mother - she irritated me and she was barely in the novel!
I also like that fact you can try Josie's recipes as they're located at the back of the book. A nice touch from the publishers/Trisha.
Overall it was a very enjoyable read and one I would happily read again. I will definitely be looking out for more of Trisha's novels and can't wait to read A Winter's Tale!
Also posted at http://chicklitreviews.wordpress.com