First of all, a confession. This is the first Trisha Ashley novel I have ever read! Sorry, Trisha! I own several of her books and they are all sitting waiting patiently on my to-be-read pile, and have been for months or even years. It’s nothing personal against Trisha or her writing…I just buy too many books and can’t get round to reading them all fast enough! So, given that I already possessed at least four other novels by this author, what on earth made me start to read Good Husband Material the minute I saw it in the shop? Well, I loved the cover for a start, and the title intrigued me. Good husband material? Hmm, would love to know what that is! I read the blurb on the back cover and just knew I had to read this, and having finished it this evening I had to post a review because, yes, it really is a five star novel.
I just adored everything about this. The writing was fantastic. The narrative style was so appealing and so easy to read. I loved the fact that the story was mostly told from the first person viewpoint of Tish, our heroine, a redhead in denial. She is a marvellous creation and I was rooting for her all the way. Fergal is a gorgeous hero (of course!) and his viewpoint is cleverly woven in through a series of headlines in local and national magazines and newspapers as he muses on the difference between the way he is perceived in the media and the reality of his life and feelings.
The secondary characters were a wonderful assortment that held my interest. A batty grandmother, a pathetic mother, jealous women, a wily shopkeeper, weird neighbours…Even the animals were fascinating, featuring a Borzoi (or bourgeois bitch) called Bess, a rude parrot called Toby, a deformed cat and assorted offspring and hangers-on. Tish’s husband, the man her mother had decided long ago was “good husband material”, is a character who slowly shows himself to be the opposite of what Tish initially believes him to be. As the book develops we see layer upon layer of James unpeeling to reveal a distinctly unattractive and rather weak man.
The setting itself was lovely, with the village really coming to life under Trisha’s skilful writing. It may come as no surprise to discover where Tish ends up and who with, but the thrill is the journey she takes to get to that point. The narration is witty and sharp and there is some sparkling dialogue, which all goes to ensure that the book never flags and keeps you reading right to the end to find out how Tish will get her happy ending in spite of all the obstacles thrown at her.
I am so glad I read this book and very pleased that I have several more of Trisha’s novels ready and waiting to read. They have been bumped up on my waiting list and I’m very much looking forward to them. I understand that this is a reprint of a novel previously published some thirteen years ago, but I didn’t consider it to be dated, although, as a previous reviewer mentioned, the lack of mobile phones, internet etc is quite startling, if only to remind us how much things have changed in such a short period of time. Some things, however, never change, and love, thank goodness, is one of those things. So, if you want a well-written, sparkling love story with extremely believable and likeable characters and a lovely setting, buy this book! Great reading material. 5/5