The Green Hills of Home by Emma Bennet

The phrase 'once bitten, twice shy' came to mind as Gwen resolved to be far more careful with her heart in future. 

Title - The Green Hills of Home
Author - Emma Bennet
Publisher - Joffe Books Romance Novels
Publication Date - 2nd October 2014
Format - eBook (Provided via author)

The blurb

Gwen Jones, a young Welsh writer, is desperate to save the family farmhouse from being sold from under her critically ill mother and herself. When she lands a lucrative three-book deal with an eminent publisher, she thinks her problems are all over. However, Gwen's need to be near her sick mother means she's unable to travel to London to work with her devilishly desirable editor John Thatcher, and he must come and stay with her in Wales. Handsome and eminently capable, cosmopolitan John is used to getting his own way and had plans for the future which certainly don't include being distracted by pretty Welsh girls; nevertheless when he journeys into the country to work with Gwen it's not long before he finds himself falling in love with her, as well as the house she's so anxious to save. But is John capable of loving anyone as much as his job? And when he has to decide between his goals and Gwen, which will he choose? 

Becca's thoughts

Firstly, I'd like to say a huge thank you to the lovely author Emma Bennet for getting in contact with me and requesting a review for The Green Hills of Home. I love finding new review requests in my inbox, I always feel a little bubble of excitement at the thought of discovering a new author and another brand new story. It's probably one of my favourite feelings in the world! So Emma, I cannot thank you enough. 

I think one of the main reasons as to why I enjoyed reading The Green Hills of Home so much was because of the fact that Emma's heroine Gwen Jones was an aspiring writer. Dabbling in writing myself, I was able to connect and click with her instantly. She was passionate about her work, eager to succeed, and I just think it was such a gorgeous aspect to add the story. I haven't read that many stories that have involved authors before, so it was a delightfully refreshing change from the characters who are stuck in an office all day, you know? Another thing that I noticed almost immediately regarding Gwen's character, and something that made me respect her even more, was how fiercely loyal she was to her dear mother. When Gwen was given a book-deal, despite it being a dream come true, she wasn't willing to start travelling all over the place because she wanted to be there if and when her mother needed her. I found this incredibly heart-warming, and it emphasised how truly selfless Gwen's character was. She was polite, intelligent, and was not about to let her mother down, no matter cropped up. There was a ton of depth to her character, allowing me to really get to know her from the inside out. Her worries, what made her happy, and what wound her up. What I loved was even though Gwen was polite and friendly, she wasn't about to let anybody walk all over her. She was firm in her beliefs and so considerate when it came to her mother who was in the hospital. Overall, Gwen's character was truly likeable, and it was a joy to be invited along on her journey. 

When Gwen is given her book-deal, John Thatcher, the handsome man that she's bumped into numerous times on the street, turns out to be her stone-faced, workaholic editor. From the moment Gwen walks into his office to introduce herself, John is not the most welcoming. In fact, he's downright rude. Emma did such a fantastic job of creating the love/hate relationship between these two, and the fact that the story also slipped into John's point of view too, made it endlessly entertaining. The majority of the time, John had his phone permanently glued to the side of his face and was too busy typing to actually make polite conversation. So, when Gwen refuses to head back to work with John on her manuscript, he has no other option except to go to Gwen instead. Eeeep! I freaking loved this aspect! I adored the fact that John would be stepping out of his usual habitat of technology and sleek professionalism and heading to Wales, to the land of countryside, and to a farmhouse where his signal was going to be non-existent. He was like a fish out of water! I laughed out loud at the thought of him being there, completely stranded without the use of his phone and without news from back at the office. I found John's character to be increasingly frustrating. He was so proper and serious all the time, and if I'd have been Emma, I would have kicked him straight out of my home and told him to bugger off back to where he came from. Of course, Gwen wouldn't have been able to that! John was her editor, at the publishing house where she'd just been given a book deal! Even an inch of rudeness could have put her right back where she started, and the farmhouse would have been hanging in the balance. I just got this distinct impression from him that nothing was good enough, nothing was up to his impeccably high standards, and at one point during reading, I was actually hoping and praying that he was going to loosen up, because I was just wound up by his rude manner! Of course, poor old John wasn't being like that for no reason. Everybody has their reasons for acting the way they do, and that includes Mr John Thatcher, too. Thankfully, the added bonus of Emma flipping the narrative to John allowed me to get inside his mind and find out what exactly was the reason that had him behaving the way he was. It was BRILLIANT!!!

Emma moved her plot along at such a lovely, gentle pace, going into depth with details at just the right moments and letting me in on little secrets here and there. Her dilemma was evident; she needed the book-deal to help keep the farmhouse. If she lost the farmhouse, then her mother would have been devastated, and book -deal or no book-deal, Gwen Jones would have felt like a big fat failure. Generations of their family had lived in the farmhouse, and there was no way that Gwen was prepared to give it up. The fact that Gwen's mother was in hospital broke the story up nicely, allowing Gwen time away from John whenever he was staying at her home to work on her manuscript. I felt that if it hadn't of been for visiting her mother, Gwen would have been driven completely insane! Another character that I capture my heart was the absolutely adorable Oscar, Gwen's dog. I think Oscar played such a great role in the story, and played a part in turning John's opinions around about the farmhouse, where Gwen lived, and even Gwen herself. The atmosphere between the two characters was up and down constantly; sometimes they were getting along, other times they were each other's worst enemy. I loved watching how, over time, the relationship changed and moulded into something new entirely. The progression of it was perfect, and I am so thankful that Emma didn't rush it, because it just wouldn't have had the same effect on me. 

Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Green Hills of Home by Emma Bennet. It was warm, entertaining, and superbly written. The romance, the dilemmas, the determination to keep the farmhouse! It all equalled one fabulous read that I'm so happy I had the chance to read and review. Again, Emma, thank you SO much for getting in contact with me, and I do hope you keep me in my mind when looking for any future reviewers. I'd be more than happy to volunteer myself! ;)

Becca's Books is rating The Green Hills of Home by Emma Bennet with four cupcakes! The setting of Wales, the lack of signal and the creaky old farmhouse made for one gorgeous story that I happily snuggled up with. 

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