Book Review: Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley

Available on: Amazon UK, Amazon.com

Blurb: All her life she has dreamed of a home of her own, so what’s holding her back?

Sophie Stone, thirty-something serial procrastinator, lover of Take That, Tesco knickers and tea with two sugars, rarely steps out of her comfort zone.

So when an unexpected inheritance from a great aunt she’s never met forces her to meet her father, it threatens the very foundations of Sophie’s world.

What did the old lady want her to discover? Was there more to her parents’ break up than she was lead to believe?

Sophie will have to face some startling home truths before she can finally build a future on her own terms.

Cathy Bramley brings to notice unambition, fucked-up gold digging boyfriends, crimes against fatherhood, crimes against motherhood, too much Abba, a few tears and more laughter on the way.

Sophie Stone is complacent where she is. Even though it's mostly in her loser SOB gold-digging boyfriend's arms (Note to readers: He can't afford a bed). Once a girl who loved to dream of achieving, now she's stopped dreaming and achieving. And getting her two roomies, Jess and Emma worried.

Now if you were given an inheritance, not broke but just stable, yet feeling this inheritance could make a big, big difference in your life. Obviously you will sing happily, do a victory waltz over to the solicitor's to claim your inheritance, wouldn't you? But there are slight complications, what if you have so much BMI waltzing with ease becomes difficult? Or what if you manage somehow to get to the solicitor's, you get distracted by his unusual nose, listen to the conditions to be handed your due, then you wonder which/who is more repulsive, the solicitor's nose or the dead aunt you never saw your entire life who wants you to see an alive dad with another family who you've never met your entire life.

What if you can't get over your ex? What if you shag him a bit? What if there's a romantic smooch here and there to keep him on his tippy toes wondering whether breaking up with you had been his wisest decision. What if, said SOB is only exhibiting boyfriend material tendencies (in actual fact the only material he's fit for is the dumpster) because he's heard of the inheritance and would stop at nothing for you to part him his due share for stomaching you, you who doesn't care about protein shakes as much as he does?

What if your mum keeps telling you with all seriousness she doesn't know whose kid you are? And the father you thought was dumpster material was better of having than SOB boyfriend? What if you begin to uncover secrets about your family that would change your perception of its membership forever, and make you discover you've been living a lie?

Your friends won't keep from butting their noses into your business, your boss is never in a good mood (because she's hitting fifty), you are being paid to go on Facebook and Twitter, your SOB boyfriend wouldn't stop bothering you (just because you sometimes stupidly call him over), for your mum it's all bull about loyalty and contemplating on performing Abba or Madonna, and one cute architect thinks he can walk into your life with his dog and inveigle you into liking him a teensy bit.

Sophie Stone's life summed up for your utmost delight.

The storyline is unique. Parts and pieces we've all experienced. Like an inattentive parent, a boyfriend who's just in it for the dough and a job we do not have the joie de vivre for anymore. So I think readers would nod at some points.

There humor in this book is just a tad bit above the chuckling level, at least for me. I'm sure I would have found this book incredibly funny if could get past THIS* situation.

The paramount features in this book I adored had to also be the lessons in it. From an outsider's view, we might read and judge Sophie for some of her actions, but let's face it, break ups are hard, and the fear of going single is daunting. So sometimes we get so vulnerable we take some of the worst decisions in relationships we would come to regret. Following your passion, ditching that boy who's in it for your newly acquired inheritance, loving the one you make a home with, forgiving the dad who abandoned you. These and more lessons you will learn from this title.

The characters in this book were also good. I loved Emma and Jess, but I loved Emma more for she represented the voice I would have used in admonishing Sophie. Sophie's boss also held my attention (I find horrible bosses fascinating), Sophie's mum almost made me gag for anyone who had a mother so aggravating.

Did I love this book? Almost. I wish I didn't spend most time seething over Sophie's actions. By the THIS* situation above, I just didn't love how Sophie could stomach all the people she had to be rid of like her (ex) boyfriend and her mum. I really wished it hadn't ticked me off that much, but I'm sure Cathy might have used that as a tool to allow us understand Sophie and not judge, love her for having too much of a kind soul and a Fix It spirit, for which made her a target for others to take advantage of.

But at the end of the day, if the truly the end justifies the means, Sophie's transformation turned out to be remarkable and would bring some level of fulfilment to all readers. In life, we lose our way, but the most important achievement is finding it.

My rating: Four stars.

Cathy Bramley's debut, Conditional Love is available on Amazon.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants a lead they can constantly sympathize and want to smack at the same time. Anyone who needs something with dense themes could also pick this.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads as well as Amazon.

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