I have a special treat for you today! Pepper Basham has stopped by to share with us a little bit about her latest book, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream and how it connects with Christy by Catherine Marshall. CLICK HERE to check out my review.
Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Pepper Basham
A little over a year ago, my husband and I went on a close-to-home adventure. We drove the two-hour road trip to the real location of Catherine Marshall’s Christy. In the novel, Christy shows up in Cutter Gap, but the place where the real story took place is called Chapel Hollow/Ebenezer Mission and the real Christy gets off the train in Del Rio, TN.
If you’ve never heard of this New York Times bestselling historical novel, here’s a little blurb about it:
The train taking nineteen-year-old teacher Christy Huddleston from her home in Asheville, North Carolina, might as well be transporting her to another world. The Smoky Mountain community of Cutter Gap feels suspended in time, trapped by poverty, superstitions, and century-old traditions.
But as Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home, some see her–and her one-room school–as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged, and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove.
Yearning to make a difference, will Christy’s determination and devotion be enough?
The audiobook read by Kellie Martin (who plays the heroine in the T.V. adaptation of the book). It’s FABULOUS! (here’s a little article about fact vs fiction in Christy. Also to see some photos of the REAL Christy and mission house, check this out.)
What I love best about this book is how true-to-life it is to the culture of Appalachia, and as my husband and I took the narrow, rain-washed, gravel/mud road up the hillside to a place we ‘hoped’ would bring us to ‘Cutter Gap’, the reality of just how isolated most communities in Appalachia were rung true. To give you a clue, we were out of any phone reception for over two hours. I mean…NONE.
Another interesting discovery on this trip was the miscellaneous gravestones at the church (which is the same church the real David Grantland held service in). Hand carved names, words misspelled, dates etched with simple tools showed a culture who valued their people in death in the best way they could.
Visiting this site on which one of the most-loved stories of Appalachia evolved was a wonderful way to kick-off the development of My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge. It gave a frame, a mental image, for the tales my Granny told me of her parents, grandparents, great grandparents…and beyond.
Here are a few photos from our visit to Christy territory. Of course, it can’t do the story justice, but it gives a little hint to a world so far removed from the one we know today – a world I hope I can introduce readers to through My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge (and any other Blue Ridge stories that follow)
About the Book
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?
About the Author
As a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Pepper Basham enjoys sprinkling her Appalachian into her fiction writing. She is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and a lover of Jesus and chocolate. She resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her family.