Monday, February 24, 2020

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel's Dream {A Book Review}

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author as part of a Just Read Blind Tour. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

Journey 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?

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with a southern Appalachian flair. Her books have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inpsys, and the ACFW Carol Awards, with The Thorn Healer selected as a 2018 finalist in the RT awards. Both her contemporary and historical romance novels consistently receive high ratings from Romantic Times, with Just the Way You Are as a Top Pick. Most recently she’s introduced readers to Bath, UK through her novellas, Second Impressions and Jane by the Book, and taken readers into the exciting world of WW2 espionage in her novella, Fa├žade. The second novel in The Pleasant Gap series, When You Look at Me, arrives in October and her contribution to Barbour’s wonderful My Heart Belongs series hits the shelves in January 2019 with My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge. Her books are seasoned with her Appalachian heritage and love for family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

You can get to know Pepper on her website,, on Facebook, Instagram, or over at her group blog, The Writer's Alley.

While I have a few books from Pepper Basham on my TBR pile, I do believe this was the first one that I have actually had the chance to read. But with such fantastic storytelling, it absolutely will not be the last!

Right from the beginning I was drawn into the Blue Ridge Mountains. With such fantastic descriptions, I could see, smell and hear it all in my head so clearly it truly was like I was right there. Each of the characters had such a unique voice, that it really did come to life off of the page. I couldn't get enough. Laurel especially drew me in. She was such a fantastic character that I cannot imagine anyone not being drawn in with her humor and determination. She's just the kind of fun, headstrong lead that we love in so many of the classics. Throw in a newcomer to the country in the new teacher Jonathan, and it's the perfect recipe for humor and romance too. I could imagine his reactions to this new environment so unlike anything he was used to with such clarity that I truly could not help but laugh out loud as I read. Though I do enjoy historical fiction taking place in this time period, it DOES often take more to truly get me invested in the story in the beginning, and this one certainly had it.

It was a beautiful love story, but it was also packed full of beautiful messages of faith too. I was extremely impressed with the author's beautiful storytelling and truly could not get enough. I don't know that based on the description alone I would have picked up on my own, and I certainly would have missed out if I hadn't. I cannot wait to read more from this author in the very near future. Trust me, this is certainly one book worth adding to your won't regret it.


  1. Randi!! Thank you SO MUCH!! I'm thrilled you enjoyed meeting Jonathan and Laurel - and that you got to visit #mymountains :-)


"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24