Thank you to Olivia Neilson at Midas PR for a copy of this lovely book, Springtime at Hope Hall by Pam Rhodes.
There’s never a dull moment at Hope Hall, as its rooms are filled throughout the day with gossipy grandmas, body-popping teenagers, temperamental dancing teachers, a choir without one decent singer to their name, knitters who natter, caterers who bake glorious cakes, slimmers nibbling chocolate, and a nursery group where it’s the grown-ups who are near to tears!
But it’s all in a day’s work for administrator, Kath, whose job it is to make sure Hope Hall offers something for everyone! Mind you, she can see that some key members of her team are struggling – like caretaker Trevor, who is nursing his beloved wife who has cancer, and Maggie, their wonderful cook, whose husband of twenty-five years has just left her for a woman half her age.
As the team works to pull off their ambitious Hope Hall Centenary Easter Monday Fayre, Kath realizes reinforcements are needed. Brash, loud and inexperienced though she may be, Kath has a feeling that Shirley might be just the ticket!
The Fayre is a triumph but when Kath’s old flame comes back on the scene, she suddenly has some tough choices to make…
Springtime at Hope Hall is the first book in a delightful new trilogy centred on a Victorian church hall, the like of which can be found at the heart of life in so many towns across England – full of friends and neighbours with stories that will have you giggling one minute, and dabbing your eyes the next.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
Living in a small community myself, I knew that I would connect with this story straight away, with almost clones of the people that I know as friends that would pop up in this book. Reading it was like relaxing with familiar faces as I nodded my head, smiled and laughed at what the people in Hope Hall got up to.
In a small community, the heart and soul are the church and village hall, often with people that organise them belonging to both. Kath had worked in London in a pretty high flying career but when she came to the to live in the community a temporary position came up to be the administer of Hope Hall. The position was hers as soon as she went through the door.
Kath is an incredible character in the story and manages to make every available minute of Hope Hall work for the community. I loved the versatility and energy of Della with her dances classes that covered everyone from 3 to 103. The traditional meals that made my mouth water and nursey classes to girl guides. The centre buzzed with energy cringed at the singers and rocked with community spirit.
This story gets behind the scenes into the lives of the people that make the place tick, their heartaches and problems, their dreams and achievements. It is a beautifully written story that you feel you become part of. The best news is this is the first book of three, so I am already looking forward to the next hurdles that the Hope Hall team are faced with.
I wish to thank NetGalley, the publisher and MidasPR for a copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
HERE, IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
For more than three decades, Pam Rhodes has been the familiar face of BBC’s SONGS OF PRAISE, where she is known for her sensitive interviews with hundreds of people who face huge life challenges. Pam never forgets a story, and that rich tapestry of life experience has been wonderful inspiration for her down-to-earth, heart-warming books which now number more than twenty. Pam’s wide experience of Christian church life both in Britain and around the world has provided a backdrop for most of her novels, although her books always have a wide mainstream appeal.
Pam cut her teeth in broadcast journalism, working widely in TV, Documentary and Radio, especially Premier Christian Radio where she presents her much-loved Sunday morning programme ‘HEARTS AND HYMNS’. She is often on the road compering evenings at churches and other large musical events across Britain, and she has been very active for years in her official roles with several national and local charities. Most dear to her heart is The Leprosy Mission of which she is a Vice President. The appeal video she made at Anandaban Hospital in Nepal raised over £4m in 2019. In January of 2020, her visit to Bangladesh will continue her determination to do all she can to eradicate leprosy from the world at long last.
Pam is a mum and a grandmother, and she and her husband Richard run a boarding cattery at their Bedfordshire home where they care for RSPCA cats who are looking for new owners.