Good Husband Material (by Trisha Ashley)

The first time I read a book by Trisha Ashley, I found her somewhat informal writing style a bit difficult to get into, and was irritated by some apparently random switches from past to present tense. But as I got into the story, I enjoyed it more and more. Chick-lit for the middle aged was my overall opinion - and I don’t mean that disparagingly. It was light, free from anything X-rated, and had a positive ending. I found the same to be true of further books I read by this author, and so was delighted to see this one on the Bookbag shelves.

The title of the book, 'Good Husband Material', does not refer to Fergal. He is part of a popular rock band, who is reputed to live a scandalous lifestyle. He is introduced when he recalls his first dramatic meeting with 17-year-old Tish, and their year-long romance.

Most of the book is told from Tish’s point of view, over ten years later She is married to a rather dull solicitor called James, and longs for a place in the country. She writes romantic fiction, and we quickly learn that she was badly hurt by Fergal when he left her to go on tour in America.

Tish falls in love with a country cottage in need of a great deal of renovation. James is not keen, but they move, and start renovating... and things go downhill for their marriage.

It’s fairly clear from the start that Tish’s romance with Fergal will be re-kindled. I felt quite sorry for James at first; however I soon lost any sympathy I had for him: he is thoughtless, snobbish, and something of a male chauvinist.

While the main plot is predictable, there are fascinating observations about village life, and some wonderful minor characters. I particularly liked Tish’s eccentric and outspoken Granny, and I was very taken with the shopkeeper Mrs Deakin, who knows everything about everyone and likes nothing more than a good gossip with her customers. There is a hint of mystery about Tish’s own past, too and also about why James is spending increasing amounts of time away from home.

There’s a bit of humour here and there which made me smile The informal style wasn't too instrusive, and although there are still a few annoying tense-changes, it wasn't a huge deal. I read the second half of the book almost in one sitting and did not get bored for a moment. All in all, I would recommend this as ideal light holiday reading, if you want something undemanding and a bit fluffy.

Apparently this was first published in 2000 but has recently been re-printed in paperback and made available for the Kindle.

You can also read my longer review of Good Husband Material at the Bookbag site.

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