When the going gets tough, the tough get sewing…
Welcome to Bluebell Hall. Pull up a wonky chair, grab a cream bun and settle into a story about a little village, a determined caretaker – and bunting…
At twenty-nine, Connie isn’t quite where she thought she’d be. When her beloved gran died Connie returned to Hazelhurst, the village she grew up in, and took over her gran’s old job as caretaker at the village hall. It might not be the stuff of dreams, but Connie loves working at Bluebell Hall – the heart of the community.
So when Bluebell Hall is threatened with closure, Connie is determined not to let greedy property developers get their hands on it. She hatches a plan bonkers enough that it just might work. All it takes is a needle and thread, scraps of old material and willing hands. Can Connie convince the people of Hazelhurst that their village hall is worth saving? And will she save herself in the process…?
Review: This was my first book by Poppy Dolan. It has a brilliant, bright cover, which is enough to draw any reader to it, promising all sorts of country village-related activities. There are, of course, plenty of bunting pictured too, fitting in with the title of the book.
The story revolves around 29-year-old Connie, who is caretaker of the village hall in Hazelhurst, a role she has taken over from her late grandmother, to whom she was very close. Bluebell Hall, as it is called, should be the hub of the village, as these places tend to be, but it is in poor repair and thus not attracting great numbers of people. When the trust that oversees the hall seems to be threatening its closure, Connie starts a campaign to save it that requires getting the whole village behind her. Amongst the activities is the establishment of the Bluebell Bunting Society of the book's title. Interest in a variety of crafts is also sparked by the bunting making activities.
I loved Connie's passion and determination to save her hall. It is her life, and she is fazed by the thought of losing it. It is great to see how friends old and new, young and not so young are inspired by her to pull together in their efforts to preserve this building. Truly community spirit at work. I also enjoyed meeting some of the other characters in the village. The girls in Connie's Bluebell troop added a bit of amusement, while there was the promise of possible romance in the guise of Alex, the scout leader.
Although largely entertaining, I found this story a bit slow at times and really not one that pulled the reader in and begged to be read. It definitely lives up to its description as a feel-good story, but personally I felt that there was not enough going on at times to really grab and keep my attention.
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