I wanted to share my review of Pepper Basham’s My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream. I was fortunate to receive an ARC copy last month and dove right in.
So let’s get started!
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?
Laurel’s Dream was a very interesting read for me. I don’t think it’s like any historical fiction book I’ve read. Although it takes time of war, that’s not the point of the story. In fact, the people in the mountains seemed to be removed from it all.
And perhaps that is the point. Jonathan Taylor, known as Teacher to the people of Blue Ridge, comes from a world connected to everything. The big city of London nor his uncle’s letters failed to prepare him for the culture shock of Blue Ridge.
Yet he perseveres with the help of Laurel. She helps him see everything in new ways and with a lens of compassion. In signature Pepper Basham style, there is a worth of wisdom and quotable lines in the novel. Some come from Laurel and others from her mom who is rich with mercy.
There were some surprising twists in the romance department. I wasn’t expecting it and I loved that it surprised me. Overall, the romance was a slow burn and just as sweet when Jonathan and Laurel realize the depth of their feelings. It made me smile and the ending left me satisfied they’d stand the test of time.
However, there were so many unanswered questions once it ended. I’m hoping Ms. Basham will take pity on me and make a sequel. Maybe featuring Jonathon’s sister so I could learn more about her and get the answer to my questions.
All in all, my trip to the Blue Ridge mountains was enjoyable.
*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. This review was not influenced nor required.
About the Author
Taking the story elements of her Blue Ridge Mountains’ heritage, Pepper Basham writes a variety of fiction seasoned with grace and humor. From contemporary romance to historical, Pepper likes to dip her creative interests in and weave stories to touch the heart and funny bone. She’s a pastor’s wife, mom of five, and university instructor. She can be found causing mischief at her group blog, The Writers Alley, or her own Website, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.