The Plumberry School of Comfort Food – Cathy Bramley

This book was originally published as four short novellas, but I chose to wait to devour the book in one go, because I knew I would get frustrated in reading up to a certain point and not being able to carry on.

That is one of the reasons I am wary of this current way of marketing and selling books. I am so glad I waited in this case, especially as I know what I was going to get from the author which was a cracking good read.

Apart from cooking the best fish finger sandwich there is, Verity is no longer interested in cooking anything anymore since the loss of her best friend, Mimi. Verity is still in touch with Mimi’s husband, Gabe, and godson Noah. As well as Mimi’s mother, Gloria who helped the young girls in their cooking all those years ago when they pretended to be tv chefs on-screen.

When Verity loses her job and her man in quick succession,the two things intrinsically linked she seeks comfort. That comfort comes in the form of Gloria who using her knowledge of cooking and her past experience along with the bubbly and blunt Liverpudlian friend Mags is creating a cookery school in Plumberry.

She needs some help running it and Verity has nothing to do……..

Verity has to face her fear of having lived on ‘ping’ meals for the last few years and embrace the importance of cooking and how much of a comfort it can be. However the new Michelin star chef, Tom has other ideas about food and what the school should provide and it is very far from comforting. Before the doors have even opened it looks like there is going to be conflict.

Verity is a long way from home and from her friends as well as Gabe and Noah but she starts to fit in at Plumberry and make new friends. Even Tom has relented in some ways to the ideas that Verity has to make this a cookery school to stand out from others.

Tragedy strikes right in the middle of the first weeks after the grand opening. It seems that the only person who can keep everything going is Verity, but can she possibly continue when she has all these conflicting feelings and secrets which it turns out are perhaps not as secret as she first thought.

This was a story with many depths and layers and kept me entranced as I really was with these characters and I so wanted to take part in a course at the school or at least work there as Verity liked organising and I could so relate to that! I had my suspicions about what kept all so close and my heart really broke in two when you could see the results of decisions made in the past.

But for Verity it is the decisions in the present that she has to face if she is going to make her own comfort in Plumberry.

Drawn straight into the plot, the scenery and the characters readers are taken on a rollercoaster through the 400 plus pages of story. Fantastic escapism and a strong book which stands out from the crowd.

My test on how good these books are – do I want there to be a sequel, do I want to go back and find out more? The answer is definitely yes!



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