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January 2019



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woman's magazine

A Winter's Tale

No, not Shakespeare: Trisha Ashley.


I picked this up at the library, knowing nothing about it, because it’s yet another book about an old house. Sophy Winter has spent years working for other people in historic houses when she inherits one of her own. There’s a classic chick lit set up when she gets there: attractive but horrible man and man she takes a dislike to but the reader knows is right for her. I liked all the detail in this book about the house, the furnishings and how they are restored plus a lot of information about reconstructing an historic garden.

This book is recommended for people who like Katie Fforde. I've enjoyed several of KF's books but her crown may be slipping. A Winter's Tale is much better than Stately Pursuits because of all the detail I've mentioned. This may be chick lit but it's very intelligently written (that's not meant to be as patronising as it sounds). I liked the way that all the elements are there for gothic horror; a ghost, a challenge to the inheritance, rivals in love but Sophy's common sense prevails in the manner of Georgette Heyer's stronger-minded heroines.

I should write in very small letters that I much preferred it to The Little Stranger; I'm going right off literary fiction in favour of the well written, unpretentiously enjoyable. Having said that, I've just picked up my library-ordered copy of this

I'm the very first person to read it! We'll see how I get on with 650 (gulp) pages. I was pleased to spot another Dandy Gilver Murder Mystery while I was there. Less pleased that it was on one of those awful carousels instead of in the crime fiction section where I'd been looking for it. And Howards End is on the Landing is not in their system yet but I'll be first when it is. Ha ha!


I'm looking forward to Howards End is on the Landing, too! I heard the author on the radio the other day and thought it sounded like something I might do if I were organized enough (I've been doing a similar thing with my yarn stash this year, but that doesn't count on an intellectual level, does it?)
I heard that! I didn't like Mark Lawson crawlingly saying he didn't like Jane Austen, either.
It's such a great title and a very good idea. I don't think I've got two hundred unread books, though!
I actually feel quite sick when people say that they don't like Jane Austen. It's just plain wrong! I didn't enjoy that bit of the conversation but I loved the title and the idea, too.

Sadly, I probably do have 200 unread books! And I am getting there very, very slowly.
I shall pass your comments on to Trisha. Am sure she will be delighted.
As for The Little Stranger, I don't like Sarah Waters because I find the violence in her novels too graphic and unbearable. Have not read any of her recent ones, and doubt if I shall.
In view of the above, it's rather surprising that I'm currently keen on Stieg Larsson, but then a certain amount of violence is acceptable in a crime thriller.
Oh, please do! I really enjoyed the book and shall look out for more by her. I did enjoy The Night Watch though admittedly there are unpleasant scenes.
I'd never heard of Stieg Larsson until I saw the astonishing prices his books were fetching. There was a discussion I half-heard on the Today programme this morning, with a Swedish woman saying they were surprised by the success as the books aren't really very good!
I looked at Wolf Hall while killing waiting for a bus time in Waterstones, but I have decided I don't like books written in the present tense.
Oh no, is it all in the historic present? I find that annoying. I'll give it a go, though.


I like the cover of A Winter's Tale, reminds me of the Madeleine books. Nothing wrong with a bit of superior chicklit! I'm quite fond of the Shopaholic series. I must admit, these literary prizes pass me by. Haven't a clue who is up for what prize and I'm not interested either. As you say, unpretentiously enjoyble is the best - and Jane Austen never won a prize!! Nicola@vintagereads

That sounds like just the type of book I would enjoy. Thanks for the recommendation!