Reviewed by Jennifer Joyce
Verity Bloom used to love baking with her best friend, Mimi. It brought such joy to the pair, even if their efforts sometimes ended in disaster. But two years ago, Verity lost her best friend – and her love of baking. Now, cooking anything more taxing than a fish finger sandwich is unbearable.
But when a friend needs help with her new business venture, Verity can’t say no and finds herself picking up her apron once again. The Plumberry School of Comfort Food is due to open soon, but there’s still a lot of work to do. And when tragedy strikes at the school, Verity starts to feel the pressure. Can the school flourish under Verity’s guidance, or will her friend’s dream crumble around them?
I love Cathy Bramley’s writing style. It’s warm and has such an ease to it that I find myself relaxing into her stories immediately, and The Plumberry School of Comfort Food was no exception. I quickly warmed to Verity, sympathising with her as we find out about Mimi and the friends and family left behind to mourn her loss, and feeling angry on her behalf as she’s trampled over at work. But Verity isn’t down for too long; when Mimi’s mum, Gloria, asks for her help, Verity sees it as a way to dust herself off and start a new chapter of her life. She’ll help Mimi with the cookery school while she figures out what to do next.
As well as the food within the book being comforting, the book is too. Despite the tragedies, I was left with a real feel-good factor whenever I picked up the book. The pages are packed with gorgeous food and wonderful characters, as well as some surprising and shocking moments I wasn’t expecting. There are emotional moments, as well as laughs and a good dose of romance, making it a cosy yet true-to-life read. Not everything is perfect in Verity’s world, and that made it more real for me.
One of my favourite characters was Gloria’s friend, Mags. She’s so warm and bubbly and made me smile throughout. I also really liked the cookery school’s assistant, Pixie as she’s quite quirky and fun. And then there’s Tom, the school’s Michelin-starred chef. He can be slightly grumpy at times and likes things done his way, but he’s clearly passionate about food and that shone from the pages.
MORE ABOUT THE PLUMBERRY SCHOOL OF COMFORT FOOD