Book Review: Comfort and Joy: A Christmas Short Story by Cathy Bramley

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Title - Comfort and Joy
Author - Cathy Bramley
Publication Date - October 13th 2016
Publisher - Transworld Digital
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by publisher via NetGalley)
Pages - 120

Curl up with this feel-good short story, full of romance, surprises and a sprinkling of Christmas magic...!

It's been a busy year for Verity Bloom at the Plumberry School of Comfort Food, but Christmas Eve is finally here. With delicious treats all wrapped up and the ingredients packed away, Verity is looking forward to a relaxing few days with her new boyfriend.

Good food, family and friends - it's a simple recipe for true comfort and joy, and all Verity's friends in the village are full of excitement about the holidays too.

But the weather has other plans in store... Relentless rain leads to a power cut that spells disaster for many of Plumberry's residents. It's starting to look like this year's celebrations could be a total washout.

With dreams of a perfect Christmas dashed, will the last of the festive cheer be swept away in the downpour? Or can the cookery school create a Christmas miracle for everyone Verity holds dear?

How the wonderful Cathy Bramley has managed to cram so much Chrismassy delight into only 120 pages is beyond me, but boy was it impossible to not let the cheer seep into my bones and truly take hold. Comfort and Joy by Cathy Bramley is a short but incredibly sweet festive story that takes readers back to Plumberry, alongside Verity Bloom and a handful of residents. For me, having not yet had the opportunity to read Cathy's previous release The Plumberry School of Comfort Food, it was such a joy to be introduced to these characters for the first time, and I was thrilled that not having read the full novel set in Plumberry, my enjoyment wasn't hindered at all. It's Christmas time and Verity is about to close up the Plumberry School to head back to her brand new home with boyfriend Tom, to enjoy Christmas Day alongside her love. It's been a busy and productive year for this lady and so, the prospect of snuggling up in front of a crackling fire, cuddled into Tom's side, is more than she could hope for. She can hardly wait!

But of course, as is so often the case in life, things do not go to plan. The rain has been relentless during the lead-up to Christmas, and many areas surrounding, or near-to Plumberry, have been struck by horrendous, potentially dangerous floods. With water levels rising, there's no telling how much higher they'll end up reaching, and Verity is right to feel worried. One by one, she witnesses the other residents' plans get cancelled due to the awful weather and, before she knows it, the quiet and cosy Christmas she and Tom had planned together is slowly slipping away. It's up to Verity and a few good friends to ensure that everyone still gets the Christmas they were hoping for. If The Plumberry School thought it was getting a rest for Christmas, it was wrong.

I cannot tell you how fantastic it felt to be delving back into Cathy Bramley's world, short story or not. The comfort oozing from this author's style is warm, cosy and deliciously intoxicating, and Bramley's descriptions of Plumberry dressed up for Christmas were utterly charming. So much so, I was tempted to stick my Christmas tree up right there and then. I've said it before and I'll say it again, reading anything written by Cathy Bramley is a treat for the soul. Your senses are teased and brought to life, you're introduced to some of the most loveliest characters around, and you're always left feeling happy and light and as if the world makes sense once more.

The themes of friendship and community are focused on beautifully within this short story. When push comes to shove, we're witness to the residents of Plumberry coming together to help one another out. Each resident seems to have a problem of their own to figure out but with the help of a few good friends, it's easily done. Bramley's main character, Verity Bloom, tackles the longing she feels to be with her family back in Canada. Jack is left heartbroken after the terrible floods ruin his plans for Christmas with his children. It's all a mess thanks to the weather, but together, the residents are able to overcome the issues sent their way and manage to pull off Christmas dinner in the most fabulous of ways.

All in all, though it be short, Comfort and Joy is an uplifting, heartwarming and completely cosy story that captures perfectly what Christmas is truly about. From the twinkling fairy lights to the turkeys roasting, I was transported straight to Plumberry and enveloped safely within a Christmassy wonderland full of wonderful characters, warmth and heart. This will have you smiling from ear to ear and yearning for your Christmas dinner! Becca's Books is awarding Comfort and Joy by Cathy Bramley with four of my bookish cupcakes. A delightful little gem to add to your Christmas reading lists!

About the author
Cathy Bramley is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, Appleby Farm, Wickham Hall, Conditional Love and The Plumberry School of Comfort Food. She lives in a Nottinghamshire village with her family and a dog.

Her recent career as a full-time writer of light-hearted, romantic fiction has come as somewhat of a lovely surprise after spending eighteen years running her own marketing agency. However, she has been always an avid reader, never without a book on the go and now thinks she may have found her dream job!

You can find Cathy Bramley on Facebook | Twitter |

1 comment :

  1. Aww, Becca, I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and thank you so much for reading it so quickly, you little star! xxx