Book review: Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues by Trisha Ashley

Easing yourself into a Trisha Ashley novel is rather like slipping into a comfortable – but very sparkly – pair of shoes.

Thursday, 17th May 2012, 7:00 am

So how apt that her new warm, wise and winsome winner dishes up everything a girl could want ... romance, chocolate and fashion shoes to die for!

Good old northern humour is the key to Lancashire-born Ashley’s cuddly and clever chick-lit, and there’s a shoe shop full of love and laughs in this cosy, heart-warming story of a modern day Cinderella.

Ashley fans will be over the moon that she returns here to the fictional Lancashire village of Sticklepond, the setting for an earlier novel, Chocolate Wishes. It’s a place where ordinary people find that life doesn’t always go to plan.

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As always, she assembles a cast of rogues, romantics and eccentrics and lets them loose in a complex web of relationships, obstacles and disturbing discoveries.

And to make her story even more entertaining, Ashley simply can’t resist throwing into this magical mix some of Sticklepond’s favourite faces, a surfeit of the feelgood factor and a batch of her very own, exclusive and tasty cake recipes.

Starring role is the lovely Tansy Poole who takes over a rundown shoe shop tucked away in Sticklepond. Before long, Cinderella’s Slippers is born, a modern and ultra glitzy shop providing footwear to make any fairytale wedding come true.

The up-and-coming store has everything a bride would want to walk in as she heads off down the aisle in but, not content to rest on her laurels, Tansy expands her business to include shoe-themed wedding and bridesmaid gifts and even delicious chocolate footwear. It’s the dream destination for any shoe-lover.

If only everything in her personal life could be as heavenly. But with a fiancé trying to make her fit into a size 8 wedding dress, a prospective mother-in-law from hell, not to mention the recent discovery of disturbing family revelations, Tansy takes refuge in the shop’s success.

However, there’s one person who isn’t thrilled by the stream of customers hot-footing it to Cinderella’s Slippers. Actor Ivo Hawksley, who lives in the cottage next door to the shop, is troubled by a dark secret in his past and has come to Sticklepond to nurse a broken heart.

As Ivo realises that he and Tansy have a link in their past, they both find out how secrets shared can make a very strong bond indeed…

With best supporting roles going to Tansy’s delectable Aunt Nan, whose past informs Tansy’s future, and their lovely and lovable friend Bella, Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues is a real tasty treat full of strong characters, delicious plotlines and impish humour.

And if you would like to meet the creator of this northern gem, drop into Waterstone’s at Ormskirk this Saturday (May 19th) between 1pm and 3pm when Ashley will be signing copies of her book.

(Avon, paperback, £6.99)