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?
We're first introduced to Verity Bloom at quite a low point in her life. Double crossed, cheated on, rejected and a chance of something good in her life snuffed out before it began. A poignant walk with her deceased best friend's family made her assess her life and realise she needed to focus, but she had no idea what to focus on, until a chance phone call took her to the Yorkshire village of Plumberry and her best friend Mimi's mother's new cooking school. Verity wasn't sure about the whole cooking thing, as her love of creating food died with Mimi, but she knew she could handle the marketing - as long as she didn't have to step in to the kitchen.
I loved to watch Verity begin to come 'back to life' and loved to see the newly opened Plumberry School of Comfort Food begin to come in to full swing as the classes get underway. Head Chef, Tom, has to try and check his teaching methods as it's more Gordon Ramsey than Cook With Mother, not quite the ethos that Gloria was looking for...and Verity along with kitchen assistant Pixie (sh has to be one of my favourite characters!) has to be on hand with tissues for the more sensitive trainees; but when a catastrophe hits the village as a reality show comes to promote the school, they all pull together to try and make the event successful.
There are twists, turns and tragedies along the way, and everything is handled with Bramley's warm wit and beautiful descriptions. The characters in this book have been my favourite of hers so far, I would struggle to find a favourite as they really pull you into their world, making you care for them from the very beginning.
I adored the ending and the decision that Verity made (even though it was touch and go and I was undecided for a while!) and loved the fact that all was tied up nicely with an epilogue. However, I'd love to see a Christmas at the Plumberry School of Comfort Food! My favourite 'Cathy' yet and a huge 5*!