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A Glimpse Into Christy’s World

Evidently, I’m sending out all the Christy-vibes. Several readers have shared how my newest release, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, reminds them of Catherine Marshall’s classic, Christy. Well, besides being a wonderful compliment, it’s also not surprising. Since Catherine Marshall wrote Christy based on her grandmother’s adventures as a school teacher in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in the early 1900s, it would make sense that my story in the Blue Ridge would have some similar themes. And I’m SO glad. I think all I’m missing is a lovingly disgruntled Scotsman!

35879889While doing the research for my book (which has a lot of family history sprinkled in – like Christy) I decided to visit the real world of Cutter Gap. It’s definitely NOT like you see it on the T.V. series that came out over 10 years ago (love the t.v series, btw). Here’s a little snapshot into what’s left of the ‘real’ Cutter Gap. The church is the original church that Catherine’s grandmother Lenora (aka Christy) taught in, though it’s been moved to a different location a few miles from the “Christy Mission”. Why? Because trying to get back into the place where Lenora really lived and worked was TOUGH. Narrow and steep mountain road that required a solid vehicle to climb. It gave me a real sense of the remoteness that Catherine Marshall describes so well in her book. I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into Christy’s world…and Laurel’s.


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A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

There are books that describe places and then there are books that TAKE you to places.

About the Book

a bound heart

Though Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is but the keeper of his bees and the woman he is hoping will provide a tincture that might help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Yet even when all hope seems dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony, it may be that in this New World the two of them could make a new beginning–together.

Laura Frantz’s prose sparkles with authenticity and deep feeling as she digs into her own family history to share this breathless tale of love, exile, and courage in Colonial America. (From the author website)

My Review

In Laura Frantz’s newest novel, A Bound Heart, the reader is drawn into the world of Kerrara by the exquisite detail and descriptive beauty of Laura’s prose. As usual, reading a Laura Frantz book promises beautiful writing, and her newest offering to the historical fiction world (with romance) fulfills that promise. And as much as I usually fawn over Laura’s heroes in her books, the real star of this book is the heroine, Lark. Her story – the aches, uncertainties, compassion, and kindness – takes center stage, even as the dashing and honorable, Magnus MacLeish, plays a large role. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a formidable character – strong, thoughtful, kind…and intense. A true Scottish Laird. It was such fun to see his lighter side at times and any time he and Lark shared the page??!!…those were my favorites! (But I’m also a diehard romantic 😉

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Now, this book was kind of like brownies cooking in the oven. It took a while to benefit from the full effects of the work. The start moved a little slowly, but there was a lovely aroma of both conflict and the romance to come, so that when they both came to fruition, the reader is left savoring both the sweetness and richness of the flavor. The friendship between Magnus and Lark was sweet, and Lark’s relationship with her granny and Larkin add so much to the story! I’m a fan of the friends-to-lovers trope, and we are certainly rewarded with the tender romance by the end.

If you were a fan of Laura’s book, The Lacemaker, then you’ll enjoy her newest release. There are many similarities in the flow of this story and the careful unfolding of both romance and historical detail. 

My Rating: I would rate this beautiful story a 4.5 out of 5.  

It was a pleasure to read this story as my first of 2019.

Thank you to Netgalley for making it available. I was not required to write a review. These opinions expressed are my own.

Get your copy here

About the Author

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Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the ECPA bestselling author of several books, including The Frontiersman’s DaughterCourting Morrow LittleThe Colonel’s LadyThe Mistress of Tall AcreA Moonbow Night, and The Ballantyne Legacy series. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky.

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My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge

Less Than A Week!!!

And…you all get to meet Jonathan and Laurel!!

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream comes out on January 1 and this story is close to my heart because I take the readers deep into my world of Appalachia. Gleaning from family history shared by my Granny Spencer and evoking a similar ‘storyworld’ as Catherine Marshall’s Christy, this book takes people on a journey to a very different place in time.

A place I love because it means family.

So, do you want to know more?

About the Book

My Heart BelongsJourney into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?

I have high hopes to continue the story with some secondary characters having their own tales to tell, but for now, I can’t wait to introduce you to ALL of these characters, but particularly the world of Appalachia in Maple Springs, NC.

Want to know what early reviewers are saying about Laurel’s Dream?

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From Karen R – “This book started out well, and just got better and better as it went. It had me smiling and chuckling one moment and holding my breath the next… Highly recommend this book to Christian historical romance fans! If you enjoyed Christy by Catherine Marshall, Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin, or These Healing Hills by Ann Gabhart, you will love this one too.”

Tracey H says, Pepper Basham’s book, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge is destined to be a classic! Reminiscent of the beloved Christy by Catherine Marshall, only with the main characters roles reversed. Jonathan Taylor is the new teacher to the impoverished mountain town of Maple Springs and Laurel McAdams is the Appalachian girl who has plenty to teach Jonathan herself, about living and loving, mountain style… I was left with that feeling of not wanting to pick up another book for a while so I could savor all the wonderful emotions and memories of it. That’s my gold standard for a book to make it onto my shelf of favorites.”

screen (2).jpgTrisha Roberson says this, “Pepper Basham eloquently captured the very essence of the Blue Ridge Mountains and warmly welcomed me home within the pages of this fantastic book. I loved this story and I seriously didn’t want it to end. The closer I got to the end of the book, the slower I read, savoring each word, each phrase!”

Susan Snodgrass shared this about the story, “Everything about this book touched my heart. The wonderful patterns of speech of these people was dear to my heart because I’ve heard my grandparents speak this way and sometimes my mother did also. Their hearts and their acceptance of the hardships of mountain living was amazing. I felt like I just fell into the book and knew everyone.”

This from Jen Galaxy, “Sigh. Like, seriously. After reading this book, a piece of my heart is definitely in Maple Springs, back in time, deep in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham was immediately engaging. Her love for the Appalachian people and their history is present through her vivid storytelling.”

Giveaway!

Preorder is up NOW and the paper copy is BEAUTIFUL – so…I’m giving away one paper copy here on the blog! Just leave a comment below! I will draw a random winner using random.org on release day!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Book | Goodreads

And don’t forget to spread the word about ANOTHER upcoming book that I can’t wait to read! Laura Frantz’s newest novel, The Bound Heart, debuts on Jan 1 along with mine so we’re having a party to celebrate.

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Save the DATE: January 15th, Laura and I are going to be celebrating releases, chatting about heart-stopping heroes, and discussing the beauty of similar settings on two different sides of the ocean. RSVP HERE!

What are you most looking forward to reading about in either one of these books?

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Mr. Darcy’s Night Before Christmas

In December 2016, I received a fun gift from my husband’s cousin, Judy, who ALWAYS sends me a gift for a book release. This gift had a definite Christmas theme and not just ANY Christmas theme, but…Jane Austen. Judy sent me Mr. Darcy’s Night Before Christmas. Well, I read it on video in 2016, then in 2017, so now it’s become a little tradition. It’s such a fun book and it’s even more delightful to share it with friends. So…if you’re up for a little storytelling with hints of Austen, then grab your snack of choice, snuggle up with a cozy blanket, and enjoy this fun twist on the classic, Twas the Night Before Christmas.

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About the Book

26005886.jpgClement Clarke Moore’s Christmas classic meets Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Darcy gets his own visit from St. Nicholas. In this parody of the beloved original poem, Santa teaches Darcy the true meaning of the holiday and helps him get what he’s always wanted—a wife!

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JULIE PETERSEN has fond memories of hiding under her covers at night with a flashlight just so she could finish whatever chapter she was on and a few more after that. When not reading Jane Austen, she can be found singing and spoiling her nieces and nephews. Julie currently lives in Utah.

SHERYL DICKERT has illustrated four other Night Before Christmas books in this series. She lives in Salt Lake City.

 

Tune in on Facebook this Friday for another fun story read by yours truly! 

Story Time with Pepper Basham

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Christmas Tour 2018

christmas decorAuthor and friend Carrie Turansky gave a Christmas tour of her house this week, and I thought it was such a great idea I decided to follow in her Edwardian lace-up ankle boots 🙂 (She writes historical romance in the Edwardian era…in case you didn’t know – but you can find out more here ;-))

Anyway, I have some photos scattered throughout this post but I also did two videos!! Keep in mind, our house is a work-in-progress (renovation tools aplenty), but Christmas decorations are so cheery they’re meant to be shared 🙂

christmas treeMy family and I LOVE Christmas and our tree is a conglomeration of love throughout the years. We don’t really have a rhyme or reason to it – just handmade stuff, things that represent the kids, some anniversary ornaments, etc. I think our tree tells a story of our family.

 

christmasnutcrackersAlso we have some handmade things like table runners and quilts that have been given to us through the years. I love those ‘prelit’ present boxes and try to purchase them during the after Christmas sales.

outhousechristmasDo you see my little nod to my Appalachian culture in my decorations? 🙂 When ya gotta go, ya gotta go 😉 I can’t remember seeing any that looked this cute, btw. And NONE with Christmas trees or smokestacks.

 

wreath2018I LOVE wreaths! I’m not saying I’m great at making them, but I love to try! This is my creation for this year and at night it lights up 🙂 Thankfully it gives off enough winter vibes that I can keep it up past Christmas 🙂

 

christmas nativityWe have our little nativity scene here sitting atop a beautiful handmade table runner given to us by one of our church families in the past. I love how the intricate and beautiful colors.

 

 

And HERE is our study (for hubs and I). It’s also the room with the piano and the fantastic fireplace (which we hope to get working very soon). Stockings hung. Décor at the Christmasstudyready.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Keep up on FB – I’ll be having a ‘reading’ time coming up for Christmas -a few various versions of Twas the Night before Christmas.

First one? Pemberley.

Merry Christmas!!

 

Book Review – The Lacemaker

Poetic prose, engaging story, extensive historic details, and powerful characters bring Laura Frantz’s beautiful novel, The Lacemaker, to life…and impress it into the memory of the heart.

I’ve come to expect a lovely read when Laura’s name is attached to the cover of any book, and her newest release (new for me) did not disappoint.

About the Book

The Lace Maker

It is the eve of a new age of freedom in the colonies.
But can a proper English lady dare hope for her own independence?

Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson has nearly everything a lady of her position could want. Daughter of the British lieutenant governor of the Virginia Colony and a darling of fine society in a rugged land, she is anticipating an advantageous marriage. That her betrothed is a rake and love is lacking is of little consequence–or so she tells herself.

Though her own life seems in order, colonial Williamsburg is a powder keg on the verge of exploding, and her fiancé’s cousin Noble Rynallt carries the flame of revolution in his heart. Those with connections to the British nobility are suspected as spies, and Liberty soon finds herself left with a terrible choice. Will she stay true to her English roots? Or side with Noble and the radical revolutionaries? (from the Publisher)

My Review

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One of the things I enjoy most about the way Laura describes her characters’ relationships is her subtlety. She has a wonderful way of weaving words in a such a turn that the reader knows and feels what is happening between the characters, but she doesn’t necessarily explicitly say. It’s a delicious discovery. The attraction between Noble and Liberty (great names, btw) lingers in between the words of the pages so the discovery is as sweet for the reader as it is for the characters. Their romance is a timid and innocent pursuit which grows from mutual admiration into love.

The Lacemaker has so many delightful elements sprinkled in – humor, tenderness, intrigue, suspense, history, and, of course, MY favorite…. romance. Liberty grows into her name with the dawning of the Revolutionary War. From dependent and resigned to her fate, to independent and willing to risk her life for what is right, she takes the hard knocks the tumultuous times deal her – the dangers, betrayals, and rejections – and blooms into a vibrant woman with as much strength and hope as the blossoming ‘new country’.

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And Noble? Noble doesn’t change a great deal, but that is also what makes him so endearing. An upright, brave, and dashing revolutionary, his gentlemanly ways and tenderness woo the heart of the reader as he woos the heart of Liberty. His protectiveness, gentleness, and desire to do the right thing make him a hero worth remembering – and very worthy of his name.

The Lacemaker is a fabulous combination of Noble intentions and daring Liberty.

This is another wonderful addition to my Laura Frantz library and…Noble might just be up there in my heartwarming heroes list with Red Shirt. That is HIGH praise indeed.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Book | Goodreads

About the Author

LauraLaura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the ECPA bestselling author of several books, including The Frontiersman’s DaughterCourting Morrow LittleThe Colonel’s LadyThe Mistress of Tall AcreA Moonbow Night, and the Ballantyne Legacy series. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. Learn more at www.laurafrantz.net.

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Book Journeys – Cornwall

A Name UnknownOh PEOPLE!!! I just finished Roseanna White’s first book in her Shadows over England series – A Name Unknown – and I do believe we ALL need to take a trip to Cornwall. (You can read my review here.)

Besides ‘visiting’ Cornwall through Doc Martin, Ladies in Lavender, and the FABULOUS 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility, I haven’t done much research of the area…you know, except the usual DROOL OVER THE CLIFFS!!!!!!

So…I was delighted to get to visit Cornwall through Roseanna’s newest (to me) novel, because…hello! It’s ENGLAND!!!

So what are some sights we can visit in Cornwall? Well, let’s start with the obvious:

CornwallSt. Michael’s Mount – Shrouded in myth, legend, and truth, this ‘island’ can be reached by a causeway (when the tide is right). A medieval castle, with all its history, a village, and gardens, this place is truly a step back in time. The harbor is thought to have provided docking for Phoenician fisherman from as long ago as 2000 years…did anyone think of Paul in his journeys?

From Jack the Giant Killer to pilgrims during the War of the Roses, this island has been a haven, a source of conflict, and…has even carried the magic of romance within its walls. No wonder Rosemary Gresham from A Name Unknown felt the tug and pull of some a beautiful and magical place…and who’s to say if Peter didn’t make a wish or two while he was near the ancient rock of St. Michael’s, known for its romantic qualities 😉

mount-edgcumbe-house-419653_1920.jpgMount Edgecumbe House and Country Park  – Though Peter Holstein’s house was not considered huge, to get the sense of a country home in Cornwall, you can visit the elegant Mount Edgecumbe House. This 18th century home and gardens offers lovely walking tours and beautiful sites. OR if you want something that fits into the late Victorian era – which could very well be near the time Peter’s family built their home in England – try Lanhydrock House and Gardens 😊 I even noted a cottage that could have been a very nice house for a sassy thief I’ve grown to love.

Honestly, there are houses, ruins, castles, and cathedrals to visit GALORE.

bay-540444_1920.jpgThose Drool Worthy Cliffs – For some scenic views to take your breath away, perhaps you could try some cliffs along the South West Coast Path, a beautiful coastal view along St. Ives Bay, or a walk in King Arthur’s footsteps in Tintagel.

I can tell you for sure that the next trip I take to England, I’m going to make sure my visit includes a drive to Cornwall.

And I hope to add another mental trip to Roseanna White’s colorful historical world very soon! A Song Unheard is the next one…with Willa as the featured heroine.

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Review – A Name Unknown

I think I need to find a new time period in which to write because Roseanna White has the edge in Edwardian romance!

I just finished her first book in the Shadows over England series – A Name Unknown – and it was WONDERFUL.

About the Book

A Name UnknownRosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?

My Review

What do you get when you have a thief for a heroine, a reclusive, stuttering writer for a hero, a dangerous plot that reaches all the way into the beginnings of a world war, AND a God who can work all things out for the good of his kids? (even when his kids try to hide from the world in their country estate houses)? You get Roseanna White’s wonderful story, A Name Unknown.

cornwall-335021_1920.jpgFrom the beginning to the end, the novel held a thread of suspense that underpinned every other scene. Rosemary Gresham endeared herself immediately by being a feisty yet loving woman trying to etch out a better life for herself and her ‘family’ than she’d known as a starving orphan. Though a thief, and a very good one, White creates an immediately love for Rosemary because of her struggle to still try to do what’s right…even in her misconceptions.  Given the opportunity to bring some real money into her family and help her country, Rosemary embarks on a mission to discover whether the reclusive England gentleman, Peter Holstein, is in cahoots with Germany.  She’s good at her job, but nothing prepares her for the Truth she discovers. Life-changing…. soul-changing truth.

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Though speaking words aren’t easy for Peter Holstein, he has an amazing ability to write out his faith and SHOW it through his actions. With a subtle humor, a touch of eccentricity, a tender heart for the plight of others, and an adorable secret job, he easily endears himself to the reader’s, and Rosemary’s, heart. (Despite her best attempts to NOT like him, by the way).

Secondary characters and the suspense plot play a wonderful role in moving this story forward, but the featured heart of this story is the transformation of Peter and Rosemary as a team. Despite their differences, and BECAUSE of their differences, they become so much more together than they could have been apart. Both learn to alter their misperceptions for something more filled with truth and grace than either prejudice or ignorance. Peter grows in his understanding of others outside his sphere (and is WILLING to grow, I might add), but also becomes a stronger, braver man because of Rosemary’s influence, and Rosemary softens her hardened edges because of the gentleness and faith Peter displays in all he does.

Yes, this was a beautiful story. Thank you so much, Roseanna.

About the Author

Roseanna 2018Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

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The End of the War – The Thorn Healer Giveaway

I am so excited for this weekend because it marks the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War 1 – a war of devastating casualties and a shift in warfare. Today I wanted to share a little about the third book in my Historical series, The Thorn Healer. This story is near to my heart for several reasons. But few of them are…

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It takes place in my Blue Ridge Mountains in the real mountain town of Hot Springs, NC (only an hour up the road from where I live).

I love the history behind this story. It was so interesting to learn about the German Internment camps in the U.S. during WW1.

I LOVE the hero. August Rheinhold is a beautiful example of Christ’s pursuing love.

About the Book

Jessica Ross’ scars run much deeper than the wounds of a world at war. Determined to escape the ghosts of her past and the German influence on her nightmares, she returns home to the sleepy Appalachian town of Hot Springs, NC, only to find the renowned Mountain Park Hotel has been converted into a ‘prison’ for displaced Germans and, much to Jessica’s dismay, her grandparents have befriended one of them. 

TTH Quote.jpgAugust Reinhold has not only found kinship with Jessica’s grandparents, but as they share their granddaughter’s letters from the Front, he discovers a surprising bond drawing him toward the independent and beautiful woman. Displaced by a war and a painful history, he finds Hot Springs and the intriguing, Jessica Ross, a tempting place to start over. Determined to scale the heights of her bitterness and show her the power of love, August faces more than just Jessica’s resistance, but a more devious design to harm the civilian sailors housed in Hot Springs. 

Will August’s tender pursuit show Jessica the healing and hope she needs, or will bitterness force her into the hands of a ‘true’ enemy waiting to destroy much more than her heart?

If you read this book, what are some of yours?
If you haven’t read it, enter here to get a chance.

Giveaway

Giveaway open 11/10/18 – 11/16/18 11:59pm EST. Please enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Open Internationally. Winner’s choice of print or eBook valid for USA mailing addresses only. International winner will receive an eBook copy. Void where prohibited.

TTH Giveaway
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And don’t forget to enter this Multi-Author Giveaway!

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