Coming Home to Greenleigh

Fiction - Womens
398 Pages
Reviewed on 02/10/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Maya Rushing Walker writes romantic, slow-burn literary fiction set in Old and New England. She lives and writes in a 1780s farmhouse in northern New England. COMING HOME TO GREENLEIGH is set in the kind of small New England town that she knows well.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Sandy Masia for Readers' Favorite

Elisabeth Burnham feels like a total failure. She is submerged in a sea of debt because of her old historic New England house and none of her clients is able to pay her for the legal work she does for them. Desperate, she decides to go to the local law firm, Lawson & Lawson, to beg for any work to help stay above water. To her embarrassment and surprise, the person taking the meeting is her ex-boyfriend, who had left for New York eight years ago under unpleasant circumstances. There is history there, a painful unfinished past which just begs to be resolved and makes for the subject of Coming Home To Greenleigh among other things.

Coming Home To Greenleigh by Cassandra Austen is an elegant novel. The prose is fulfilling and the characters are endearing. Cassandra Austen has highlighted the idyllic, humble and heart-warming spirit of a New England small town to the delight and enjoyment of her readers. Cassandra Austen weaves a story that is nuanced, deep, slow-burning and engaging. She has made perceptive decisions with her plot, subverting her reader’s expectations by sidestepping and exceeding them. The story never goes where you think it might, it doesn't do what you think it will, and it doesn’t get its appeal from exploiting tried and true tropes and sensibilities. It refuses to be bridled by convention, expectations or indulgence. It does all this with class, softness, and naturalness that pleasantly baffle the reader.

How could a book have all the features of conventional chick-lit, satisfy chick-lit tastes and yet be bold (in an understated way) and refreshing? This is the greatest trick Cassandra Austen pulls off in this book, and I can’t for the life of me figure out how she did it. For instance, it refuses to fuel itself on sexual tension and the gentleman of interest isn’t a bad boy, ultra-wealthy or genteel; he is flawed, reasonably successful but all too human like us. This is just the beginning of it. Coming Home To Greenleigh is wholesome. It is splendid. It is right. It is beautiful.

K.C. Finn

Coming Home to Greenleigh is a work of women’s fiction set in contemporary times which deals with life, love, and the past, and was penned by author Cassandra Austen. The action centers around our protagonist Beth Burnham, a lawyer who is short on clients and needs to raise money for renovations to her family’s crumbling historic house. When she finds herself at the mercy of an old boss who’s also an old flame, past and present collide as Beth tries to make difficult decisions about her future. So begins a deeply emotional tale of loves both old and new, heartbreak and self-discovery.

Author Cassandra Austen has crafted a beautifully clean-cut drama that readers of any sensitivity level are sure to enjoy. Though there are plenty of heartaches and ups and downs in the well-crafted plot of this tale, the overall atmosphere is one of a cozy read where a down-on-her-luck heroine can find new opportunities and be proactive about the many choices she still has in life. Beth is a relatable modern woman who suffers from the ‘having it all’ pressures that we so often feel, and it’s wonderful to see her have such choice and presence, but also be a little fragile and emotionally relatable when it really counts. The dialogue and narration surrounding the character give her this truly realistic feel and keep us rooting for her right to the last page. Overall, Coming Home to Greenleigh is an accomplished work that women’s fiction fans everywhere are certain to adore.

Edith Wairimu

Coming Home to Greenleigh, a heart-warming romance novel by Cassandra Austen, follows Elisabeth Burnham’s journey of self-discovery. Set in the small town of Greenleigh, New England, the novel begins by a coincidental meeting between Elisabeth and an ex-boyfriend. After years of living in New York, Shawn Waterstone is back, still grieving over how they broke things off. Elisabeth, in turn, is now a lawyer running her own practice but her past and her mounting debt are still holding her back. Having to look for extra work to supplement her meager income, she bumps into Shawn. As they try to make sense of and move forward from the past, Elisabeth meets Gunnar, a spontaneous tattoo artist who comes with the promise of a new life. Which path will Elisabeth follow?

In this novel, Elisabeth grows from being unassertive to being a confident person, capable of deciding for herself what she wants. Shawn also comes to realize and accept his past mistakes. The conflict in the book, which is established by Elisabeth being torn between two people who represent two separate paths, creates a foundation for the plot. The plot moves steadily, showing the turmoil in Elisabeth’s life and her gradual growth. A parallel plot that involves the near-divorce of an older couple gives the story even more depth. With two main characters each on their path of self-examination and moving forward from the past, Coming Home to Greenleigh by Cassandra Austen proves to be a delightful, beautiful novel that fans of romance will love.

Marta Tandori

Attorney Elisabeth Burnham appears to be living a charmed life in Greenleigh in one of those venerable old manses on Church Street. The only problem is, the old house is falling down around her and she can’t afford to make the much-needed repairs, let alone pay her stack of overdue bills. To make matters worse, Elisabeth’s career as a sole practitioner is floundering without new clients and she’s been forced to offer her freelance legal services to the blue-chip law firm in town. The managing partner is now Shawn Waterstone, the love of her life, until she’d chosen Greenleigh and her mother over him and he’d taken off to New York City. The last thing she wants is to take handouts from Shawn or to rekindle their former romance. In fact, Elisabeth would like nothing better than to leave Greenleigh and never look back and yet, there seems to be no way out…

Small-town charm and second chances are at the heart of Coming Home to Greenleigh, a heart-warming work of women’s fiction by Cassandra Austen. Coming Home to Greenleigh effectively mixes small-town society with believable characters to create a story that immediately engages, thanks in no small part to Austen’s female protagonist whose spunk and outward independence are nicely balanced by her vulnerability as she struggles to make ends meet, often at the expense of her basic creature comforts. A good heart and the wisdom that comes from maturity make Austen’s hero the perfect foil for the prickly Elisabeth. Also at the forefront of this sweet, slow-burning romance is the concept of embracing love a second time around. Austen has given Coming Home to Greenleigh authenticity by reminding us that second chances come but once in a lifetime and, more often than not, they’re mired by painful memories, bruised egos and a host of things never said. These are key elements that drive the plot, pepper the narrative and stoke the fires of rekindled love when everything seems all but lost. Coming Home to Greenleigh goes straight to the heart and makes that much yearned-for happily ever after all the sweeter.

Ruffina Oserio

Coming Home to Greenleigh by Cassandra Austen is a beautiful romance with strong themes for women. Elizabeth Burnham is experiencing the lowest moment in her career as a lawyer. She has practiced alone in her local town, but with bills growing and clients getting fewer and fewer, she finds herself with only one option — the rich legal firm operating in her town. When she goes to apply, she is stunned that the man who interviews her is someone from her past, someone she left heartbroken. The new boss confesses his feelings for her and when she starts considering giving love a second chance, someone new comes into her path with an irresistible offer. Can she follow the tattoo artist for an experience of a lifetime or go back to correct a relationship that never worked out?

I love writing that is fluid and beautiful and this author is so good at it. Cassandra Austen captures the setting with brilliance and uses strong literary elements to enhance the writing, allowing the season of fall to mirror the mood of the protagonist: “Fall was Elisabeth’s favorite time of year. Yes, it was sad. The angle of the New England sun was sad. The bare trees were sad. Even the slow-moving bugs were sad.” Then she introduces the contrast in a nuanced statement, stating that the brightness of summer wasn’t even real. “Fall always felt more like the world that she knew.” This ability to plunge into the depths of the emotions of the characters and to allow readers glimpses into their souls makes the story so real and relatable that it evokes strong feelings and memories of my downcast days. The emotional depth of the story and the conflict are strengths in the writing that stand out. The plot is exciting and the author toys with the emotions of readers, keeping them wondering what will happen next. Coming Home to Greenleigh reads like a classic work, deftly written and balanced.