Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley

'A home is the most precious gift you can give to someone...'

Title - Conditional Love
Author - Cathy Bramley
Publication Date - December 2nd 2014
Publisher - Transworld
Format - Kindle Edition (Self-purchased)
Pages - 366

The blurb

A takeaway, TV and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets for thirty-something Sophie Stone. Sophie's life is safe and predictable, which is just the way she likes it, thank you very much.

But when a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, Sophie has to accept that change is afoot. There is one big catch: in order to inherit, Sophie must agree to meet the father she has never seen.

Saying 'yes' means that chance to build her own dream home, but she'll also have to face the past and hear some uncomfortable truths...

With interference from an evil boss, warring parents, an unreliable boyfriend and an architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth, will Sophie be able to build a future on her own terms - and maybe even find love along the way? 

Becca's thoughts

This was wonderful!

I adore Cathy Bramley. Absolutely love the socks off the woman! Her writing is just a pure comfort to slip into, whether that be her FABULOUS Ivy Lane series, or her GORGEOUS Appleby Farm series, both of which I seriously enjoyed, Cathy has a sensational voice that I could listen to again and again and again, on repeat, all of the freaking time. If you haven't already treated yourself to Cathy's latest series, then I urge you to do so! You will not find another author who makes you feel at home as much as this one does. Ivy Lane (first published as a four-part series is now available as a full story), and Appleby Farm (currently published as a four-part series is being published as a full story in August 2015), are both the type of stories that will you make you want to stick your feet up, pop the kettle on and absolutely lose yourself to the words on the page. I promise you that!

Anyway, I'll stop waxing lyrical about Cathy, and return to the reasoning behind this post, and that would be Cathy's debut novel Conditional Love. I've probably done this completely the wrong way round, seeing as I've read her latest before her debut, but who actually cares? There are no rules to reading and that's why it's so fun! 

Before being picked up by the fabulous Transworld publishers, Cathy self-published Conditional Love. Once under Transworld's care, the novel was given a stunning new cover which caught my attention immediately, and I couldn't click 'purchase' quick enough. I'm ashamed to say that it's been sat on my Kindle for a while now, waiting for me to finally get round to it, but now, I'm thrilled to announce that Conditional Love has been moved from my to-read pile to my read pile, and I'm ready to present you lovely lot with my review!

In Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley, the reader is introduced to Sophie Stone. Immediately, we're launched right into a crucial scene, as Sophie wakes up beside her arse-hole (although she doesn't realise it at this point) of a boyfriend on Valentine's Day. Things rapidly go downhill for the lovable Sophie, as rather than revealing a beautifully-wrapped gift from behind his back or leaping atop Sophie to ravish her, Marc breaks up with Sophie and leaves rather swiftly. Perfect Valentine's Day gift, right ladies? So, Sophie, dealing with a heavy dose of heartbreak, forces herself onwards, hoping to forget about Marc as the lonely days go by. The plot really begins to thicken when Sophie receives a mysterious letter and is handed the responsibility of her Great Aunt Jane's cottage on Lilac Lane, in Woodby. Little does Sophie know, the bundle of money and the cottage which is in much need of some tender love and care is only hers on one condition, a condition which she must agree to...

Not only did I find Conditional Love gorgeously enveloping, but it also spoke to me on a personal level too, especially when Sophie's absent father becomes involved within the plot. There are some beautifully written, emotional scenes, a few which I've been through myself, and Cathy managed to hit the onslaught of warring emotions on the head perfectly. I found myself sitting there, staring at the Cathy's descriptions of Sophie's emotions, and thinking, "This is exactly how I felt, too..." and as ridiculous as it sounds, it was comforting to know that there was somebody else out there who knew exactly what I'd been through (even if that somebody was a fictional character). Including Sophie's absent father within the plot added a heap of intrigue to this story, especially since Sophie hadn't set on eyes on the man for God knew how long. There'd been conflict in the past according to Sophie's mother, and I was desperate to find out what exactly that conflict had involved. I had so many questions running through my mind, and Cathy had me holding my breath at numerous moments throughout my reading of Conditional Love. There was mystery, secrets and a whole lotta' Cathy Bramley at work. Quite simply, it was marvellous. 

Of course, as is the norm with any of the authors books that I've read, as well as succulent plot to really sink my teeth into, there were some excellent characters who I thouroughly enjoyed spending my time with. Sophie Stone, firstly, who Conditional Love is really all about. We follow Sophie through her journey of self-discovery, not only in regards to her family, but in regards to her heart, too. Alongside Sophie, we have her fantastic flatmates, Emma and Jess, two colourful, engaging sisters who added heaps of camaraderie to the atmosphere whenever they were present. Lots of girlish, friendly banter took place which is something that I always love to read. It always reminds me of my own sisters who never fail to make me smile. Also, I believe the sibling relationship between Jess and Emma highlighted how alone Sophie sometimes felt. With her mother living abroad, Sophie didn't really have anyone who she could call her own, but Emma and Jess didn't mind filling that gap for her, which made me love the three of them and their bond all the more. Moving away from the girls, we have Marc who I instantly took a disliking too, and who continued to grind my gears right the way through the novel. There were moments when Sophie was so blind-sided by her feelings for the man, I wanted to reach into my Kindle and give her a gentle shake of the shoulders because he was just SUCH an IDIOT! Marc didn't, not once, appeal to me at all. Sophie's architect however worked wonders, and you'll know exactly what I mean if you've read this book too.

All in all, Cathy Bramley's debut was FABULOUS! It had it all. The romance, the mystery, the girly chats... It was the perfect book for me to lose myself within after a long day at work. My troubles instantly vanished and I felt like I could step away from my own life and join Sophie Stone in hers for a little while. I sincerely hope that you'll do the same, too, bookish beauts! A delectable romance that will most definitely whisk you away!

Becca's Books is awarding Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley with FOUR GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! I'm thrilled that we have so much more to come from Cathy, and I can't wait to dive into each and every book that she shares with us in the future.



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