The second blog tour today belongs to Cathy Bramley and her brand new novel „The Plumberry School of Comfort Food„. I think I don’t have to introduce Cathy to you – she is one of my all time favourite authors and I love all her books, and the latest release is not exception – it has all I am looking for in books, and more, much more, and I only hope that Cathy Bramley will keep them coming. Books, I mean.
So, to celebrate the publication of „The Plumberry School of Comfort Food” the publisher (Corgi) has organized a very special Blog Tour – one of the fellow bloggers Zarina of Page to Stage Reviews has run a brilliant interview with Cathy and Cathy is answering the questions every day on different blog – so be sure to check all the stops to read the whole lovely conversation between those two gorgeous ladies! Here is my question:
In one sentence, why should readers pick up your new novel, The Plumberry School of Comfort Food?
While I was mulling this question over, I received a message from a reader, so if you don’t mind I’ll let her tell you:
Dearest Cathy, I have just finished The Plumberry School of Comfort Food, wow, absolutely stunning, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried and for me it’s your best book yet, thank you so much for writing such a wonderful book.
The Plumberry School of Comfort Food
by Cathy Bramley
Publishing Date: 30th June 2016
Source: Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 480
Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)
Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback
The Plumberry School of Comfort Food was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.
Verity Bloom hasn’t been interested in cooking anything more complicated than the perfect fish finger sandwich, ever since she lost her best friend and baking companion two years ago.
But an opportunity to help a friend lands her right back in the heart of the kitchen. The Plumberry School of Comfort Food is due to open in a few weeks’ time and needs the kind of great ideas that only Verity could cook up. And with new friendships bubbling and a sprinkling of romance in the mix, Verity finally begins to feel like she’s home.
But when tragedy strikes at the very heart of the cookery school, can Verity find the magic ingredient for Plumberry while still writing her own recipe for happiness?
A heartwarming and romantic story certain to make you smile – perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Trisha Ashley and Katie Fforde.
Oh wow, I haven’t even realised how much I’ve missed Cathy Bramley’s writing! I could probably read her books on daily basis, so dear Cathy, please never stop writing novels! I don’t know how the author does it but each time I start a new book or new series by Ms Bramley I immediately feel at home and I feel as if I had known the characters for a long, long time already – the warmth of the writing just envelopes you and really, the stories are like an evening out with best friends – brilliant, funny, comforting and relaxing.
I’ve really read many books about food but in „The Plumberry School of Comfort Food” believe me, there is a lot of food, glorious food indeed, so well described that I actually felt my mouth watering, even though I am relatively resistant to such things, but the author has really excelled herself in describing these lovely, gorgeous canapés and some other food. Glorious food. Yes, I am aware I used the word „glorious” already. But it is glorious.
This time, as usual with Cathy Bramley’s heroines, Verity Bloom is at crossroads with her life. We are introduced to her not in her best moment to be honest, and let’s only say it involves unfaithful boyfriend, her job and she’s still grieving after the very unexpected death of her best friend Mimi. The story of Verity is so natural and realistic, sounds so believable and she’s another fantastic character from Cathy Bramley (and ditto for the whole cast of characters in the book – I immediately connected with all of them and am felt like a part of their gang), and I loved seeing her coming back to life she enjoyed before, blossoming and starting to laugh again. What she needed was one phone call from Mimi’s mother Gloria, owner of a new cooking school – even though Verity wasn’t sure about cooking, as she connected cooking and food with great memories of Mimi. But nevertheless, she knew that marketing the school is something she can do really well, so there was nothing keeping her at home and she took the chance. I really enjoyed the way our Verity was changing and coming back to life and the whole process of it. It was not easy for her and the author has brilliantly captured all the emotions and feeling accompanying Verity. I loved to see how her passion to life was growing back, how she was finding cooking relaxing and bringing joy again and I also loved how she dealt (or not) with the romance element in her life. I absolutely, totally adored watching how Verity and Tom were coming together, how awkward it was occasionally, and how genuine, and you’ve no idea how much I wanted those two to stay together, which was not so obvious, as – of course! Of course! – the author has pulled the rug from under their feet more than once!
I also loved to see how the school is coming to life. I adored the classes that the school offered and I’d myself love to try one or two of them, even if I were supposed to respond „Yes, Chef” to Tom. I could respond however he wished, to be honest, as Tom, you lovely folks, Tom is again one of the best male characters ever. I’ve no idea how Cathy Bramley manages to create such characters, as every book of hers brings us a new cookie. But better back to school, oh dear, I kinda went too far with my thoughts about Tom… The descriptions of the cookery school, inside and outside, and of the village were, as always, full of lovely details, vivid and springing to life.
The group of characters is just the best. Tom, Gloria, Mags, Rosie, Pixie – they were all fantastic, larger than life, funny and sad, just like the real people. However, I couldn’t warm to Mimi’s husband Gabe. I don’t know why, there was something in him that made me feeling like this. And of course they all stick together! They support each other, they can count on each other, they bicker and then mend the fences and this all felt so genuine! It was really palpable that they all felt so good in their own company but also that any new person was heartily welcome, and this made me feel like a part of their world.
As usual, Cathy Bramley adds some more serious issues to her story, and it’s the same with this novel, and this subplot is mention en passant every once in a while. I must admit, I relatively quickly guessed what it could be, that was so controversial and made Verity fell out with her parents, especially with her mother, but nevertheless it was an interesting look at this issue and I really appreciate the fact that Cathy has found a place for this in this light – hearted story. She also complicates the lives of the characters, adding a catastrophe here or there and she sees the timing brilliantly – she knows when to add a funny scene to brake the ice and when to add some drama to pump up the pace and feelings. There are twists and turns along the way but always treated with a dose of humour and wit.
Reading the book was a real joy, from start to finish. It is so well written, it has a lovely storyline and it’s full to the brim with events of all sorts. It is a great journey that makes you laugh, cry, cheer and boo the characters, a great rollercoaster of emotions and full of beautiful descriptions and lovely setting. It belongs to these kind of books that you want to read as quickly as possible to see what’s going to happen but you also don’t want to end. However, after reading „The End”, I felt so satisfied and so happy – Cathy Bramley has again delivered a brilliant, light – hearted, warm and uplifting read that I’ll be coming back to for comfort. You really don’t need comfort food when you have the book to hand. There were characters that you can relate to, it was down – to – earth and – again! – the cover is so incredibly gorgeous and inviting! Loved it and can’t wait for more! Highly recommended!
FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR: