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.

Publisher: Lion Hudson
Pages: 256

Pam Rhodes is the well known presenter of Songs of Praise, she has written several books but Springtime at Hope Hall is the first I have read. I live in a small village with two village halls and I’m an active member of our WI so I knew I would enjoy this book.
Hope Hall is almost the central character in Rhode’s story, it ties all the other characters together and provides many entertaining situations. Kath is the manager of the village hall and she is such a likeable character. She moved back to the village to care for her mother in her last years of life and decided to stay on once her mother had passed away. She missed her job as a senior hospital administrator so when the opportunity came up to manage the hall, she jumped at it. It becomes clear that it is more than a job for Kath, she cares deeply about the community and she knows how integral the hall is within village life.
I loved how Rhodes detailed the many activities that take place within the hall, from Scouts meetings, Women’s Institute, dance classes and coffee mornings. There is something for all ages and it made me think about the village halls in my own village and how they bring so many different people together. 

As I said, Kath is a lovely character but there are many more within the book. One of my favourites was Maggie, she runs the cafe and cooks many meals and cakes for people coming to the hall. Her husband has recently left her for a younger woman so she is nursing a broken heart but she won’t let down the village and throws herself into cooking and helping out. I really liked her attitude and how she wants to look after everyone around her without a care for herself. 

Springtime at Hope Hall is a lovely read and I think it’s going to be a great trilogy. I’m already looking forward to getting to know the characters more, it is going to be a charming series of books. Many thanks to Midas PR for sending me a copy of the book to review.

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