I’m a big royals fan! When photos of Queen Elizabeth or any of her grandkids (or great-grandkids) pop up on my screen, I usually take a few seconds to read about the events and look… More
Mimi Matthews is a new-to-me author who revives a gothic-like romance with Jane Eyre flair, historical intrigue, and a wonderfully redeemable rogue.
About the book:
She Wanted Sanctuary…
Helena Reynolds will do anything to escape her life in London, even if that means traveling to a remote cliffside estate on the North Devon coast and marrying a complete stranger. But Greyfriar’s Abbey isn’t the sort of refuge she imagined. And ex-army captain Justin Thornhill–though he may be tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome–is anything but a romantic hero.
He Needed Redemption…
Justin has spent the last two decades making his fortune, settling scores, and suffering a prolonged period of torture in an Indian prison. Now, he needs someone to smooth the way for him with the villagers. Someone to manage his household–and warm his bed on occasion. What he needs, in short, is a wife and a matrimonial advertisement seems the perfect way to acquire one.
Their marriage was meant to be a business arrangement and nothing more. A dispassionate union free from the entanglements of love and affection. But when Helena’s past threatens, will Justin’s burgeoning feelings for his new bride compel him to come to her rescue? Or will dark secrets of his own force him to let her go?
If you are a fan of historical romance, particularly more dramatic type, set in 1800s England, this story is likely to check all the boxes on your list. Brooding yet compassionate hero = check. Independent, intelligent, and kind heroine = check. Suspense = check. Accents = check. England = check.
There is also a Beauty and the Beast vibe, a moment where “cliffs of insanity” take on a whole new meaning, and some of the tenderest romantic vibes expressed in such subtle ways. This was truly a fun and beautiful story to read plus the hero is fantastically drawn and the heroine is strong minded/willed yet tempered with kindness. Her storyline is so interesting.
AND at least there is a kiss or two (for my sake, if for no one else’s)
One of the many things that is brought to life in this book is the setting. The story begins in London, but the largest portion of it takes place in North Devon, switching between a small country village and Greyfriar’s Abbey. The cliffs, sea, and countryside are used well to create a sense of both isolation, stark beauty, and…interestingly enough, freedom.
But what makes North Devon a worthy place for this story? Well, there’s a little bit of everything. Moors, hills, cliffs, quaint towns, and the SEA!
Let’s take a look.
Personally, my favorite thing is…the CLIFFS!!!
And the SEA!!!!!
And, of course, there is the mysterious Greyfriar’s Abbey – the home of Justin Thornhill (btw, can I just say I LOVE his self-discovery of what love is. Oh heavens!! And I adore the way he shows his love to Helena – his protection!!! It’s beautiful).
In North Devon there happens to be a popular abbey known as Buckland Abbey that I’m showing as an example of what Greyfriar’s might have looked like – for your viewing pleasure. You can find more images of Buckland Abbey HERE on Pinterest.😊
Ooh, just imagine this abbey a little more run down and cloaked in dusk. Fun stuff here 😉
I’m absolutely in love with the photos from this link (and this town) so I’m sharing it with you as a ‘taste’ of the setting for Matrimonial Advertisement 😊
They really give you some beautiful view of the cliffs and the sea. I can imagine Helena looking out over that view for the first time.
Have you read any of Mimi Matthews’ books?
About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical non-fiction and traditional historical romances set in Victorian England. Her articles on nineteenth century history have been published on various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and are also syndicated weekly at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes an Andalusian dressage horse, two Shelties, and two Siamese cats.
It has been four years since my debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, was published by Vinspire Publishing and my life as a published author began.
Since then, I’ve expanded my “published’ library to include more traditional books as well as independently published ones. Some received broader recognition, others found favor with a quieter group of readers, but with each story, I hope I’ve continued to grow as a writer – and that I continue (overtly or covertly) to show the beauty of the Gospel.
Writing has been such a journey. Each story forces me to look inside my own heart and well as draw from my thoughts and energies to pour into fictional people and worlds. Each story challenges me to improve my writing skills and story creating. Each story inspires an opportunity for the joy of creativity and the frustration of stubborn mental fatigue. AND each story provides a blank canvas of another way to show hope to a world in need of hope.
But within all of that, each story also makes my writing community richer and larger and so full! With each not book I write, I gain new readers who join with me on this journey and I am SO thankful for them! For you!
The Thorn Bearer began the first page of a lifetime of stories to be written. Since April 2015, I’ve had six novels published and four novellas. I have other novels that haven’t met readers’ eyes yet and dozens of ideas for more. I’ve gotten to try my hand at nonfiction. It’s been SUCH an amazing journey.
As I celebrate the bookiversary of The Thorn Bearer, I want to thank all of you who’ve joined me on this journey. Thank you for your encouragement, your notes, your reviews, and messages. Thanks for reading sneak peeks and hosting me on your blogs. Thanks for sharing my graphics and letting me know how much a quote meant to you.
This debut doesn’t get a lot of reviews anymore, but I was recently surprised by someone who found the key heart of the story worth a few words.
This is an amazingly powerful book! It’s a tough read in that it covers some difficult topics, but it is so well done. Every aspect and piece of the story is expertly and thoroughly woven together. It’s hard to even put into words just how well this author handles everything in this book from the difficult things to the romance to the healing and hope to the reminder that God is always there and we are never alone. It’s a tale full of redemption and hope and healing and the love story of a Savior for every single one of us no matter where we come from, what we’ve done, or what has been done to us. I highly recommend it! – Julie Jobe
To celebrate the bookiversary of The Thorn Bearer, I am giving away one of my books (winner’s choice) to two commenters! All you have to do is answer this question:
What is a theme you enjoy reading about in books?
We have THREE winners of audiobooks for Charming the Troublemaker!!
Alicia M. Laxton
Please email me at pepperdbasham (at) gmail.com to let me know you’d like to claim your prize!! Congratulations!!!
The third book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, A Match for Emma, is slated to come out in November 2019!! Woohoo!!!! I can’t wait to introduce you to a few new characters and celebrate familiar ones too!
A cover reveal is coming soon!!!!!!
Once Upon a Time…
There were fairy tales.
And from those fairy tales came MORE fairy tales because fairy tales have an amazing way of bringing truth to light in the most subtle of ways. This quote by author Ursula Le Guin or the one by famed Madeleine L’Engle puts the world of fairy tales into a bigger perspective.
And fairy tales have a way of community deep truth that few other tales can do.
So…how have fairy tales been woven through some of our more contemporary-published works? I asked readers and they gave me a few to share with you!
So, what are some great stories from the last decade that have been inspired by fairytales? Check THESE out!
The Not-So-Fairy Tales series by the amazing and hilarious Chautona Havig.
Sara Ella’s Unblemished Trilogy – which kind of ROCKED the CBA world with its awesomeness
Tinsel in a Tangle by Laurie Germaine (which has rave reviews from authors Chautona Having and Janine Rosche)
Melanie Dickerson, the ‘queen of inspirational fairytale-ish spinoffs’ just released a new one based on the story of Mulan called The Warrior Maiden, but if you’re wanting to know about MORE of her fairytale-ish stories, you can learn about the full gamut here. My daughter’s favorite is The Merchant’s Daughter!
AND since we’re celebrating fairy tale-ish stories, I’m giving away a paperback copy of my newest novella, Between Stairs and Stardust – a story inspired by Cinderella. This novella came out in the Finding Ever After compilation in February and you can get your copy of ALL four novellas (which are interlinked through the creation of a fairy tale book) HERE for only $4.99!
Just answer this question to be put into the drawing:
What is one fairy tale-ish story you’ve read recently that you’ve loved? If you’ve not read any fairy tale-ish story, share what one of your favorite classic fairy tales is?
I’m really curious!
How many of you guys listen to audiobooks?
It seems to be a rising trend and I can definitely see the allure. Recently, I listened to a few books and it was this amazing hands-free opportunity. I’m not saying I want to leave the paper/print world for full-blown audio, but I’m definitely planning to incorporate more audiobooks onto my TBR list 😊
Today I have some audiobook news, an audiobook GIVEAWAY, and some novella sales – so I wanted to take the opportunity to share the news with you guys!
Are you ready?
My #britallachian romance, Just the Way You Are, is coming to Amazon on AUDIOBOOK in April!!! YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!! Narrator Catherine Gaffney took on the daunting task of trying to get all of the personalities and accents together in this funny culture clash between Britain and Appalachia. If you like lighthearted romcoms (except with an inspirational thread), this story has it! And there’s a fun historical subplot along with it too.
Then, if you LIKE it…you’ll be pleased to know that one of the most adorable introvert-heroes on the planet is in book #2 😊
The second novel in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, Charming the Troublemaker, is OUT ON AUDIO!!!! YAY!!!! Now you can ‘hear’ all about #adorkableAlex and Rainey while doing other things like…washing dishes, driving, walking your dog, etc. Cool, huh?
So today I’m giving away THREE copies of the audiobook of Charming the Troublemaker. All you have to do is answer this question in the comments below: When you think of the word ‘home’ what comes to mind? Your existing house? A different place? Heaven?
Apart from Heaven, 😊 I get this general idea of my childhood surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, but I also have my kids all around me. Sounds weird, but my family and these mountains make up ‘home’ for me, wherever that may be. We’ve physically moved so many times, it’s hard for me to think of a physical ‘house’ as home at this time in my life.
But what about you? Where is home? What makes you think of home?
SNEAK PEEK at a little of Charming the Troublemaker? This excerpt is from one of my favorite scenes in the book!! #underoos
The interior of the car was dark behind the tinted windows, but she could make out Alex’s silhouette, so she tapped on the window. With a pregnant pause, the window began to descend enough to see Alex’s signature grin.
“Hey Alex, are you ok…” Her eyes widened as the lowering window revealed his bare shoulders and chest. “What?” The window glass graciously stopped lowering as she realized Alex’s computer bag probably blocked a lot more than his belly button. “What on earth…?”
His grin brightened, too much. “It’s a funny story actually.”
She blinked, still trying to get her thoughts to congeal into words. From her standing position, even in the fading light, she caught a clear glimpse of a broad chest and muscular arms. Her brain just couldn’t figure any excuse in the world about why Alex Murdock would be sitting on the side of this country road in nothing but his underoos.
“I ran off the road and dropped by phone.”
She studied him, trying to find the logical connection between dropping his phone and dropping his drawers. “Which automatically meant you stripped down to your skivvies in forty degree weather on the side of the road?”
He laughed. Laughed. Which immediately caused a responsive crash of two thoughts in her head. One, she wanted to chuckle too – at the sheer ridiculousness of the entire scene. In fact, a tickle waited for release in her throat as she wrestled with thought number two – Alex Murdock was crazy.
But she did like his laugh. And his boyish smile. Which might mean she was the crazy one.
“My cell flew out the window.”
“Your cell flew out the window?” Yep, he was crazy.
She tilted her head, playing along with the crazy. “Did the fairies take it?”
Free Book (and one on sale 😉)
Now for the SALE!!!!!
My two Jane Austen-inspired e-novellas are on SALE!!!
Leave your answer to the question below and be entered to win one of three copies of Charming the Troublemaker on audio!! Woohooo!!!!
Well written stories take us to places and times that linger long after the final page.
About the Book
In the spring of 1917, all of Britain’s attention is on the WWI war front and the thousands of young men serving their country on the front lines. Jack Benningham, dashing heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, is young and able-bodied but refuses to enlist despite the contempt of his peers.
A wealthy young suffragette, Grace Mabry will do anything to assist her country’s cause. Men like Jack infuriate her when she thinks of her own brother fighting in the trenches of France, so she has no reservations about handing him a white feather of cowardice at a posh masquerade ball.
But Grace could not anticipate the danger and betrayal set into motion by her actions, and soon she and Jack are forced to learn the true meaning of courage when the war raging overseas suddenly strikes much closer to home and their fervent beliefs become a matter of life and death. (From Bethany House)
Reading Kate Breslin’s novel, Not by Sight, was like stepping into the world I love researching so much. I almost expected some of my very own characters to emerge among the excellent prose and touch of suspense.
I loved witnessing Jack and Grace’s slow growing friendship and reading their snappy repartee. The way Grace’s personality, her kindness, and intelligence, melts away and the cynicism and wall around Jack’s heart like nothing else.
With romance, some humor, suspense, and weaving in of the power of faith, this story leaves the reader soaking in the light of story even after the book finishes.
Jack’s character was wonderfully wounded. Oh my, Breslin wrote him with such feeling and intensity. I loved being inside his head, a world shrouded in the darkness of sight and heart.
Grace was delightful. Young, faithful, generous of heart, and just enough temper to increase the spark in conversations.
The two of them on the page together brings a smile to my face…except when it broke my heart!
And the well-developed secondary characters (Marcus, Claire) round out this delightful story set in the English countryside in 1917.
This book is definitely going on my favorites’ read of 2019!
About the Author
A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and Christy Award finalist and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at http://www.katebreslin.com.
In a world where image is ‘everything,’ it’s easy to play the comparison game and come up wanting.
I’ve struggled with body image issues most of my life and the constant media presence of ‘the perfect’ body doesn’t help.
And focusing on image isn’t a bad thing – in fact, it can be remarkably freeing – if we have the proper frame of reference.
In Psalm 8, David (the psalmist) asks God, “What is man, that you are mindful of him; the son of man that you care for him?”
From the earliest pages of the Bible, we learn that humans are image bearers of God. In Psalm 8, two crucial ingredients add even more poignancy to the idea that we’re made in God’s image. Did you catch them?
What is man that:
- You are mindful of him
- You care for him
We are not only made in his image, but we are on his mind…and his heart. We take up space in the mind and heart of GOD!
Should this knowledge make a difference in the way we view ourselves and our fellow journeyers on the road of life?
If God has made us in his image, and if he thinks about us and cares for us, it shifts the balance of how we should view ourselves. We are wholly loved. Focusing on his definition of who we are, instead of playing the comparison game with one another, gives a strength, confidence, and compassion we can’t get otherwise.
Knowing we are fully loved – so much that we are on God’s mind and heart – should not only make a difference in how we face our own insecurities and heartaches but also how we treat other image bearers.
Compassion, kindness, and mercy should be our guides. Why? Because God himself put on flesh in the form of Jesus and had his image marred by abuse, nails, thorns, and our sin, to rescue the other image bearers of the world. His kids.
How does knowing you are on God’s mind and heart change the way you view yourself? The way you face your day?
Maybe take an opportunity to read Psalm 8 today to remind you of God’s love, presence, and view of you in the span of creation. It’s an encouraging read!
I don’t know about other authors, but I have favorite couples in my books.
FAVORITES! (plural…so maybe that’s not quite as amazing as only ONE favorite)
And I LOVE rereading certain elements of my stories, especially when it comes to a few characters that make the top of my list.
So I was disappointed in myself when I allowed one of my FAVORITE couples to get forgotten beneath the crazy of a new book release.
Seriously! What kind of ‘mama’ author am I? Forgetting my children like that!
Today, we are celebrating one of my favorite couples: David and Catherine from The Thorn Keeper.
The Thorn Keeper came out on Feb 6, 2016, and was the first time I wrote a bad-girl-turned-good. Something about Catherine Dougall has held my heart ever since.
The “story” behind Catherine’s story is one of my favorites. You see, she was never meant to turn good. I hadn’t planned on redeeming her. She was going to go the way of the villainesses of the world and suffer the consequences of her actions in the most lost of ways.
But then…my heart wouldn’t let me do that.
I had finished writing book 1, with Catherine losing everything, and a still small voice in my heart ushered a statement that changed the course of Catherine’s fictional future.
I want her.
As the request solidified in my creativity, Catherine’s story of redemption began to unfold and it has ALWAYS held a very special place for me because it reminds me of what Christ has done for me.
He wanted me.
So he called me by name and made me his – despite all of my mistakes, blunder, blindness, and sin.
I wasn’t a lost cause.
And Catherine became an example of that change.
She’s still uniquely Catherine, but…she’s a redeemed Catherine and it was a delight to watch her step from the woman she’d been to the one God had created her to be.
Add the charming, unassuming, introverted, and tenderhearted Dr. David Ross – and the sweetness, romance, and adventure takes on a shinier hue.
Their story makes me smile and it’s one I LOVE to reread.
Yes, I reread my own stories sometimes. Or at least certain scenes.
Is there a particular bad-guy/girl-turned good that you’ve read and really fell in love with?
Giveaway open 2/25/19 – 3/3/19 11:59pm EST. To enter, comment on this blog post. Open internationally. Void where prohibited. One (1) winner will receive an eBook copy of The Thorn Keeper, provided by Pepper Basham.
Once Upon a Time…
It was RELEASE DAY for the fairytale-ish collection Finding Ever After.
It ALSO happened to be Valentine’s Day 😉 Nice combo, if you ask me.
YES! Today’s the day that readers get to step into four different stories all bound together by a fairytale book. It has been such an honor and delight to get to work together with three friends and authors to develop this collection for you all and I’m SO PLEASED you get the chance to enjoy the ‘magic’ of romance through these stories.
You can learn more about the series HERE
Today, I’m going to give you a little tour into the real places you’ll glimpse in my novella, Between Stairs and Stardust. It’s such fun to introduce you to James and Stella, an unlikely pair with kindred hearts.
Between Stairs and Stardust takes place in Asheville, NC – mostly at the grand Biltmore estate or in my fictional estate of Cravewood. Because I am a devoted admirer of Biltmore, I loved including it into this sweet story AND because it’s a REAL place, I can show you a few of the places Stella and/or James visit.
First, is the meeting place: The lagoon (pond) at Biltmore. Here’s a little video so you can see 😊 (taken a few days ago 😉)
There’s also the walled-garden. Here you can see the conservatory on one side of the walled garden and just near it is the gardener’s cottage – both part of a rather lovely (and snowy) scene.
Also as part of that scene is the tea house with a view of the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains. Mr. Vanderbilt owned land all the way from the house to those mountains. The tea house is situated on the far side of a long terrace outside the house’s library. Here’s a video of that too. (the wind gets crazy, so bear with me).
There are so many wonderful places to see and explore at Biltmore and because of all the fun research I’ve gotten to do there, I’ve LOVED creating my own two fictional estates. Cravenwood, which you learn about in Between Stairs and Stardust, but also an upcoming estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains known as Glastor Estate.
Here are a few more views to enjoy!
I hope you’ll take the time to check out this wonderful collection – 4 stories for only $4.99!!!
AND, if you want to check out my writing style before you commit, my novella, Second Impressions is on sale for only .99 from Feb 15-16! It’s a great opportunity to take a trip to Bath, England where romance brews between a straight-and-narrow hotel owner and a color-outside-the-lines Austenite. Homicidal bonnets may come into play.
So…if you could have one thing from a fairytale you’ve read or watched, what would you want?
It’s almost Valentine’s Day and you know what that means?
Chocolate? Candy? Kisses?
Well….um…maybe, but it also means the release of Finding Ever After, a compilation of four novellas that come with a fairytale-ish twist.
Want to learn more?? Here’s a little about the collection…
Experience a touch of magic with these four fairytale-ish novellas that span over one hundred years. Linked by an illustrated book of fairy tales, each novella is an enchanting combination of a beloved classic sprinkled with the author’s own brand of fairy dust.
Stairs and Stardust is set in 1913 Asheville, NC at the beautiful Biltmore Estate and includes a budding children’s book illustrator, an out-of-the-box heir, and a teensy bit of Cinderella romance.
Entanglements has a Rapunzel twist and is set in 1920’s Boston between a reluctant heiress, a charming piano tuner, and a game of chess.
Twice Upon A Time is a Beauty-And-The-Beast inspired tale that brings a romance novelist back home to her family’s pecan farm… and the ex-fiance she left behind.
Once Bitten is a nod to Snow White that includes a fake date with a handsome woodsman, seven geeks, and the world’s best apple tarts.
To celebrate the fun and whimsy, I’m giving away paperback copies of my two contemporary novellas, Second Impression and Jane by the Book. Both stories take place in Bath, England, involving a little bit of Jane Austen-ish fun, and have ROMANCE…of course. And corgis. And homicidal bonnets.
My favorite movie-fairytale is Tangled. I absolutely LOVE the dynamic between Rapunzel and Flynn. Oh man, SUCH fun! I’m not sure what my favorite ‘book’ fairytale is…the Snow Queen is interesting.
To enter, leave your answer to this question – What is one of your favorite fairytales?
And don’t worry, if you’re not the winner, you can still get the novella, Second Impressions, in e-book form for only $.99 on Feb 15 & 16th on Amazon!
Submit your answer through the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win and happy reading!!
Move over Mr. Rochester, let me introduce you to a kinder, swoonier man of the manor!
About the Book
From debut author Abigail Wilson comes a mysterious Regency tale of secrets and spies, love and treachery.
Orphaned Sybil Delafield jumps at the opportunity for a position at the mysterious Croft Towers. She believes she was hired to act as companion to a dying woman, but a highway robbery and a hostile welcome from the Chalcroft family cause her to wonder if she was actually hired to help someone spy for France.
An unsolved murder adds intrigue to this already secretive family, and Sybil recognizes Mrs. Chalcroft’s handsome grandson as one of the infamous highwaymen who robbed her. Sybil must determine if this man’s charming smile and earnest eyes speak the truth or if he is simply using her like others in the house. Everyone seems to have something to hide, and Sybil must decide who to trust while also coming to terms with the truth about her own past.
Abigail Wilson is giving off all of the Jane Eyre vibes in her debut novel, In the Shadow of Croft Towers. Told in first person, the story is a fun journey into a mysterious manor house that holds a wealth of secrets and a large cast of characters who leave you wondering just who to trust. Told from the perspective of the naïve, yet plucky, Sybil Delafield, this adventure into the shadowy unknown of Croft Towers and its mysterious mistress drips with wonderful regency delights and fun discoveries.
Wilson creates a wonderful sense of place in Croft Towers, drawing the reader further into the mysteries and…let’s just talk about Curtis Sinclair a moment. He STEALS the show. Easily my favorite character in this book, his complex personality is a wonderful pairing for the more innocent and uncertain Sybil. Unlike Mr. Rochester, who is sometimes brutish and definitely manipulative, Mr. Sinclair carries a noble air about him, even in his occasional broodishness and somewhat unpredictable life – and his subtle sense of humor brings levity and likeability to his intense personality. Clearly, I like him.
From highwaymen to ghosts to espionage, this story is filled with chapter after chapter of twists and turns that will delight the Regency-loving reader’s heart. A solid and delightful debut.
About the Author
Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A Registered Nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the National Parks, attending her daughter’s gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and in 2016, ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a 2017 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children.