Cathy Bramley's Conditional Love

Meet Sophie Stone, a thirty-something serial procrastinator. Tesco knickers, Take That and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets. Sophie’s life is safe and predictable, which is just the way she likes it, thank you very much. 
But when her boyfriend dumps her on Valentine’s Day and a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, even Sophie has to accept that change is afoot. There is a catch: in order to inherit, Sophie must agree to meet the father she has never seen. 
Not a fan of surprises, Sophie would rather not; why not let sleeping dads lie? Besides, her mother would kill her. 
With interference from an evil boss, bickering flat mates, warring parents and a sexy ex-boyfriend, Sophie has plenty to contend with without an architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth. 
But it soon becomes clear that she will have to face the past and learn some uncomfortable home truths before she can finally build a future on her own terms.

About the Author

Cathy arrived in Nottingham at the tender age of eighteen years and five days to study European Business at University and has been there ever since. Upon graduating she spent the next few years in the corporate world of marketing working on high-powered projects such as testing the firing range of SuperSoaker waterguns, adding hair extensions to Girls’ World styling heads and perfecting the weeing action of Tiny Tears. After making it onto Timmy Mallet’s Christmas card list, she realised it was time to move on and so in 1995 set up her own agency, Apples & Pears Marketing. Avid fans of the TV series, Cathy and her husband realised their Grand Designs’ dream of building their own house in 2011. They now live in rural Nottinghamshire with their two daughters and a dog called Pearl. This project provided the inspiration for Cathy’s debut novel Conditional Love which will be launched on 4th October 2013. However, it is by no means autobiographical apart from one unfortunate incident in the boardroom! She shares her time between her marketing agency, writing and taxiing the girls endlessly from one activity to the next. Cathy is a fan of Masterchef, strong coffee, chocolate brazils and Marian Keyes. She is addicted to her Kindle and has an irrational fear of bananas.
My Review

I was delighted when Cathy approached me to review her book as unbeknownst to her I had already downloaded my own copy and was looking forward to reading it, as from the blurb it sounded like a promising read.
The book is written in a humourous style that engages you from the first page as we meet Sophie Stone expecting her boyfriend to propose on Valentine's Day, only to find he dumps her instead. The book is easy to read and that is due in no small part to the skill of Cathy Bramley as she pulls you effortlessly into Sophie's life.
There were times when I wanted to shake Sophie for behaving more like a seventeen year old than a thirty-two year old but then she goes and does something silly that has happened to all of us, like walking around with her skirt tucked into her Tesco knickers. You'll find yourelf chuckling aloud at lots of moments like this one. It is stretching the reader's credulity a little though that she is so dependent on others considering that her mother has essentially abandonned her and moved to Spain, she doesn't know her father and she's living in a flatshare. I did like the way that she grew during the story though and took driving lessons to become more independent but found her emotional naivety a bit hard to take at times.
On the other hand I absolutely loved the 'boardroom' episode and knowing that it was based on Cathy's own experience had me laughing even more. Nick, the architect, is incredibly well-drawn too and easy to imagine as a young Doc Martin and happily Cathy has avoided making him into a stereotype. The ending is a tad predictable but satisfying at the same time. All in all a great effort from a debut writer about whom I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more in the near future.
Favourite lines
'We always had fun. Although it usually descended into 'Clash of the Titians' once the two redheads clapped eyes on a man they both fancied."
Best for ....
Devouring in one sitting while curled up on the sofa with a takeaway pizza and a glass of wine.
My rating
A well-deserved 4/5 - recommended

Latest comments

Yesterday | 22:25

Wonderful review, for a wonderful lady and Author.

Yesterday | 20:12

Great review for an equally great book by Mary

Yesterday | 18:26

When reading all the reviews I just can not wait to read this for myself. I adore stories of hardship and how they unfold and hopefully have a good ending.

Yesterday | 17:22

Another great review for a brilliant author.

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