Christy and Laurel’s Dream: Guest Post with Pepper Basham

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:

christyThe 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

MHBI.TheBlueRidge.LaurelsDreamJourney 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?

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  My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream

About the Author

pepperbarnsmileAs 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.

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First Line Fridays: My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge

Welcome to First Line Friday’s hosted by Hoarding Books.

Today I’m excited to be featuring My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham. 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. CLICK HERE to see my full review!

MHBI.TheBlueRidge.LaurelsDream

September 1918

          “He’s bringing nothin’ but trouble, Caroline McAdams. Make no bones about it.”

 

Hmmm… Seems to me like someone is trying to stir up some trouble. You won’t want to miss out on this fantastic story! Pre-order your copy today!

  My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream

 

Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line. To see what First Lines others are sharing this week head over to Hoarding Books.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

 

MyHeartIsInTheBlueRidge

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham

Synopsis:

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?

  My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream

My Thoughts:

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! Opening the pages of this story and diving in, was like going home! I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains and while I may not live there now, it is still home to me.

I’d love to sit down for a chat or get the chance to cook with Laurel McAdams. She is a strong young woman, filled with grace and courage. Her kindness to outsiders and her helpful nature is sure to draw you in. Laurel is open to new ideas and not afraid to stand up for what is right, even in the face of many who would choose to fiercely cling to tradition and superstition. She has big dreams and determination to see her way to fulfill those dreams!

Teacher, Jonathan Taylor comes to the Blue Ridge Mountains to escape the heavy-handed expectations of his father and to prove himself capable and worthy. But will his reasons to leave behind all he knew and immerse himself in a culture that is highly suspicious of anything new be enough to keep him teaching in the Blue Ridge Mountains?

I fell in love with these dynamic, engaging characters! I appreciated their growth in the story as well as the wisdom of the secondary characters that provided a welcome insight and encouragement.

There is plenty of excitement to enjoy. From a mountain lion encounter, a brutal snowstorm, a couple of disgruntled mountain men, larceny, saving a child with a severe allergic reaction, and much more! You are sure to find an exciting plot-line, delightful characters, all set in a beautiful setting. I give this story 5-enthusiastic stars and encourage you to pick up a copy to enjoy!

(I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I am not required to write a positive review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

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About the Author:

pepperbarnsmile  Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes historical and contemporary romance novels with grace, humor, and culture clashes. She’s a Blue Ridge Mountain native and an anglophile who enjoys combining her two loves to create memorable stories of hope. You can connect with Pepper over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, her website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.

 

  My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream