"Jessica McAdams has never belonged anywhere; never truly felt at home. Of course, what did she expect from parents who never made her feel welcome in her own house? Leaving her life in London to return home to the charming country village of Bluebell Hill is harder than she thought. Especially as she never considered she’d be returning under such heart wrenching circumstances…
Clearing out the stunning and imposing Bluebell House after her parents’ death is difficult for Jessica—they never had the best relationship and now it’s too late. Yet spending time in the house that was never a home, having afternoon tea with dear old friend Esme—and sharing hot, sizzling kisses with delectable gardener Rueben!—opens Jessica’s eyes to the potential of Bluebell House… Could this big old, beautiful manor really be her forever home? Is Bluebell Hill where her heart is, has always been?
Jessica soon dares to dream of her very own home with delicious Rueben by her side. But when a deep, dark secret of Bluebell House is unearthed, Jessica’s world is turned upside down…
Will Jessica ever find where her heart truly lies?
The wonderful Rebecca Pugh has been talking about her debut novel for the past few months now and I've been thrilled for her - what an achievement! Although I couldn't wait to get involved and get my mitts on a copy, there was that underlying worry. I feel like Becca is a friend - although we haven't met in person, she welcomed me into the blogging community with open arms, is always there to chat to on twitter and is just a genuinely lovely person. Which created an underlying fear - although really I knew the book would be fab, there was a tiny part of me that worried - what if I didn't like it? What would I say to her? Once Return to Bluebell Hill was on my kindle I was so excited but also slightly nervous -I had a feeling I've never had with a book before - it felt really personal.
However, from the very first sentence any nerves swiftly disappeared and were replaced with joy as Becca is BRILLIANT. Absolutely Brilliant. She's created a romantic, mysterious story that I loved and I'm so pleased to share my review with you all!
I knew from the first few pages I was going to enjoy the story. Rebecca has a great writing style - engaging, easy-going and descriptive. Straight away I loved the main character, Jessica, wanting to find out more about her mysterious past and what happened with her parents. The story follows her on her journey back to her childhood home, to clear out her parents house after their death. From the very start we learn that they didn't have a good relationship with them and she isn't mourning the way most people would be if both their parents passed away - she is reserved and almost cold about the situation.
As she returns to Bluebell Hill, she leaves behind her best friend and crutch of support, Sarah. I thought she was a brilliant character - funny, caring and just a really good friend. There are some other great characters too. There's Esme, who looked after Jessica as she was growing up and is a motherly figure to her - more so than her own mother was. Esme was possibly my favourite character in the story as she is so kind and genuine. She is actually harbouring the big secret that surrounds Jessica and her parents relationship, but she's not malicious - she always has Jessica's feelings at the forefront of her mind which is why she's kept it to herself for so long.
Of course, any great romantic fiction story needs a swooning romance, and that's when I'll mention Rueben, the veryyyy attractive gardener who works in her parents house. From the offset there's a connection there between him and Jessica, a tension that has you screaming for them to just get on with it and kiss already! I loved seeing their relationship develop and unfold, especially as it brings Jessica's guard down and reveals a softer side to her.
The story has a host of wonderful locations. There's Bluebell Hill, of course, which sounds beautiful and quaint. Although Jessica doesn't see the charm of the place as she only associates it with bad memories, as a reader I wanted to jump on a train and head there - it sounded lovely. Then later in the story Jessica heads to Paris (I won't say why as it would really ruin things!) but the description there is brilliant yet again - I felt like I was walking down the Champs-Élysées, eating fresh bread and cheese and drinking wine with them it was so immersive.
So, there you have it - Return to Bluebell Hill is brilliant, and I'm not just saying that! If you haven't bought it already then what are you waiting for?! The link is below! Rebecca is one to watch - I think this is the beginning of a very successful writing journey for her. I see 'bestseller' being on the horizon with this absolute treat of a story. Congratulations again Becca!
Keep an eye out for a Q&A with Becca on Little Northern Soul next week as part of the Return to Bluebell Hill blog tour!