Thorntons – My Life in the Family Business

autobiography of Peter Thornton, family business consultant and former Chairman of Thorntons Chocolates

success and money can come at a horrible price even to one of Britain’s best-known brands

Since its publication in October 2009, Thorntons – My Life in the Family Business has been attracting considerable praise from the media and has been selling consistently. Originally conceived as a novel, Peter Thornton was encouraged to present this dramatic tale as the true story that it is – a heart-wrenching story of a family at war with each other. But the book still reads as a novel, and has therefore attracted a much wider audience than a simple memoir ever could.

The launch event at Sheffield’s Off the Shelf Festival was many times over-subscribed, and since then, Peter has been busy meeting demands all over the country as a guest speaker.

This is Peter’s frank and honest story of his life; growing up under the thumb of his late-Victorian father in wartime Sheffield and Derbyshire, National Service in Malaya, learning the Thornton family business at his father’s knee and being thrust into it with hardly any preparation. Enfolded in his memoir is the story of the creation and building of one of Britain’s premier brands which was started in the booming steel-city of Sheffield in 1911 by a family that was immensely successful, but eventually destroyed in the process.

Nothing is held back, the good times, the bad times, the successes, the failures, the conflicts, the battles, the love affairs and the moments of high elation and deep depression. This is a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions!

Peter Thornton, Ex-Chairman of the family business tells this story with startling frankness: family betrayals, suicides and extra-marital affairs. The moral is that success and money can come at a horrible price even to one of Britain’s best-known brands.

392 pages plus 8 pages of illustrations
ISBN-13: 978-09557670-3-6
£14.99 retail

Thorntons – My Life in the Family Business is published by:

Tomhawk Press

In the cut-throat world of business, there are many casualties – especially the more gentle souls for whom the rigorous and competitive demands of management can be very personally destructive. And not just individuals, but whole families too, where personal relationships become hopelessly entwined with the business, ultimately causing much damage. This book will give you a great insight into these issues.
– Jo Brand

In this book, Peter Thornton relates a gripping family saga, packed with enough tragedy, triumph and conflict to make many novelists green with envy. From the intriguing opening chapter, I knew I was in the hands of a true story teller who knows how to create a suspense-filled narrative. And it’s all set against a fascinating background – the history of the Thornton’s chocolate business, as it grows from a corner shop in Sheffield to a multi-national company responsible for one of the most recognised super brands in the world. Forget any thoughts you had of a dry business memoir – this is a man with a remarkable story to tell, and the skill to do it.

I have to give full marks to Peter Thornton for his honesty about himself, and his relationships – particularly the complex web of intrigue played out over the decades by generations of the Thornton family. At times, the scent of conspiracy rising from the pages was as strong as the smell of chocolate that used to hang over Belper! Sibling rivalries, marital breakdown, echoes of a forgotten age, and glimpses of life in the Peak District – this book has them all. As a lifelong fan of one of Derbyshire’s best known products, I’ll now be eating Thornton’s chocolates with a whole new insight.

Stephen Booth, International award-winning author of the
Ben Cooper & Diane Fry crime series

FREE Chapter Download and join mailing list…

Subscribe to receive the occasional email update about the book and events, and get the introductory chapters of Thorntons – my life in the family business, for free!


* indicates required

Forthcoming Events
View forthcoming events

Looking for a Speaker?
Invite Peter Thornton to speak at your next event

TV / radio / press
Request an Interview with Peter

Where to buy the book
Tomhawk Press
…more place to buy