My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Oh My Goodness..... 
This book was absolutely amazing !!! I fell in love with the characters, they were such remarkable personalities. I don't ever reread a book but this one I will., I am actually buying this in hardback to add to my collection. 
Pepper Basham did a great job of telling a story about two people from completely different worlds working together to help a community overcome their fear of change. I hope that this book has more to the series as I loved this little mountain community and hope to learn more from them. Thanks for the great book.
I volunteered to read this book from Barbour Publishing in return for my honest feed back, the thoughts and opinions expressed within are my own.
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Laurel McAdams' dream is to leave her beloved Blue Ridge Mountains an go to college. Jonathan Taylor wants to serve people and prove to his father he's not useless.  When their worlds collide on the mountain will they find love? Can God show them the way to true love and through their obstacles of the differences and the family situations?

Laurel's quiet place isn't so quiet when her mother and their neighbors come to the barn and start talking about the new teacher coming to the mountain. After their meeting her mother sends Laurel to bring the teacher to to stay with them while his home is fixed up. There is an immediate kinship between them. Jonathan is smitten from the beginning with Laurel, but figures their differences are too great to lead any where, since he's leaving in a year. Jonathan is surprised by what he finds on his missionary teaching sojourn.  Incidents with Laurel and her family shows his determination to the McAdams clan. Laurel and her brother Isom are his guides to his students' families so he can get to know them. As Laurel and Jonathan spend more time together their friendship starts and they get to know each other and their backgrounds. Revealing their dreams to each other. The seasons pass and Jonathan comes up with a plan to help the mountain residence to make some money. There is resistance to Jonathan's teaching and ideas and a fire destroys student resources. The McAdams stand with him along with his preacher uncle. He gets to see how the mountain people live and celebrate the coming fall. As fall starts to turn into winter Laurel's father makes preparations for his family. When Jonathan is told about what happens during the winter to Laurel's father he doesn't believe it until he witnesses the situation first hand. Laurel takes him and her siblings to their save place. Laurel shows her cooking talent by teaching Jonathan to cook and making a couple of  English dishes. Jonathan's feelings get stronger the more he knows about her as does Laurel. They hide their feelings because of him leaving and her wanting to go to college. At the annual corn shucking event a boy has an allergic reaction to bee stings and Jonathan's medical training comes in handy and changes some mines. When an outbreak of the plague comes near by his uncle and the doctor go to help. Jonathan must pitch in when Laurel's older married sister goes into labor during a snow storm. While they head back down the mountain a snow ball fight results in Laurel being injured badly. Taking her to the nearest source of medical supplies leads them to Jonathan's house. When some unexpected visitors show up a wedding takes place. Jonathan had promised himself he would come back for Laurel after he finished becoming a doctor. The shock and realization of broken dreams & guilt has them keeping to themselves after their visitors leave. Jonathan vows to make Laurel's dreams come true. Laurel's surprised by some mail. They're just adjusting to their new lives when Jonathan's uncle brings him bad news. He makes a trip home to England. A confrontation with his father has him returning to what he now considers his home and the woman who's shown him what love and his life should be. All Laurel can do while he's gone is do the teaching job he asked her do in his absence and miss him more and realize that maybe her dreams can come true. While finishing up before the school break and thinking of Jonathan she's surprised by the man she loves. Their true feelings are revealed.

Pepper D. Basham weaves a story of life in the North Carolina mountains in 1918 during WWI. How family and friendship can change a life for the better. That opposites attract and God's hand guides you the way he wants your life to go even if you don't see it. That dreams can come true in time as long as you have faith. Courage can be gained by new experiences and people influencing your life. The My Heart Belongs series is always an emotional read.
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Laurel dreams of attending college and becoming a teacher. Life in the Blue Ridge mountains, in a mountain family, means money is tight and dreams must wait. Laurel works very hard to earn and save toward her dream. Into her world comes the new schoolteacher, Jonathan. He is escaping a life in London where his father directs his every step. Jonathan comes to the Blue Ridge to seek out his pastor uncle and get his life on track. With a dream of medical school, Jonathan, like Laurel, needs to save and prepare. A series of interactions between Jonathan and the mountain people leads him to consider his true calling.
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This is my first book by Pepper Basham, but after reading this, I look forward to reading more of her works. I was drawn into this story set in 1918 in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I loved both Laurel and Jonathan's stories and how two seemingly opposite people from two very different backgrounds were drawn together. I loved how the dialect worked with the setting making it more authentic. To me, this book was reminiscent of Catherine Marshall's classic, Christy.
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I received this book via NetGalley for my honest review.

This is my first book of Pepper Basham, I didn't know what to expect when I start reading it. I truly enjoy reading this book.  From chapter one I was laughing out loud about Laurel thoughts. As a teacher and book lover since a young age, I can totally related to that need of looking for a quiet place to read. Laurel is honest, funny, a good daughter and she has this big dream of becoming a teacher and help the people of the that live on the Appalachian mountain. In the other hand, we have Jonathan, who is a young man from England who is broken and trying to find a purpose in his life which he is trying to do accepting one year job as a teacher in the mission school his uncle start. Another thing I like about this book was the beautiful descriptions of the Appalachian mountain and the scenery makes you want to be there.  

I like how Pepper Basham takes Laurel and Jonathan through the book, how they grow. And most important challenge you to examine you and to trust God's love for you. And to live with no regrets. 

I recommend this book why:

It has it all, like a good piece of good cake: good characters and story, faith,  several funny situations, friendship, unexpected twists. But most of all a lovely end. 

I'm looking forward to reading more of Pepper Basham. :)

Thanks, Netgalley!
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Sometimes a sweet and innocent romance is just what I need. This book caught my eye over at NetGalley because of the title. I happen to live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. This historical novel set during WW1 takes place in the same mountain range but in North Carolina. I was hoping for gentle romance and a glimpse of the special place  I call home.

First, thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Books for letting me read the ARC of this romance novel. I have never read any of Pepper Basham’s books before, but I will again.

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge by Pepper Basham tells the story of two young people from two different walks of life: innocent mountain girl Laurel McAdams who loves her family and God and who wants to better herself and attend college some day and Jonathan Taylor, a teacher from England, who feels like he failed his family because he wasn’t able to fight in the war (WW1). Mr. Taylor arrives in the tiny mountain town of Maple Springs in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to teach the rural children the basics.

In addition to the culture shock of learning what it is like to live and survive in the harsh mountains, he has to adapt to teaching the children and adults of an insular community that is suspicious of outsiders and set in their backwards ways. He is fascinated by the warmth and love of the McAdams family who supports his efforts, especially Laurel. He also has his brother, preacher Anderson who also lives there, to help him adjust to life there and strengthens his love of God and for Laurel.

Laurel is struggling with family issues and tragedy does occur which only proves her faith is strong and resilient. She helps Jonathan survive and overcome his obstacles and the two find together they can reach their dreams.

I didn’t mind the religion in this book, but for readers who don’t like Christian quotes or ideas, be aware this is definitely Christian romance. This is a ‘clean’ romance; no sex, no swearing. There are ‘adult’ family issues such as drinking and unwed mothers, but they are referred to and not explicit. There is killing of animals (this is the mountains, of course) and the author does address rural living challenges.

The one thing I wish the author had done was use less mountain dialect. It did seem accurate to me but a little overdone and sometimes annoying to read.

Did the author capture the spirit of the mountains? I think she did. I didn’t find anything too outrageous. The author treats the mountain people with dignity, which I greatly appreciated. They are not all ‘Deliverance’ types of people. The mountain people I have met are wary, but once you get their trust, they are funny, warm, and intelligent in a different way from ‘book smarts’.

I rate this Christian historical romance 4 out of 5 stars, one star off for overdone dialect.
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Laurel’s heart belongs in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  I understand completely.  No matter where I go on this planet, my heart is always in Appalachia (in eastern Kentucky, to be precise).  Portraying the culture of Appalachia with all of its complexity is not an easy feat but this novel pulls it off beautifully, capturing the tough and tender spirit of the mountains with authenticity and respect.

This novel uses quite a bit of colloquial dialogue, which I enjoyed immensely because it’s really well written.  Occasionally, the colloquial speech had some inconsistencies, which was a bit distracting but didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the novel (for example, a character used the words helpin’ and hurting in the same sentence, instead of helpin’ and hurtin’).

Our bookish hero and heroine are so relatable and genuine and the secondary characters are equally delightful.  I recommend this novel to anyone who loves “Christy” by Catherine Marshall and/or the “Christy” TV mini-series, and to anyone who enjoys a sweet and beautifully written love story.

Thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for a digital advance review copy.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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This was my first introduction to Pepper Basham and it will NOT be my last. This book has it all: humor, great characters, an interesting setting  and an enjoyable storyline. Early in the book it had several super funny lines and I was instantly hooked. I will be looking in to other works by Pepper very soon! Utterly charming read!

I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
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I loved it! This book was amazing. I found that I didn't want the story to end, but when it did, what a satisfying ending! I really liked that the author told the reader that we would be hearing more about the sibling that was mentioned but didn't meet in this story. That is the sort of "teasing" I can tolerate in a book. No leading you along to make you purchase the next book just to finish a story.

I love Pepper Basham's books! They are on my must read list, and this does not disappoint! I will be reading this one over and over again.
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The 'My Heart Belongs to' series are great easy reads that are perfect for fireplace nights or rainy days. Blue Ridge stars Laurel, a woman trying to work through hard ships while trying to pursue her dreams and Jonathon, a British man trying to run from his disappointed father. Always clean with a sweet story and beautiful settings, this series is wonderfully entertaining.
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A beautifully written inspirational romance set in the early 1900s.  I loved the plot, characters and the Blue Ridge setting.  Fans of historical romance will enjoy this book.
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I have read other books about life in the Appalachians that I really enjoyed, and this new book by Pepper Basham joins the best ones, along with Catherine Marshall's “Christy” and Ann Gabhart's “These Healing Hills.”   The characters jump off the pages as “real” people, the plot twists keep the reader on the edge of the seat, and I didn't want the book to end.  I do hope she writes more SOON about the McAdams family.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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** spoiler alert ** I love Pepper Basham. She writes beautiful stories that are a pure joy to read! My Heart Belongs In The Blue Ridge Draws you in and keeps you turning the pages well after normal people have gone to bed. Laurel McAdams and Jonathan Taylor are a delightful couple and I hope to see more of them in future stories. Pepper has the beginning of a saga if she chooses. There are so many possible future stories and I would love to read them!
So grab a proper cup of tea, or a glass of meadow tea and settle in for a fantastic read!

I was given this book by with no expectations. All thoughts are my own.
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My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge
Laurel's Dream
by Pepper Basham
Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Barbour Books
Christian ,  Romance
Pub Date 01 Jan 2019

I am reviewing a copy of My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge through Barbour Books and Netgalley:

This his book will transport us to the Blue Ridge Mountains back to 1918.  We meet Laurel Adams who must endure the challenges of a hard life while dreaming about the day things improve.  Trouble comes again in the form of an outsider Jonathan Taylor who having failed his British Father joins in his Uncle Misdionary work as a teacher in a two room schoolhouse.

Laurel is compelled to protect the kindhearted teacher from some of the darker realities of Appalachian Life.  Even as she is trying to protect Jonathan his stories of life away from Appalachia pulls at her.

I give My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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First book I’ve read by this author. I was drawn to the cover and title because I’m a Blue Ridge transplant living in the Rockies and was feeling some of the same sentiment. I loved the authenticity and representation of the mountain families. My heart was satiated at the description of the sunrises and sunsets, as that is exactly what I miss! A deeply satisfying tale of love quietly transforming people. Jonathan learned what it meant to truly serve people with no strings attached and Laurel found the courage to honor her roots while stepping into the future of the outside world. I would also be amiss if I didn’t admit to melting to a puddle at the fruition of their love story.
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This is the first book I've read by Pepper D. Basham. I know she has others out but haven't had a chance to read them yet. I aim to change that now that I've read this historical!
Taking place in Appalachia in the late 1910's where the mountain folk are poor but proud. Change does not come easy and is definitely not welcomed! This is why they are not welcoming to the new male school teacher, Jonathan Taylor. When Johnathon fails his English father once again he joins his uncle's missionary endeavors as a teacher in this rural area. Laurel is used to the harsh realities of life in the Blue Ridge but tries to shield " Teacher " from it. A drunken father for Laurel and unrelenting poverty for these mountain people make them protect their own and change in the form of a new school teacher and his new teaching ways is not welcome. When Johnathon is summoned back home to England will he leave the Blue Ridge and it's people behind for good or will change and romance have a chance to blossom like the flowers in the springtime?
Beautiful story that needs a sequel to answer unanswered questions. Can't wait to read more by this author.
Pub Date 01 Jan 2019 
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing through NetGalley. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own
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Opening the pages to Pepper Basham’s book is like opening the gate to a lush mountain world. This story wraps the reader like a homemade quilt on a cold foggy mountain night. Ms. Basham’s style tells the story with such grace; the reader is in the story, witnessing every turn and moment.
To paraphrase Jonathan, “Stories. Pepper really does have the makings of a writer, a storyteller. It’s in [her] blood, [her] culture, and [she has] the ability to capture it on paper.”

Of all the life lessons in this book, the deep theme is running through it is, the one that shines above all else, is that true peace and joy and happiness doesn’t come from worldly endeavors or earthly possessions. Laurel’s constant smile and positive attitude holds fast in the midst of what seems to Jonathan such a meager life. His own past of wealth and ease, has not given the joy that radiates from her. 

As he embraces the quiet strength Laurel sees in him, and the dreams God has birthed in him, can Jonathan truly know the peace and joy Laurel brings? As their friendship grows and romantic notions flutter between them, will they sacrifice their dreams? Or will they sacrifice their affection for one another?
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I’m still sighing! Jonathan, a gentle English man, steps into a world he never knew existed when he arrives in the Blue Ridge Mountains to teach, prove himself, and connect with a beloved uncle. There he encounters mountain folks dead set on turning him away, along with some interesting moments and the lovely Laurel, who dreams of bigger things. Their romance is a slow burn that ignites after a series of unexpected events, and will keep readers turning pages for more. The colorful descriptions, breathtaking scenery, and Ms Basham’s vivid depiction of this community of strong, proud, & capable people made me long for more. I received a complementary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing, and was under no obligation to post a review.
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Confession. When I started this review, I typed and then deleted. Typed some more and then deleted. I struggled—and still do—to capture this story in a few short paragraphs. My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge is accurately titled because after I reached The End, my OWN heart seemed to linger in that mesmerizing storyland the author masterfully depicted, not wanting to budge.

About the Story:

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 thoughts:

When I was introduced to Laurel McAdams, I immediately loved her. If I could give out an award for the most tenderhearted heroine, Laurel would win hands down. She just had a way about her. She welcomed me as a reader into her world—one filled with vibrant mountains, striking dialect, and thousands of dreams. In fact, from page one, she had me in her corner, rooting for all her dreams to come true. But sometimes the achievement of our goals are hard fought, and same is true with Laurel. She has the aura of innocence but the heart of a fighter. Can you tell I love her?

And as for Jonathan Taylor, I felt a kinship with him as well. Like Jonathan, I was a stranger in the Blue Ridge’s domain and unsure of what challenges the unfamiliar surroundings would hold. And also like him, I was entranced by the wonder of the mountains. The author painted the scenes so vividly, that I could envision the beauty of the region, breathe the crisp mountain air. 

This story had all the feels. Seriously, I got misty-eyed at one passage, but then I chuckled at another. Jonathan and Laurel’s relationship was breathtaking to experience. I won’t spoil it for you, but there’s such a tenderness with their interactions that it makes my heart all aflutter. 

My favorite element of the story is the theme of dreams. That God has a glorious way of molding our dreams, shaping them to fit into His perfect plan. All in all, this story is in a league of its own and I can’t wait for more from this author! 

*I received a copy from Netgalley. All opinions are my own. 

To purchase My Heart Belongs in Blue Ridge click here.

About the Author:

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with a southern Appalachian flair. Her books have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inpsys, and the ACFW Carol Awards, with The Thorn Healer selected as a 2018 finalist in the RT awards. Both her contemporary and historical romance novels consistently receive high ratings from Romantic Times, with Just the Way You Are as a Top Pick. Most recently she’s introduced readers to Bath, UK through her novellas, Second Impressions and Jane by the Book, and taken readers into the exciting world of WW2 espionage in her novella, Façade. The second novel in The Pleasant Gap series, When You Look at Me, arrives in October and her contribution to Barbour’s wonderful My Heart Belongs series hits the shelves in January 2019 with My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge. Her books are seasoned with her Appalachian heritage and love for family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus. You can get to know Pepper on her website,, on Facebook, Instagram, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley.
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In the tradition of Catherine Marshall, Pepper Basham ushers readers into Appalachian life. From the beauty of the land, the music, the stories, the prejudices, and distrust of outsiders, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge is a love story to the culture and people.

The love growing between Jonathan and Laurel is wonderful and authentic, falling into place naturally, even when circumstances try to force it. But the true love story in this book is to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the people who live simple yet full and fulfilled lives.

I think it’s safe to say that whether she’s writing contemporary or historical, Pepper Basham is an author not to miss.

Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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