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Archive for the ‘Holiday Reading’ Category

Return To Bluebell Hill

Author: Rebecca Pugh
Published: 18 June 2015
Reviewed: 29 June 2015

4 out of 5 Stars

Description:

Home is where the heart is…

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? 

My Thoughts & Review: 


Return to Bluebell Hill is Rebecca Pugh’s debut novel and having read her second novel I was keen to read this one.  This book has a lovely cosy warmth to it, the sort of book you can curl up on the sofa with or sit in the sun and lose track of time.  
Jessica McAdams returns to her childhood home of Bluebell Hill to attend the funeral of her estranged parents, and is reunited with her old nanny Esme, but whilst the reunion is overshadowed by the tragic death of her parents, Jessica is nonetheless pleased to be back in the embrace of Esme and soon meets Reuben the handsome gardener.  
As Jessica narrates her tale, we discover that her relationship with her parents was a troubled one, feeling they had no time for her or interest in her, Jessica spent most of her young life with nanny Esme, so it was no surprise that once she turned 18 Jessica left Bluebell Hill for London to start a new life.

Despite little blips and breaks in continuity, this was an enjoyable read, a nice break away from the madness of recent days.  Something about this book grabbed my attention when I started reading and held it through to the end.  Covering aspects such as love, betrayal, regret, friendship and forgiveness this book really ticks many boxes for fans of female literary fiction.  Rebecca Pugh writes with striking detail, her vivid descriptions of Bluebell Hill are a thing of beauty.  The setting of the house was so picturesque I could happily sit back and daydream about it and the wonderful gardens.  Even the descriptions of characters were treated to this flowing grandness, you really do feel like you are there in the book seeing the people and the settings.   

Jessica was a likeable character, well fleshed out and interesting.  Some of her motives did seem a little naive at times, but Pugh takes great care to weave in the troubles of Jessica’s past to illustrate that this may be why the character does not form relationships easily etc.  Reuben, well he’s a book all on his own.  Swoon worthy and utterly delectable, he’s the right mix of strong masculine and caring, considerate that we have come to expect from the genre.  He compliments Jessica’s character well, there is a good dynamic between them and it made for enjoyable and interesting reading.  Another character I did especially like what Esme, a sprightly 63 year old who seemed to have endless energy first thing in the morning and was a delightful contract to Jessica.  Her pearls of wisdom more than once gave Jessica pause for thought, but she never interfered.  
I would have liked to have seen the story of Jessica’s parents explored more, their untimely deaths seemed to hang in mid air for me.  I had wondered that if more would be revealed in the story, as was the case with Jessica’s estrangement from her parents and her leaving Bluebell Hill, but I cannot honestly say that I saw any further mention of this.  The strained relationship she also had with her parents would have been something else I would have loved to have seen expanded upon, but again that’s just my personal preference.   
This was an enjoyable read, heart warming with the right mix of sadness and happiness.  A love story with ups, downs and laughter, beautiful descriptiveness, practically idyllic at times.  A quick read, but for me this was an added bonus, I needed something quick to get my mind off the madness of late and this hit the spot perfectly.  
This was Rebecca Pugh’s début novel, and having read A Home In Sunset Bay, I can honestly say that I am a big fan of her books.  I can’t wait for Down On Daffodil Lane to arrive on my Kindle in August.  These books are all standalone books, you do not need to read them in any order, but I would say that after reading Bluebell Hill, Pugh’s writing has evolved and she seems to have found her flair in writing (that’s not to say she didn’t show great talent in the first place, I just believe that she has now found what works well in her novels).  

This is the sort of book you could load on to your Kindle for your summer reading or equally pick up on a rainy afternoon and be lost in the beautiful sunshine and wonderful countryside.  

You can purchase a copy Return to Bluebell Hill here.   

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Bright Stars

Author : Sophie Duffy
Published: 01 October 2015
Reviewed: 30 September 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Legend Press in return for an honest review via NetGalley.

 

4 out of 5 stars



Four students are involved in a tragedy that rips their friendship apart. What happens when they are reunited 25 years later?

Cameron Spark’s life is falling apart. He is separated from his wife, and awaiting a disciplinary following an incident in the underground vaults of Edinburgh where he works as a Ghost Tour guide. On the day he moves back home to live with his widowed dad, he receives a letter from Canada. It is from Christie. Twenty-five years earlier, Cameron attends Lancaster University and despite his crippling shyness, makes three unlikely friends: Christie, the rich Canadian, Tommo, the wannabe rock star and Bex, the feminist activist who has his heart. In a whirlwind of alcohol, music, and late night protests, Cameron feels as though he’s finally living; until a horrific accident shatters their friendship and alters their futures forever. Christie’s letter offers them a reunion after all these years. But has enough time passed to recover from the lies, the guilt, and the mistakes made on that tragic night? Or is this one ghost too many for Cameron?

In 1986 Cameron Spark went to university in Lancaster, a shy and quiet young Scottish lad that managed to form three of the most unbelievable friendships that change his life forever, shape what becomes of him and his friends.
Cameron first meets Tommo who is the antithesis of Cameron; he is English, he is loud, he dresses in drainpipe jeans, wears fashionable shoes, drinks alcohol and wants to be a rock star.  Then there is Bex, the love of Cameron’s life, an animal rights activist, feminist and can do no wrong as far as Cameron is concerned.  Christie, the final of the four, is a Canadian, who comes to Lancaster to study marketing before she takes the reins of the family wine business back home.
Being the typical students, they go to lectures, get drunk, go to gigs and generally have a good time being young and free from parents watching over them.  Or that is until that fateful night that changes everyone’s lives, the accident changes Cameron’s life in more ways that he can imagine, friendships are abandoned, and the mistakes that are made that night will haunt each of them for the next 25 years.
Switch to current day, Cameron, now in his 40s has split from his wife, moving back into his childhood home with his widower father (and Myrtle the dog), suspended from his job (pending investigation of an incident in the underground vaults of Edinburgh) and writing a journal as part of his therapy from a counsellor as a means to coping better.  Then the letter arrives from Christie, inviting them to a reunion of sorts, what can she possibly want Cameron there for?  Can he face her after what happened all those years ago?  Have Tommo and Bex been invited too? 

There is so much I could say about this story, but I really don’t want to give away too much and spoil the book for others. 

The writing style of this novel is good, the jumping back and forth between 1986 and present time is done really well, it gives so much information about Cameron as a young man at university and the group of friends he has, and explains a lot of why things have turned out as they have. 
For me, none of the characters are particularly likeable, they are all at one point or another needing taken aside, shaken and told to “buck up” – but this is very realistic in many ways, how many times do we do things, say things, act in ways that make us annoying to others, naive or just plain stupid?  For someone to make characters like that it’s very good writing in my opinion, it’s easy to write loveable characters, but to create ones that are difficult to like seems a lot harder (maybe I’m wrong?).  
There is a fine line between doing things for the right reason and doing things for the wrong reason, and this novel explore that well. 

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Chick Lit, it would also make a good holiday read.

I would like to thank Legend Press for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book will be published on 1st October 2015 .  A copy can be purchased here  Bright Stars (Kindle UK Version).
 

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