Comfort and Joy by Cathy Bramley
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Publishing Date: 13th October 2016
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 120
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction
Buy the Book: Kindle
Curl up with this feel-good short story, full of romance, surprises and a sprinkling of Christmas magic…!
It’s been a busy year for Verity Bloom at the Plumberry School of Comfort Food, but Christmas Eve is finally here. With delicious treats all wrapped up and the ingredients packed away, Verity is looking forward to a relaxing few days with her new boyfriend.
Good food, family and friends – it’s a simple recipe for true comfort and joy, and all Verity’s friends in the village are full of excitement about the holidays too.
But the weather has other plans in store… Relentless rain leads to a power cut that spells disaster for many of Plumberry’s residents. It’s starting to look like this year’s celebrations could be a total washout.
With dreams of a perfect Christmas dashed, will the last of the festive cheer be swept away in the downpour? Or can the cookery school create a Christmas miracle for everyone Verity holds dear?
“Comfort and Joy” was such a great surprise from Cathy Bramley! It was incredibly great to be back in Plumberry and all the characters from School of Comfort Food and I felt as if I haven’t left the place and all those lovely people for so long. Plumberry seems to be a place very prone to accident, to be honest, if there is something to happen you can be sure that it will happen in Plumberry, but heck, we have School, Verity & Co, right? The loveliest bunch of people that you could think of, and if I were to be in troubles, I’d love it to happen somewhere around this place, pretty please. There is always food, no matter what, and what kind of food! And there is also always electricity (which is very significant for this short story, let me add).
This lovely short novella – really short, it took me around an hour to read it, and it took me a second only to feel at home with the characters and to feel totally immersed in their lives again – takes place around and on Christmas, but you would never say it, judging on the weather – it’s raining cats and dogs and because of it a series of very unhappy and unwished – for accidents happen. Also in the characters’ lives. And this time, which was also great, and I really, really liked it, the story concentrated not only on Verity and Tom but on the many brilliant characters that surrounded them in the “The Plumberry School of Comfort Food”. I’ve no idea how Cathy Bramley managed to squeeze so many stories in this one, short novella, but all of the characters could feel as the stars of the scenes they entered. It was truly great to get some closure, to see how life goes on for some of them and how life starts for some of them.
You’ve no idea how much I could relate to Verity and her feelings of longing. As it happens I am also far, far away from my family, and it is really, really hard to spend Christmas without them, even after all those years. You can have your own family, your husband and a daughter, but well, mum is a mum, that’s true. So all the feelings and emotions in Verity, all the things she has said about missing her mum just stroke a chord and my heart double went to her.
As always, the story perfectly blends poignant and funny moments, and there were some that had me on a verge of tears and there were some that made me laugh out loud, especially those involving a very large turkey and Harriet. Cathy Bramley always accomplishes to add a lesson or two to her stories, but they are lovely lessons, and it was the same this time. Actually, to be honest, I think I am going to re – read this novella right now, as it really made me feel cheerful and better the first time, and right now I am in a need of cheering up – and I can guarantee that you’re going to feel absolutely uplifted after reading it. No matter if you are new to Cathy Bramley – which personally I can’t believe – or a devoted fan, just like me, go and treat yourself to “Comfort & Joy”!