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BOOK REVIEW – THE THORN KEEPER by PEPPER D. BASHAM

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My dear Catherine, could you reach beyond your shame and see what I see? What God sees?”

God dreamed bigger dreams for her than she ever could. (excerpted from The Thorn Keeper.)

 

When a person feels worthless, what hope is there for their life? When life has crushed a person’s spirit, what hope is there of recovery? When a person has ruined their reputation and tarnished their name, what cost to restoration? Is there any redemption?

 

This is the struggle Catherine Dougall must overcome. Her past was colorful, and her future—she can’t grasp it. Her past is gone, she’s a changed woman. She is devoted to living her life for Christ, walking out her newfound faith. She doesn’t, she believes, deserve anything good and lovely. Least of all the love of a good man.

 

Dr. David Ross is polished, high society, keeps tenuous control on his heart and emotions. His attraction to Catherine—it’s a fluke, it can’t be. His focus and priority is the war hospital and patients, soldiers wounded on the front lines of war. His distraction is Catherine Dougall, who has applied herself to God’s service. In his hospital. In his daily routine. And in his heart.

 

Oh! how this reviewer can relate to Catherine’s feelings of unworthiness. How I know the sense of duty to repay Father’s kindness toward me. How I feel I can never “earn” or have the beautiful things in life. Even if they are gifts freely given. Oh! how wrong I was.

 

Will Catherine—can Catherine—ever let go her shame? Will she learn to embrace the love Father gives? Freely gives? Can she ever understand her debt is gone and she has been made new? Can she ever allow herself to love the man her heart yearns for? Will she—and David—be able to “…learn to trust in a God who never forgets his children and fashions beauty out of the most broken things?”

 

Ms. Basham has done it again. Written such characters I felt as if I were there in the Derbyshire countryside with them. I felt the strain of the tension as she so deftly wove it, building it to the point of breaking. I cried as Catherine felt the weight of her past, a burden she no longer bore. I longed for love’s first touch—pure love’s first touch—as surely as she did. I fought her internal struggle to follow her shame and run away. Or embrace the new life that could be hers.

As surely as I loved the first book in this series, The Thorn Keeper has secured me as a forever fan of Ms. Basham’s writing. I look forward to devouring her next story, and taking the journey with her characters as they come to life on the page.

 

Oui, je comprends.” She nodded. “You fix things. I fix things. We do not like the unfixable things, non. But God is in them, changing us sometimes more than changing the wounds.

 

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Pepper D Basham has been telling tales ever since she was a little girl and fell in love with storytelling while listening to her granny share oral history. A native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and lover of chocolate, Pepper enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction wherever she can. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC, where she works with kids who have special needs, searches for unique hats, and plots new ways to annoy her wonderful friends at her group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of Seymour Literary Agency. Her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, arrives on May 7th 2015 and is the first book in the Penned in Time series. Her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, is slated to release later the same year. You can find her at http://www.pepperdbasham.com or follow her writing antics on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pepper-D-Basham or Twitter at https://twitter.com/pepperbasham

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#thethornkeeper, #pepperdbasham, #blueridgemountains, #derbyshireengland, #worldwarI, #thethornbearer

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Please give a big welcome to PEPPER BASHAM to my blog.

 

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Sinking Ships and Matching Stories

 

Most of the time when you pick up a novel you know the characters are going to experience struggles, trials, maybe even tragedy, to get to the happily-ever-after ending. In some stories, you go in knowing the tragedy before you open the book or turn on the movie, especially if the story is based in fact.

 

Seventeen years ago when the movie Titanic came out, every person who attended the movie theater to see the movie knew they were going to watch people board a ship that was going to sink. The less well-known movie, Britannic, gave the same foreboding beginning. So it shouldn’t be a surprise when you pick up a book that features characters boarding the ill-fated Lusitania in 1915, you are about to embark on a journey fraught with tragedy.

 

When I begin writing this novel over 10 years ago, I had no idea I was going to involve a sinking ship. All I knew is that I had a heroine, Ashleigh, with a heartbreaking and tragic secret and I wanted an external ‘symbol’ to show her internal devastation.

 

It isn’t often, thank goodness, that tragedies match so well together in the same way for the same story. I’m pretty sure that in books 2 and 3 of the Penned in Time series, I won’t have any sinking ships or massive tragedies such as the Lusitania, but the heart rending pain my main character experienced as a child and continues to experience into adulthood required a setting in which the reader could visibly compare tragedies.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’d never heard of the Lusitania before I started research for The Thorn Bearer. I’d studied history a little bit up to that point, but kept mostly to the “big events” like the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II, with a brief mention of the Wright brothers, Amelia Earhart, and, of course, the Titanic.

 

It wasn’t until I visited our yard sale, or what they would call in England a rummage sale, where I found a $.25 book called the Lusitania, that I found the missing link to my novel.

 

I don’t always make such an intense pairing as Ashleigh and the Lusitania, but somehow it worked for this story.

 

What about you? Have you ever ‘discovered’ the perfect fit to you story in an unexpected place? Do you try to make external situations mirror what is happening to your characters at the heart?

 

 

Author Bio:

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mom of five, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate. She enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction whenever she can. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she works with kids with special needs, searches for unique hats, and plots new ways to annoy her wonderful friends at her writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. She is represented by Julie Gwinn and her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015.

You can connect with Pepper at:

www.pepperdbasham.com,

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pepper-D-Basham or

https://twitter.com/pepperbasham

 

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From the decks of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of France, Ashleigh must choose between the forgiveness of her past, life in the present, and a Savior who can rescue her from them all.

When her fiancé leaves her eight months before their wedding, the unexpected blow ignites a battalion of insecurities stemming from her father’s intimate betrayal. Her worst fears are confirmed – who could ever love a soiled woman?

In an attempt to escape the shame and disappointment of her past, Ashleigh boards the ill-fated Lusitania to cross the war-torn waters of Europe. Much to her dismay, she isn’t traveling alone.

Sam Miller is always making up for his best friend’s mistakes. Determined to help Ashleigh, he offers his compassion and protection as she ventures across a perilous sea. With the faint hope of renewing his lost love for Ashleigh’s sister, Sam never expects to find the woman of his dreams in his best friend’s former fiancé and his own childhood companion.

As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship.

When the truth of Ashleigh’s past explodes in the middle of war and Sam rejects her, Ashleigh must decide if God is enough – or if the double weight of her betrayal and past will crush her life forever.

 

 

 

#pepperbasham, #guestbloghost, #thethornbearer, #sinkingships, #Lusitania, #WorldWarI

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BOOK REVIEW – THE THORN BEARER by PEPPER D. BASHAM                

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How does the heart respond when betrayed by God? Ashleigh Dougall has been betrayed not once, but twice, by the God she was taught to revere. Or has she?

 

A heinous childhood secret haunts her, tormenting, holding her from the promise of love and happiness. The one chance she thought she had, suddenly gone, and without explanation. Has God betrayed her? Or has He made a way for a future of hope for her.

 

Ashleigh returns home to England to escape the heartache of her broken engagement. How could she know the events that will unfold; sailing on the ill-fated Lusitania is but the first of life-altering events she will face in the coming weeks and months.

 

Will Ashleigh come to accept the Father’s love? Will she bare her secrets to the man she comes to love – and who loves her? Will he accept her, knowing her soiled past?

 

When Ashleigh and Sam boarded the ship, I felt I was along with them. Ms. Basham has created characters with depth, whose lives are vivid and genuine. Ashleigh’s struggles run deep, and are not easily resolved. Conflict swirls on different levels: the war, within the family, at hospital, and in the village, and on both sides of the Atlantic. Ms. Basham deftly resolves each conflict, with real human emotion, and with real human triumph.

 

 

I was given a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

 

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Pepper D. Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mom of five, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate. She writes a variety of genres, but enjoys sprinkling her native culture of Appalachia in them all. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she works with kids who have special needs, searches for unique hats to wear, and plots new ways to annoy her wonderful friends at her writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of Seymour Literary Agency. The Thorn Bearer is Pepper’s debut novel and the first book in the Penned in Time series. Her second novel, a contemporary romance entitled A Twist of Faith, comes out in June 2015. You can learn more about her at http://www.pepperdbasham.com.

 

 

#pepperbasham, #thethornbearer, #lusitania, #worldwarI, #betrayal, #lemonlifesavers

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