As sweet and satisfying as strawberries and cream! This British summertime, get out in the garden with Rebecca Pugh’s sparkling debut novel.
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?
An emotional tale of self-discovery, taking chances and romance! Rebecca’s unique British voice feels like coming home again and again.
Return to Bluebell Hill was one of my most highly anticipated reads of the summer. I know Rebecca through the book blogging community and we started submitting our writing to publishers at the same time, sharing the stress of the nail-biting period where you press refresh on your email every two minutes. So to be able to review her debut and be part of her blog tour is absolutely fantastic- she's proof that with hard work and determination dreams can come true!
Return to Bluebell Hill is a romantic and mysterious tale based around protagonist Jessica's sudden return to the sleepy village she grew up in. She arrives back full of doubt and uncertainty after the sudden death of her parents, and as the story develops it's apparent that life as she knows it is about to change forever. Firstly, there's Rueben, the attractive gardener who's caught her eye, but there's something else too- as she clears out her family home Bluebell House ready for putting on the market she uncovers secrets beyond anything she could have believed possible...
I really liked Jessica and felt for her situation. To go back to somewhere that holds bad memories takes guts, especially without any family for support. That's why I was glad she had strong relationships with her friends such as Sarah and Esme, and I found the scenes where she opened up to those closest to her were cosy and comforting to read.
Personally, I preferred the storyline with the air of mystery to that of the romance, especially in the first half of the book- the secrets had me turning the page as I desperately wanted to find out more! In fact, I'd love Rebecca to go down that route and write something laden with suspense and intrigue as those weighty scenes were fabulous- I wolfed them down like they were a box of Tunnock's teacakes! It wasn't that I wasn't interested in Rueben and Jessica's relationship, more that I was greedily trying to get back to the thread that had so grabbed my attention.
The descriptions, particularly of Bluebell House and Bluebell Hill appealed to my daydreamy nature, and I was delighted how the way they were described in the novel perfectly matched the images in my imagination. I want a house like Bluebell House with a wraparound porch and woods all around it for romance and naughtiness...what a gorgeous location creation.
Overall, Return to Bluebell Hill is a well-worked blend of romance and suspense which had me longing for the valleys of my own home town. It's already storming in the rankings and I sincerely hope it continues to ride high- there's nothing like seeing a debut author grow in popularity!
An easy-to-read summer treat which makes me curious as to which direction Rebecca will take with her follow up novel, Rebecca's writing may appeal to fans of authors such as Katie Fforde and Giovanna Fletcher.
Return to Bluebell Hill is out now, published by Carina UK.
With thanks to the publisher who provided me with a copy of this book in return for my thoughts.