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    Mac and Cheese

    This was such a treat to read, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. There is a lot going on here and the main thrust of the book is about how to cope with overwhelming grief and how it can completely derail your whole life. Verity is a case in point. Until her best friend Mimi died suddenly she grabbed life by both hands and she found joy in the simple things. Mainly she found joy in cooking her friend. We join the story 2 years after Verity loses Mimi and then loses both her boyfriend and her job in quick succession. Her friend's mother, Gloria, offers her a lifeline by asking her to help her get things ready for the opening of her new venture - the eponymous Plumberry School Of Comfort Food. Surprisingly the book isn't all happy, happy, jolly, jolly and it deals with quite tense subject matter - infertility, widowhood, sudden death. However, there is such warmth here that you feel in safe hands as you traverse the interwoven lives of Verity, Gloria, Gabe and Tom. All the characters are vibrant and multi-faceted and behave like real world people. The setting whilst idyllic isn't some 1950's throwback rural village, it is a very modern small town whose inhabitants mix the sense of community with modernity. Even though it is set in Yorkshire I think I'd like to live there (I'm Lancashire born and bred and, well, you know...). There are some rather trite sections and things do seem to work out all for the best all too often. However, if this book had gone down the path that life often leads us it would no doubt lead you to a stiff drink or three - instead of a fish finger sandwich (white bread, ketchup on the fish). It is nice that things appear to work out for Verity in both her business and personal life, it is left on a delicious cliffhanger as to whether or not it all works out. Not enough of a one to make you beg for a sequel as some stones are best left unturned, but just enough to make you come up with certain scenarios when you've completed the book. If you like an uplifting story with just the right amount of pathos then this will be a Gloria's read (if you've already read it that will make sense - promise!).

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