A takeaway, TV and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets for thirty-something Sophie Stone. Sophie’s life is safe and predictable, which is just the way she likes it, thank you very much.
But when a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, Sophie has to accept that change is afoot. There is one big catch: in order to inherit, Sophie must agree to meet the father she has never seen.
Saying ‘yes’ means the chance to build her own dream home, but she’ll also have to face the past and hear some uncomfortable truths…
With interference from an evil boss, warring parents, an unreliable boyfriend and an architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth, will Sophie be able to build a future on her own terms – and maybe even find love along the way?
Sophie Stone is quite happy with the way her life is panning out. She has a job that she enjoys (who cares if it’s not her dream job…?) and she has a gorgeous boyfriend. She’s happily living with her two flatmates, Emma and Jess and is quite content with the way things seem to be going. After all, Sophie is not a fan of the unexpected.
However, suddenly the unexpected appears to come knocking on Sophie’s door when Marc dumps her for being too ‘boring’ and she suddenly discovers that she has been left a generous inheritance from her great aunt (of whom she had no relationship with).
Sounds too good to be true, right? After all don’t we all dream of being left an inheritance from some mysterious long lost relative? It soon transpires that it probably is in fact too good to be true, when the solicitor reveals that in order for Sophie to benefit from her great aunt’s will she has to make contact with her dad. This is not as simple as it sounds – purely because Sophie has never even met her father and he has never made an attempt to get in touch with her. Her mother has never wanted him in their lives – so why has Sophie’s great aunt done this? Can Sophie really pluck up the courage to finally meet her dad and therefore benefit from her aunt’s generous will? Or is it better to let sleeping dad’s lie…?
I was massively excited to read Conditional Love as not only did it sound like a hugely enjoyable read but the more of Cathy Bramley’s books I discover, the more I fall that little bit in love. She is zooming her way up my list of favourite authors and she has definitely cemented her place on that all-important list with Conditional Love.
The plot is really strong and unlike any other book in the genre I’ve read before. Cathy has created a warm and loveable character with tea-loving Sophie. (Marc dumps her for being too ‘boring’ – wrong, wrong, WRONG!) I thought she was wonderful. I’m sure the dozens of readers will be able to relate to Sophie as there’s nothing wrong with liking to play things safe, right? (RIGHT…? Anyone…?) Ok, so I sometimes share the same outlook as Sophie, I don’t particularly like the unexpected either, but watching Sophie come out of her comfort zone and kick some backside was really inspiring to read. I was rooting for her all of the way and she really felt like an old friend by the end of the novel. In fact, the whole mix of characters in Conditional Love were great and their personalities contributed so much to the story. I loved Sophie’s flatmates Emma and Jess. Their friendship was really brought to life for me and you could tell how much they all meant to one another.
Marc was one of those characters who I found easy to dislike, whereas Sophie’s architect Nick was the complete opposite. (His dog Norman was also one of my favourites!) Throw Sophie’s evil boss, Donna, into the mix and you have a cracking supporting cast who were all great fun to read about.
Conditional Love has been on my radar for some time now – possibly because it was Cathy’s debut novel and was originally self-published, so naturally I was super keen to read it to see as to whether it differed from her later writing. I was completely shocked and astounded that this was Cathy’s debut novel. It’s so well written, with a solid plot, quick pace and beautiful descriptions. It certainly is no surprise that Conditional Love has been snapped up by Transworld. I can’t believe that this novel has been around for so long and I haven’t had the pleasure of reading it until now. (Talk about slow off the mark!)
I don’t think there was a single thing that I didn’t love about this story. It was engrossing, tender, funny and a complete gem of a novel. Cathy is definitely up there on my list of favourite romance authors (I’m talking Katie Fforde and Jill Mansell territory!) Reading one of her books is like a big, snuggly, sheepskin blanket hug on a cold day – warm, friendly and so, so satisfying.
A huge thank you to Sarah at Transworld. Be sure to check out the other fabulous blogs taking part in the tour…
Cathy Bramley is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, a four-part serialised novel (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), and Conditional Love. Both are being published as paperbacks in 2015. She lives in a Nottinghamshire village with her husband, two daughters and a dog.
Her recent career as a full-time writer of light-hearted, romantic fiction has come as somewhat of a lovely surprise after spending the last eighteen years running her own marketing agency. However, she has been always an avid reader, hiding her book under the duvet and reading by torchlight. Luckily her husband has now bought her a Kindle with a light, so that’s the end of that palaver.