Yes, it is officially fall, and I have so many books to read. Usually, I share all the print books that I have in a huge stack in my room. Today, I want to begin with two eBooks that I am presently reading. For the past two years, I have spent as much or more time reading on my iPad, yet they don’t make my quarterly TBR (to be read) blog.
The two eBooks are by friends of mine. Seasoned Grace by Melissa Wardwell is part of the Independence Island Series. The first two pages of this contemporary novel engages the reader in an emotional journey of healing. The second book is Great Lakes Light by Kari Trumbo. Her words reach into a world of great loss. I’m looking forward to this historical sojourn.
It’s time for a few Christmas stories. Pepper Basham has a beautiful novel, TheMistletoe Countess, taking the reader to 1913 with this question “Can the wrong bride lead to the right romance?” Garrett, a novella by Izzy James, is a time travel event back to 1769!
Somehow, I missed reading Restoring Fairhaven by Carolyn Miller. It is part of the Independence Island Series. I look forward to going back to Merriweather Island. Next is a princess novel by Jody Hedlund, Beguiled. This is a Snow White Story!
C.D. Sutherland’s The Dragoneers will take the reader to a world of dragons and an imaginary world blended with fact and fiction. Finally, I have my hands on Setting Two Hearts Free by Janet Grunst. This historical fiction brings to life a period in our American history that is vital, the American Revolution.
Uncover the Story Behind a One-Hundred-Year-Old Love Letter
Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.
Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.
A beautiful tapestry of a love story hidden through the ages. As the pieces or shards are uncovered, the mystery unfolds. With any good story, as with life, the course can be viewed as positive or negative. Love lost can be devastating and debilitating or it can soar and emerge victorious. In life, we ask a lot of why or what if questions that will go unexplained until heaven. But occasionally, a piece of information opens the way to explore a possible answer this side of eternity.
Rarely do I use quotes from a book but I want to share a few here that shook me. As the characters remember those they love, the author consoles a young girl who wants to see her dear brother again with “he’s only a page away.” He’s there in his story and in one’s heart. “God allows us the gift of memories to tide us over to eternity.” Lovely!
The pages of this book hold out the branches of love, hope, and bravery. Latch on for an inspirational journey.
About the Author
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.
More from Pepper
Books are a uniquely portable magic – Stephen King
Appalachia is known for having a high illiteracy rate. A place of beautiful scenery and rugged landscapes, the people of the mountains developed stories through oral storytelling much more than “book learning”. As a young girl growing up in this world, I loved hearing my granny share tales from up to five generations ago, filling in the narrative gaps between a birth date and a death date on a tombstone – giving flesh and breath to the stone-etched names.
It’s no surprise then, with a heart cultivated from rich oral stories, I fell in love with reading. Books became that “portable magic” that took me places my little Appalachian community couldn’t provide. I fell in love with the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew. Wept through the end of Bridge to Terabithia and Old Yeller. Traveled to the plains with Sarah Plain and Tall and fell in love with horses with The Black Stallion. But when I was in seventh grade, I read my very first “British” novel, The Secret Garden. In that one introduction, my world expanded into mysterious English manor houses and British classics. Before long, I’d consumed Jane Eyre, Austen’s classics, some Dickens, Dracula, Frankenstein…and the list goes on! And then…I found Tolkien and Lewis – and the ‘real’ world swelled into OTHER worlds.
I’m grateful for true stories of book-loving pioneers traveling into the world of Appalachia to provide books and literacy training to “my people”, because I know some of those books made their way to my tiny elementary school library…and not only brought me the chance to discover stories, but to write them too!
Isn’t it amazing how books can do that?
In Hope Between the Pages, I wanted to bring the same awe and discovery I felt as a child (and continue to feel as an adult reader) to the story of two people whose words had seemed small. Stories stretched their worlds, but the stories also gave them wonderful imaginations and positive perspectives. It’s still amazing to me that ink-and-paper words can make such a lasting impact on hearts and minds. They can lead us to dream, teach us new things, encourage our hearts, help us to think outside the box, swell our imaginations, broaden our horizons, and encourage our hope.
Books are not a replacement for real adventures and relationships, but they certainly provide a beautiful “door” into other lives and worlds that we may never have a chance to experience in real life. Sadie, my historical heroine, and Clara, my contemporary heroine, both have kept close to home but traveled greatly through books…and BOTH are given the opportunity to reach beyond the bindings to discover real-life adventures. I’d like to think that their love for stories helped them have the courage to step away from the page and into their own tales even more prepared than they would have been without stories.
What are some of your favorite books you read as a child? Did any of them influence you to become a more avid reader?
Book 8 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History
In Carroll County, a corn shucking is the social event of the season, until a mischievous kiss leads to one of the biggest tragedies in Virginia history. Ava Burcham isn’t your typical Blue Ridge Mountain girl. She has a bad habit of courtin’ trouble, and her curiosity has opened a rift in the middle of a feud between politicians and would-be outlaws, the Allen family. Ava’s tenacious desire to find a story worth reporting may land her and her best friend, Jeremiah Sutphin, into more trouble than either of them planned. The end result? The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre of 1912.
The author takes the reader back in time to a mountain community broken by feuds and long malicious intentions divided on the grounds of something that happened before any of the characters were born. Feuds have been around since the beginning of mankind, back to Genesis. In current times the word feud is not used, rather grudge, unforgiveness, pain, splits, slander, lies, hatred. But should feuds be allowed to dictate lives generations later, even weeks or months later?
The feuds in The Red Ribbon destroy, kill, and maim lives that God means for good. Yet, good is present in the lives of characters who believe God knows what is happening and has an answer to prosper and heal. This age hold story of impenetrable walls reads fresh, maybe too fresh in the world today.
A quote from the novel says “They wanted you to live, Ava. So, live with joy and freedom and love.” I want to do that too. Do I hold grudges? Unfortunately, I do, if not grudges then vivid memories lurking at the forefront of my mind of wrongs done to me. What would it be like to exist outside of feuds and damaging images and words?
The mountain dialect transports the reader to walk among the unique characters. But the thread of forgiveness and hope winds its way into my life. Joy, freedom, and love—a great reason to live.
About the Author
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains where her family have lived for generations. She’s the mom of five kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at the award winning Writer’s Alley blog. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015, and the second in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuted in April 2016.
More from Pepper
Feuds, Moonshine, and Family Loyalties by Pepper Basham
My upcoming release for Barbour’s True Colors series is really close to my heart…and pretty close to my house.
The Red Ribbon, my first foray into a historical suspense novel, takes place in the county where I grew up. Carroll County, Virginia, is a county on the border of Virginia and North Carolina, not too far from Mt. Airy (Mayberry). Nestled in the foothills and mountains of the Blue Ridge, it is a part of the Appalachian Mountains, and with that comes similar histories as other backwoods Appalachian communities: feuds, moonshine, and family loyalties.
One thing I love most about my Appalachian upbringing is the intense closeness of family – and when I say ‘family’ I mean, of course, my mom, dad, and brother, but also my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents…the whole “gang”, as my granny used to say.
The closeness of family, and the protection of the family name, is a big deal in Appalachia. There’s a lot of pride in the way your ‘name’ is thought of throughout the community, so when someone insults your name, there’s a good chance the repercussions aren’t going to be pleasant. Especially back in the early 1900s, when The Red Ribbon takes place. In fact, insulting someone by “stealing a kiss” is one of the events that leads to The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre/Tragedy.
A long-time feud between the Allen family and the “Courthouse Clan” came to a head inside the Hillsville Courthouse in March 1912 and this event resulted in the largest shootout within a courthouse in Virginia history. The story followed with a nationwide manhunt and made national news until the sinking of the Titanic the following month.
Growing up in Carroll County, I knew a few things about this story. Rumors and whispers, really. Most folks didn’t talk about it because it still caused a stir among those who were descendants (because another thing about Appalachia is that families tend to stay on or around family land for generations). People still took “sides”. So, when I decided to write this book, I knew I was stepping into precarious territory. Not that anyone would start up a shootout nowadays because of a book, but because people still have some deep feelings about how their ancestors are portrayed in history, and since many of my family members still live in Carroll County, I wanted to tread carefully into the events of “The Allen Tragedy”.
What I discovered was a story that still held a whole lot of mystery even one hundred years later. Bullet holes still mark the courthouse steps from that fateful day, rumors still circulate about who was to blame, and no one knows who fired the first gunshot that began the tragic shooting.
I’m not a “scary” book writer or reader, but I love a good adventure, so this book takes the reader on an adventure into Appalachia to my neck of the woods, and follows the journey of Ava Burcham and Jeremiah Sutphin as they live among the illegal moonshiners, dirty cops, and mountain gunslingers of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
I’ve shared my “G” and “S” shelves in my new office. Today I have some treasures from my “B” shelf. I’m not posting these blogs in any specific order; except I did start with where my books fit in first with the Gs.
On with my awesome books. Since I have my favorites and tend to keep series, behind the books that are displayed are stacks of books by the same authors that might complete a series or superb novels that I must keep forever. Here it goes:
Pepper Basham is one of the first authors I started following in the past few years. TheThorn Keeper, Penned in Time Book Two, is set in WWI England.
I met Misty Beller at a conference last year. Since I have read all of her novels, including Hope’s Highest Mountain, historical Montana mountain fiction.
Glamorous Illusions is part of Lisa Bergren’s The Grand Tour Series set in 1913. How I would like to go on a grand tour of Europe again!
I’ve followed Terri Blackstock’s career for a long time, all the way back to when we lived in the same town in Mississippi. Catching Christmas offers a short contemporary read of love and redemption.
I picked up Nadine Brandes magical Fawkes at the ACFW conference in 2019. Wonderful! I have another of her books waiting to be read.
The lucky Bs share the shelf with the Brontë sisters: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.
One of my favorite secular authors is Dan Brown. His Angels and Demons inspired me to add a personal tour in Rome that followed the steps of Robert Langdon in this novel. Such fun!
And last, but certainly not least, is The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. I’ll be the first to admit, I have the version in modern English!
Do you have a favorite author from your own “B” shelf? Please share.