Short story spotlight: Comfort and Joy by Cathy Bramley

13 Oct

comfort and joyIt’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?

I’ve broken my ‘no Christmas books before November’ rule today to bring you a review of Cathy Bramley’s festive short story Comfort and Joy – Cathy is one of my favourite authors and her stories are always guaranteed to leave me with a happy smile on my face so I couldn’t resist reading Comfort and Joy as soon as it was available.

For fans of Cathy’s books, this story provides a delicious chance to revisit the village of Plumberry, the setting of Cathy’s last novel The Plumberry School of Comfort Food. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Verity and the gang in Plumberry and Comfort and Joy provides a lovely update on their stories. Cleverly though, it also stands perfectly well as a story in its own right, so if you haven’t read Cathy’s earlier book, don’t worry, you can definitely read this as a lovely festive standalone.

And what a delicious treat this short story is! Starting on Christmas Eve in Plumberry, the story follows Verity and friends as they prepare for the big day. When floods hit the region of Yorkshire that Plumberry is in, a number of Plumberry’s residents find themselves having to change their long awaited plans for Christmas Day. As you might expect from a story that is set around a cookery school, the descriptions of food and drink in this story are just wonderful and had me ready to break out the mice pies and mulled wine right now!

But it was Cathy’s descriptions of the village, businesses and homes in Plumberry that really had me wishing that it was December 1st and I could put my tree up! I’m a huge fan of Christmas and I can’t wait to get the decorations out so Cathy’s descriptions of window displays, fairy lights and cosy cottages with real fires made my heart sing!

As with all of her novels, Cathy also tugged on my heart strings with this story and as the floods strike and plans have to change I even found myself welling up a little at certain points but Cathy also has a fabulous sense of humour and Comfort and Joy also made me smile. As the community pull together, Comfort and Joy gives a lovely reminder about what Christmas is really about and as you can probably tell by now, I loved it.

This is the perfect short story to curl up with as the nights draw in and is just the right length to fit in between present wrapping ;-) A delicious festive treat with lots of lovely surprises!

5/5

Comfort and Joy is published today in ebook formats and is currently just 99p on Amazon!

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