Thursday, 14 January 2016

Book Review - Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley

Amazon UK
Title: Wickham Hall
Author: Cathy Bramley
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Review copy supplied by author
Publisher: Corgi
Publication Date: 14th January 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

Wickham Hall was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

Holly Swift has just landed the job of her dreams: events co-ordinator at Wickham Hall, the beautiful manor home that sits proudly at the heart of the village where she grew up. Not only does she get to organise for a living and work in stunning surroundings, but it will also put a bit of distance between Holly and her problems at home.

As Holly falls in love with the busy world of Wickham Hall - from family weddings to summer festivals, firework displays and Christmas grottos - she also finds a place in her heart for her friendly (if unusual) colleagues.

But life isn’t as easily organised as an event at Wickham Hall (and even those have their complications…). Can Holly learn to let go and live in the moment? After all, that’s when the magic happens…

Every time I read a book by Cathy Bramley I am amazed, and with Wickham Hall I honestly think this is her best yet.  Due to it having started life as a four part serial, each part is a well put together novella, and the plot moves seamlessly from one part to another. With the mini cliff hangers at the ends of the first 3 parts, I was literally pausing for breathe, and moving straight onto the next section of the story. I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. 

I read Wickham Hall in one sitting, and in some respects I am gutted that I did, as it meant I couldn't prolong the pleasure of reading this fantastic story. 

Cathy Bramley has once again put together a delightful cast of characters, and put them in a setting where I felt right at home instantly. And Ben, the heir to Wickham Hall is such a sweetheart, I would happily marry him if I could (and perhaps he was real!). 

Holly starts working in the events planning department of Wickham Hall, a manor house, that earns its keep by having all sorts of events open to the public throughout the year, from Summer Fairs, to fireworks nights, to Christmas, and all manner of other things in between. 

Holly has always felt she has had a connection with Wickham Hall, and she and her mum spent many a day visiting when Holly was younger. And now she discovers just why she the Hall has always had such a special place in their hearts.

I loved reading about the various staff members at Wickham Hall, including the chef Jenny (who I have a sneaking suspicion may be the star of the next set of stories by Cathy), to the gardener, Jim the security guard and Lord and Lady Fortescue who own the hall. 

We also meet Holly's mother, and something that has been source of misery for both of them, is slowly sorted out during the story, with a storyline I wouldn't have necessarily guessed but definitely held me interest.

Wickham Hall was a very easy to read, and high enjoyable story. There were moments that had me laughing out loud (one particular euphemism for sex comes to mind), and others that just had me smiling regardless.  A brilliant book to start your reading with in 2016, I just can't wait for more, from the "queen of the serialised novel". 

Thank you so much to Cathy Bramley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Happy Publication day to Cathy Bramley, Wickham Hall is out now. 

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