That Certain Something – Clare Ashton

That Certain SomethingPia Benitez-Smith is a struggling photojournalist trying to scrape a living between her art and accidental paparazzi shots. When a squirrel chases her out of a tree she falls into the arms of her dream woman and so begins an emotional roller coaster.

Cate is elegant, intriguing, beautiful and way above Pia’s working-class roots. She is clearly supposed to be somewhere but doesn’t seem in any rush to leave. When she insists her dream night would cost a fortune Pia can’t resist proving her wrong, and the pair set of to create an evening they will never forget.

But Cate wants riches and security, while Pia wants to live her life to the full, and thinks love is more important than money. Can these polar opposites ever be more than a dream?


Clare Ashton has written another winner. That Certain Something was a joy to read from start to finish. It warms your heart, tickles your fancy and captivates your mind.

Pia is the quintessential youthful idealist. Daughter of dreamers, she is a romantic to the core. But she also has a deeply ingrained integrity that shines through both in her work and her personal choices. Her ability to capture the perfect portrait, her refusal to take advantage and her total honesty make her a woman of character. She has a charisma you cant help but love from the first moment, her clumsiness is endearing, her enthusiasm is jubilant and her family ties refreshing in a world where they frequently mean so little.

Cate appears to be the exact opposite. Refined, restrained, constrained even. She seems to be beautiful but it is only skin deep. Her life experiences have twisted the real Cate into something she doesn’t like but can’t seem to escape. Her evening with Pia wakes the sleeping beauty and challenges Cate to her core. While Pia must learn her true value, Cate’s is a journey to freedom from self imposed golden bars.

Pia and Cate’s story is one of joyful encounters, hilarious accidents, shared secrets and painful growth. From the very first moment you know that the world cannot be right if they aren’t together, and their love shines through, despite the pain of terrible choices and mistaken pride. They captivate us and hold us spellbound throughout.

A wonderful ensemble cast that our most famous actresses would be queuing up to fill supports our heroine’s journey. Pias’s adoring mother, Cate’s grounded Grandmother and Ed, the tough old marshmallow Editor, all play a central role that fills out the pages with the warmth of a summer afternoon. Ms Ashton has a skilled sense of character that brings so many minor players to life; the famous actress, the drunken supermodel, the hotel doorman – even the cabbies get their moment under her spotlight.

As well as a delightful cast Clare Ashton illustrates London in all its glory. With a light, deft, brushstroke she not only paints a beautiful watercolor of some of our most amazing spaces, but evokes the sense, the smell and the emotion that is London. She mixes the old, often hidden, eccentricity of wealth and pomp with the sleaze of the 1970’s tower block, the heart of multicultural Brixton with the overwhelming impersonal opulence of the modern skyscraper. If you haven’t been here there is no better way of seeing London than following Pia’s evening delight and the opposite worlds of Cate’s homes and Pia’s family.

Clare Ashton bioAnd all of this is written with the most exquisite touch. Ms Ashton’s sense of timing, pace and style are elegant and flow across the pages. Her descriptions are unobtrusive but somehow convey depth without overbearing detail. Her comic timing and sense of fun balance effortlessly with a clear sense of the turmoil within – we never doubt for one moment the anguish Cate is suffering, although not one word is spoken or one thought expressed.

This one not only goes on my re-read pile, I am quite tempted to start it over just to experience the pleasure of being swept away again. I don’t often want to give 6 stars but the finesse of Clare Ashton’s writing is breathtaking. Don’t only read it and submerge yourself in the experience, buy your friends a copy and share the joy. You will be captivated, entertained and fall in love, all while belly laughing your way through Pia’s bare-arsed antics.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • First published 2014
  • Publisher: Breezy Tree Press (May 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
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To buy the Paperback – click here.
      UK .uk
To buy the Kindle edition – click here.
To buy the Paperback – click here.