There’s a Trisha Ashley book out tomorrow and as she’s one of my favourite authors, I thought I’d pull together a post of my writing about her.
The new book is a reissue of one of her early novels. I managed to borrow Happy Endings from the library back in the day, but others haven’t been so fortunate. It’s now called Written from the Heart and tells the story of Tina Devino, a not as successful as she’d like author and book doctor, and her somewhat tangled love life. The introduction tells me it’s been polished and tweaked here and there rather than rewritten. I’m midway through reading it and so far that seems like a fair description. But it has been a while since I read it.
I’ve written a fair few Trisha posts over the years, but I think my favourite book of hers is still the first one I read, A Winter’s Tale, which combines several of my favourite things – a big old house in trouble, a heroine with A Past, a suave yet plausible rogue and a hidden hottie just waiting to be noticed. I’ve written recently about how much I miss so-called Chick Lit and this is the sort of book I mean: the heroine is feisty, the writing is funny, the characters are appealing and the fact that Sophie ends up with a bloke is a happy consequence: she’s already saved the house on her own.
In fact all of the books set around that little bit of Lancashire are like that. I don’t mean that they’re all saving stately homes, obviously, but they’re all heroines with a problem, who fix it themselves and get a relationship out of it as a bonus. Several of them intertwined as well with brief glimpses of previous characters as a little Easter egg for the faithful. A lot of them were published before I started the blog – so I don’t have reviews to link you to on here – but A Winter’s Tale, Wedding Tiers, The Magic of Christmas and Chocolate Wishes are all set in and around the same patch.
More recently the novels have shifted slightly, with a little more tragedy in the backstory and a little bit more angst in the present. We’re not talking terminal cancer diagnoses for the heroines though – think more towards Lucy Dillon and less towards Katie Fforde. But they are still very readable and I enjoy them a lot and writing this post has made me notice how gradual that shift has been.. Anyway – to the links:
Every Woman for Herself – Another early Trisha re-released a few years back and the origin of the running Skint Old Northern Woman newsletter/Magazine that pops up through her novels. Charlie is returning to her childhood home after a break up and discovers that an actor has moved into the neighbourhood.
Creature Comforts – A secret past and a dog rescue in trouble, Izzy is trying to restart her own life, help her beloved aunts and regenerate the village she’s returned to. Set in Lancashire, this in a new village rather than the ones around Winter’s End.
A Christmas Cracker – probably not the season for this, but Trisha has always done a good line in festive novels. This one features a heroine who is just out of prison (but there are Reasons for that) and a christmas cracker business that needs saving.
Little Teashop of Lost and Found – Alice was abandoned on the moors as a baby – now she’s back, setting up a teashop near where she was found and looking for answers.
The House of Hopes and Dreams – Trisha’s most recent (new) novel. Carey’s longtime partner has died and his son has kicked her out of their home and their stained glass business. So she goes to stay with an old friend who is recovering from a motorbike accident. She sets up on her own and finds herself as well as a new start.