Saturday 22 February 2020

Book Review ~ Springtime at Hope Hall by Pam Rhodes

Lion Hudson
21 February 2020

My thanks to the publishers and Midas PR for my copy of this book

Springtime at Hope Hall is the first book in a new heart-warming trilogy by the familiar face of BBC Songs of Praise and successful author, Pam Rhodes.

Inspired by community halls that are the glue for so many people in Britain, Springtime at Hope Hall brings together a series of endearing stories and colourful characters who all congregate under one roof.

Its rooms are filled with gossipy grandmas, body popping teenagers, dance groups, a choir without one decent singer to their name, knitters who natter, caterers who bake glorious cakes, slimmer’s nibbling chocolate, and a nursery group where it’s the grown-ups who are near to tears.

It's all in a day’s work for administrator Kath, whose job it is to make sure Hope Hall offers something for everyone in the community. Kath has a wonderful team but she knows they are struggling. Their caretaker, Trevor, has a terminally ill wife and Maggie, their unflappable cook, has been left by her husband.

Whilst the team work to pull off their ambitious Centenary Easter Monday Fayre, Kath realises that reinforcements are needed. Brash, loud and inexperienced though she may be, Shirley comes onto the scene to save the day. The Fayre is a triumph but when Kath’s old flame unexpectedly arrives, she suddenly has some tough decisions to make…

Coming from Hope Hall are stories of struggle, passion, and joy. It’s a place that’s full of friends and neighbours with stories that will have you giggling one minute and dabbing your eyes the next. Like so many community halls dotted around the country, Hope Hall is at the heart of life and the local community.

What did I think about it..

The delightfully named Hope Hall is right at the heart of the community and provides a welcome meeting place for all sorts of people. From the tiny tots at the playgroup, to the old and bold in their armchair exercise group, there is never a moment when the warmth and friendliness of Hope Hall doesn’t work its own special kind of magic.

Beautifully organised by a happy band of people, Kath, the Hall’s administrator, hides her own sadness beneath an air of efficiency and as the story progresses it soon becomes obvious that some of the helpers who make Hope Hall such a roaring success, are at times, struggling with their own individual problems.

The author writes with a lovely light touch and brings warmth, empathy and understanding to each of the character’s individual stories and allows each of them to have their own special time in the spotlight. There are some poignant moments which tug away at your heart strings but there’s also some laugh out loud funny bits which help to connect everything together in a really meaningful way. I think what’s so lovely about Hope Hall is the way that both the place and the people are immediately relatable and anyone who has ever been part of a local project will recognise the similarities and appreciate just how vital these places are to small communities.

Springtime at Hope Hall is the first in a trilogy of novels which is based around those who bring Hope Hall to life and as I finished this first book I was already looking forward to the next story, Summer’s Out at Hope Hall is planned for April 2021.

Recommended : Absolutely ✅ especially if you enjoy beautifully written stories with a warm heart of gold.

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.

Twitter @LionHudson #SpringtimeatHopeHall


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