Fiction Book Reviews

The Plumberry School of Comfort Food by Cathy Bramley

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Great food and the best company 🙂  which are also themes in The Plumberry School of Comfort Food.

I’ve been fortunate to meet Cathy a couple of times.  Last month we had a catch up in Waterstones (Bournemouth).  The renovated cafe looks just great and they have quite a few gluten free goodies … my white chocolate Blondie was delicious!  If you’re in the area, as well as checking out the books (of course) stop off for refreshments too!

The cafe at Waterstones Bournemoutgh

Originally published as a four-part serial, The Plumberry School of Comfort Food is also released as one paperback.  I must admit, I always prefer to wait for a whole story to be released together.

This is such a feel-good story with plenty of tension and conflict alongside the friendships and love.

Book cover for The Plumberry School of Comfort Food by Cathy Bramley

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.


When I think back to the beginning of the story I realise how out of step with life Verity was. Like most people she’s living her life for the ‘should’ and ‘ought’ – other people’s expectations.  She’s in a relationship because she ‘should’ be and her job doesn’t offer her fulfilment.  However, it’s perfect for where she is emotionally as she’s just going through the motions to get by.  I’ve enjoyed her transformation and the journey of getting where she should be.  I thought the right emphasis was put on her grief for Mimi which made it all feel very real.  Not only did I care about what happened to Verity, I also felt emotionally attached to the other characters too.  Verity isn’t the only one who we see change.

I was fascinated by the whole concept of Plumberry.  I was engrossed through the stages of getting the school up and running and the ideas for revenue streams.  The differing opinions gave depth to the characters and I could see how both had value.  The cooking competitions were fabulous.  I couldn’t get enough and kept turning those pages as fast as I could.  I recently attended a cookery event myself ‘On Your Marks, Get Set, Cook … at Purewell’ where two chefs were head-to-head.  I couldn’t help thinking of Plumberry!

Without a doubt, Plumberry is a community that’s a part of the village.  I loved the friendships and the care they have for each other.

Of course there needs to be a balance and there is one particular crises that to be truthful, I hadn’t even considered might happen.  Sorrow doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.  I had to keep reading through my tears to see how it would impact the story.

There’s an underlying theme that I thought Cathy dealt with sensitively and with realism.  Although it was in the past, it had reverberations in the now and future.

The disasters and conflicts were well paced and kept me turning those pages.  I would have been on tenterhooks had I read each serial as it came out!

The right amount of conflict/tension, fabulous characters and a beautiful setting, Plumberry is a romance read that will engage your emotions and leave you feeling positive and inspired.

I purchased a Kindle copy of Plumberry and at the end of my copy there is an excerpt from Cathy’s January release, White Lies and Wishes and recipes which have relevance to Plumberry.

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Twitter @CathyBramley

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I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 9+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.

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