Wednesday 5 April 2017

The Bluebell Bunting Society by Poppy Dolan

Published by Canelo on March 27, 2017

The Bluebell Bunting Society is a warm and inviting book and the story inside is a joy to read. Connie took over the caretaker role at Bluebell Hall when her gran died a few years ago. She cares about the damp, mould-sodden place and wants to do her gran proud by keeping it going strong. But when the hall is threatened with closure, there is only one thing Connie is sure about and that includes bunting, lots and lots of bunting. This is where the book really gets going and what follows is a charming and endearing story of crafting, friendship, romance and a whole dose of solidarity.

The meetings of the Bluebell Bunting Society were lots of fun to read. There was always a vibrant atmosphere and the characters in this book are fresh and bubbly, memorable characters who you root for all the way. I love a book with a small community feel to it where everyone is working together to make things better and the society had so much drive, determination and heart when it came to saving the village hall. With sewing and bunting aplenty there was lots of colour and creativity jam-packed into this heart-warming read which put a smile on my face every time my Kindle was in my hands.

I grew to care for many of the characters, in particular Connie who is at a bit of a crossroads in her life. Approaching 30, single, without a career and with no idea what she wants to do with the rest of her life, Connie throws herself into trying to save the village hall and make her gran proud. But when the outlook is bad for the hall, the outlook is bad for her too and as much as everyone is encouraging her to find a job that would suit her and open herself up to a new relationship, none of that helps her have a clue about what she wants to do with her life.

I liked Connie. I found her to be a down to earth, realistic character who could be very easy to relate to. It's normal for people of her age to still not really know what they want to do in life but it is still something that is often frowned upon and people in her shoes feel like they need to come to quick decisions, a lot of that down to the peer pressure that an increasing age brings. Love. Babies. High profile jobs. I felt for Connie as she still tried to figure out what to do next with her life. Despite a few wobbles, I thought she was suited to life at the village hall but was she capable of more? She's a smart and witty character who is caring and kind. She's an easy character to like. Sure there was a small element of self-pity there at times but with all the trauma the village hall delivered I couldn't blame her for that.

As I keep mentioning them I have to say that the cast of characters in this book is really wonderful. I loved getting to know them all and even the more minor characters were just as memorable as the main ones. One thing in particular I liked was how they were all so different yet worked together so beautifully as part of this small village community. Each character is drawn upon realistically too.

I loved Dom and his teenage daughter Polly. I could identify with her want to talk about her late mum, her relationship with her dad and I found her an inspired character. She was a clever girl who had much to offer and whilst she could have that typical teenage attitude to life, she was also a sweet girl just trying to get by. When we meet Dom his struggles are evident and believable too. His story and the change in his character throughout showed the power of friendship. I loved Steve, Connie's best mate, and his girlfriend Lucy. Flip and Susannah were likeable characters too. One of my favourite moments in this book was meeting Claire, one of Connie's old friends. I think a lot of mums could relate to the greasy hair and the state of her house, the need for a few months kip... I also enjoyed reading about Alex the more we got to know about him too.

The Bluebell Bunting Society is a truly feel-good read, providing a few hours full of smiles and laughter. Friendship is at the heart of this book and it showed how important it is not to push your friends away when the going gets tough. Everything turns out better with your friends by your side. I was invested in the story early on and enjoyed it more and more with every chapter, and I loved the sweet and satisfying ending that wrapped things up just perfectly.

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