Poppy Jenkins is beloved by everyone who lives in Wells, a village in Wales. She is the girl next door and friend to all. Despite being close to her loving family, gorgeous little sister, good friends and sense of community, she is the only lesbian in town and she is lonely.
Enter Rosalyn Thorn.
Roselyn and Poppy were inseparable as youngsters. Roselyn was the town outsider, she spoke her mind and was not a pushover. As a result she was labelled as trouble and the only reason anyone put up with her was because of her connection to Poppy.
Then they turned 16 and overnight, something happened that caused Roselyn to push Poppy away breaking her heart. Eventually Roselyn left town and Poppy was left with a big question mark as to why she had lost her best friend.
15 years later Roselyn walks back into Poppy’s life and turns her calm, quiet world upside down. Hurt feelings erupt and secrets are revealed. But can they ever find friendship again, let alone anything more?
Ashton did an amazing job with the characters. Every one was beautifully explored. The quaint town of Wells was as much a character in the novel as the human cast and I could not help but fall in love with it.
Roselyn and Poppy were polar opposites and yet I so enjoyed them both. Tamara, who read it with me was a huge fan of Roselyn. She loved how misunderstood she was and could not understand why Poppy was ‘such an idiot’ when it came to Roselyn.
The fact that Ashton could bring out those conflicting emotions about the characters just shows her brilliance as an author.
The Writing Style
Pick up any of Clare Ashton’s novels and you will be reading a novel that defines the reason that literature is considered art.
Her use of language is magnificent. It’s a real treat to be able to read her novels.
This book is beautifully written, yet easy to read. It is filled with conflict but you like all the characters. It is set in a small town that is dying and you hope for its resurrection.
It really is a special novel.
The cover is cute, but it doesn’t live up to the inside. For this book one needs perhaps a gold plated cover with like rainbows and unicorns parading around singing because the book is just so good.
Go read it. Just do. It is beautifully written. It is a fantastic story and it has a happily ever after ending. Incidentally, this is also the only book on earth that Tamara and I have ever agreed on. I have made her read ever single one of my favourite novels including Sarah Waters and she was like ‘meh’. This book she loved.
So yes, it is an absolute must-read.
Excerpt from Poppy Jenkins by Clare Ashton
Roselyn Thorn of Rhiw Hall. Sharer of secrets and confidence and the best friend a girl could have. Better than sisters from the age of six until sweet sixteen, when everything wasn’t so sweet anymore.
Poppy would have been lying if she’d claimed not to think of Rosalyn. Although weeks, even months, would pass between musings, she always wondered what became of her former friend. And now there she was a few paces away.
“Poppy.” She saw Roselyn say her name more than heard it. Rosalyn’s mouth lingered open, her face pale.
Poppy’s insides chilled and even though she feared her friend she couldn’t move.
A quiet laugh of irony escaped Rosalyn and she clasped a hand to her brow. When she dropped her arm and wandered a few paces closer and embarrassed smile tempered her face.
“I did wonder if I’d bump into you, but I didn’t really…” She threw up her hands in disbelief. “Poppy Jenkins.” Roselyn’s keen eyes travelled all over Poppy’s body, taking in her hair, bare arms and the open chest of her dress.
“You look well. Really well.” Her sad smile spoke of a regret Poppy couldn’t fathom.
Roselyn put out her hand but Poppy was too numb to respond.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781534934108
Clare Ashton Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Poppy Jenkins by Clare Ashton. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.