Cover Image: The Great Blue Hills of God

The Great Blue Hills of God

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Member Reviews

I loved every word! The Great Blue Hills of God kept me on the edge of my seat. This book is is beautifully written. Very Inspirational. A book that's hard to put down. Absolutely fascinating and very moving. I highly recommend it.
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The Great Blue Hills of God
A phenomenally true story of several people, how their lives interacted, and how the were influenced by each other.
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I have mixed feeling about this book. It must be nice to have money to pick up the piece of your life and throw together a new one. Most people wouldn't recover so easily.  This story does have it's moments, just not enough for me. I will agree that Tennessee is a lovely state!
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Kreis Bell's memoir about her life and Blackberry Farms is a nice, inspiring read. She faces struggles, tragedy, disappointment, and loss - just like everyone else. What makes her written experience useful is that she detailed how she coped. In spending time alone in reflection, seeking comfort from God, seeking therapy, she is able to use her words to help someone else. Readers may not be able to relate to her in aspects of her wealth and privilege - she readily and easily picked up and moved from place to place, all while decorating and redecorating. Most people are not able to easily do that. All in all, it's a good read. I would love to be able to visit Blackberry Farms one day.
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This book is a fascinating look at the family that created the Ruby Tuesday/Blackberry  restaurant chain and inn. I found this book especially interesting as I spent my college years at the University of Tennessee during the opening of the first Ruby Tuesday on the "strip" where it became a much loved gathering place for students and community alike. 
 I also have spent my life  just a few miles from the Blackberry Farm Inn and the more recent Blackberry Mountain owned by the family. There is no doubt that hard work and culinary and hospitality know how and talent figured into the restaurant and inn's success. This book gives a glimpse of the hardships both personally and professionally of this locally renowned couple that caters to the rich and famous. This is a story of triumph and tragedy of a well to do East Tennessee family..
Anyone reading the book will be struck by the courage, faith and marital journey of the Beall family, particular Kreis Beall the author and  multifaceted and creative mind that collaborated on the Ruby Tuesday restaurant, the Blackberry farm Inn and the new Blackberry Mountain. 
The rich history of the area and the Blackberry portion of the story prior to the Beall ownership is not a part of this book. The Beall's owe their success in part to the beauty of the area and the preexistence of the Inn in a remote and impoverished part of the county. It is understandable in this book as it is a  personal story that is primarily about the Bealls. For all those that read this book I would encourage you to look further at the area and its history and interrelationship with this fascinating family. If you visit the area you will understand the reason the Cherokee referred to it as "The Great Blue Hills of God".
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I loved this book!  I found the author's voice realistic and compelling.  Her narrative was well-detailed and a pleasure to read.  I would recommend this book to anyone facing enduring physical or emotional challenges.
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Reading this book felt like being invited in to a warm home. You can feel Kreis Beall's talent for hosting people in every page.  Blackberry Farm is on my travel bucket list, and I was particularly interested in the story of its founding and growth.  The book shines in those parts.  As a memoir, I felt that the story jumped from life stage to life stage too abruptly and the insight into her life, and especially her faith, lacked depth.  Overall, I'd recommend this book, especially to those familiar with and interested in Blackbery Farm.
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I loved the story in this book! My favorite part was at the end, I even enjoyed all the gratitude's given out. That was different and I liked it. It made it more personal. This is an easy read  and kept my interest to continue reading and hit close to home in so many ways. The book made me want to visit Tennessee. Someday I might! I will definitely recommend this book to my family and friends.
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I have heard so much about Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, so when I saw this book written by one of it's founders, Kreis Beall, I knew I wanted to read it. Beall is such an interesting and talented lady! She and her husband seemed to be the "perfect power couple".  But, as so often is the case, what the outside world sees, is not always what's really going on beneath the surface.  
Beall goes through much loss and heartache and finds herself on a journey of self-examination and a search for what's really important.  

Although, I cannot relate to the author's lifestyle, I found it very interesting, and would love to one day have the opportunity to visit Blackberry Farm.  In the end, it's another great example that wealth, power and things can never truly satisfy or fulfill.
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This book is a memoir, written by Kreis Beall.
You may know who she is (although I did not), because she and her husband Sandy built Blackberry Farm, a ritzy resort in Tennessee.  It is very popular with people who can afford to pay $800 per night. Yikes!

The memoir is written from the perspective of the author, Kreis Beall, so we get just her viewpoint.  She is interested in decorating and having dinner parties.  She even took lessons from Martha Stewart (in person)!

I did not relate to the first half of the book.  It was all about the author’s ritzy lifestyle.  She and her husband Sandy had several homes at all times, and always seemed to have one being remodeled.  They had dinner parties all the time.  They worked hard at Blackberry Farm, always adding on.  

The latter part of the book was much more interesting to me.  Kreis had an accident that changed her life! She writes about her struggles coping with all the changes.  She tries to find a way to make her life more meaningful.  I think she succeeds at that.  She learns to love and to forgive, which we all need to do.

Kreis learns it is better to find goodness in people, than to find fault.

Unfortunately, even the ending of the book was a disappointment to me.  I finished it wanting more from this book than I got.
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The Great Blue Hills of God: A Story of Facing Loss, Finding Peace, and Learning the True Meaning of Home is such an inspirational read. I highly recommend it. Five stars.
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I found the first half of this memoir to read more like a dry autobiography with too much emphasis on tedious details of meals cooked, fabrics chosen, etc.  Her early life could have been betters summarized in a couple of chapters.  The book is also filled with cliched aphorisms and large text mottoes that look like pull quotes in a magazine article.  

Somewhere after the first half of the book, it picked up a bit as Beall discussed her traumatic brain injury.  It was a harrowing accident with long-lasting effects; still, it irked me that Beall was out of touch enough to discuss her complete "loss of health" many times throughout the book only paragraphs away from descriptions of hikes to Machu Picchu, long road trips, and other elaborate vacations and undertakings.  There are many examples of Beall appearing out of touch - in her preference throughout many decades for work over marriage and family, and her penchant for buying and renovating properties and moving with abandon (and no apparent attention to finances, because they never seem to fall short nor does it seem to occur to Beall that they could).  Somewhere in the second half Beall grows almost evangelical but her sudden conversion appears as impulsive as many of her decisions, with no attempt to connect the dots for the reader as to how this transformation fully came about.

I did find the end of the book heart-breaking and wrenching; the loss of Beall's grown son Sam was tragic and untimely.  After the level of detail at the beginning of the book, I found the end sudden with little explanation of how Blackberry Farm runs without him.  Blackberry Farm sounds like a lovely inn and property, but the book falls short as a whole.
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The Great Blue Hills of God is a memoir from the co-founder of Blackberry Farm, Kreis Beall.
The title comes from the rendering of the Native American name for the Great Smokey Mountains, the setting for Blackberry Farm.
This book chronicles not only the story of Kreis' life, but but her journey toward God as well. It is a journey out of a disfunctional family and a childhood influenced greatly by her mother's design expertise. Kreis also developed from that time a pattern of having an "exit strategy" for any situation in her life.
Kreis married Sandy Beall, the founder of the Ruby Tuesday chain of restaurants, back when the number of restaurants could be counted on one hand. Together they had a passion for buying, building, remodeling, designing, and selling homes. This became the framework of their marriage, as they moved close to 40 times.
Sandy poured his main passions into Ruby Tuesday and was usually gone during the week. Kreis poured her efforts into Blackberry and another restaurant, sometimes to the detrament of her children.
When they moved to Alabama, Kreis wasn't working and she struggled to find her identity. At times she and Sandy kept her sister's two boys, about the same ages as their own two. The begining of problems in their marriage started when Sandy made the decision to send all four boys to private school while Kreis was out of town. This even took away her job of mother.
Kreis began to develope some close friendships with other women. Kreis' design skills rose to the top like cream during this time. She was not promoting herself, but ended up in at least three magazine spreads.
Eventually Kreis ended up back at Blackberry. She had endured the loss of a beloved home to fire, her husband's infidelity and the subsequent loss of her marriage, and a devastating irrecoverable blow to her health.
Kreis' pastor had been praying for her to become a Christian for many years, and finally the circumstances and time in her life led her to accept Jesus. One further loss awaits Kreis near the end of the book.
I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this as a Christian book because, like the Israelites who followed God during the reigns of the kings but refused to remove the high places of idol worship, throughout the book Kreis still made pilgrimages to an ashram. Nowhere in the book does she denounce this practice, which is decidedly not Christian.
Kreis is a woman of grace who has endured much. We are often more able to find God during the dark times of our lives. He is there at all times, and he requires complete allegiance.
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Excerpt from my TravelAwaits.com review: I was captivated, entertained, and deeply humbled by this book -- and I consider it the perfect vacation read. Here’s why.

1. It Reads Like New York Times Bestseller Little Fires Everywhere
2. It Invites You To Reconsider The American South
3. It Will Inspire You To See Our Country
4. It Invites You To Commune With Your Feelings (And Put Work In Its Place)
5. It Reinforces The Value Of Home

In between the chapters that detail her tremendous story, Kreis Beall shares heartfelt advice for daily living, hostessing, and so on. She also asks wonderful questions that will help readers of all ages revisit what health, home, happy travels, and family mean to them.

The Great Blue Hills of God winds up being a very spiritual read as Kreis relates her experience of finding faith (not just going to church) without proselytizing. Her courage to extract herself from work to seek out solitude is a nod to the power of time alone for reflection,
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This book stayed with me for a long time after I read it. It kept my attention the entire time I read it, and it was thoroughly enjoyable.

Kreis tells the story of her life and growing faith as she takes you along the journey of the houses she made into homes, and of the inn she created. She has known so many other interesting and some famous people in her life and it was fun to see bits of them in the book as well. Despite tragedy in her life, she does not leave you feeling depressed; instead she is inspirational.

Design fans and women of faith will both enjoy this book immensely.
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I adore Blackberry Farm, and I adore a memoir, so this book hit the spot!  It was so cool to hear about Kreis' life and how she became who she was based upon her life story.  I also love hearing how a beautiful place on earth came to fruition.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to review this book!
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This is such a great read!  I live about an hour away from Blackberry Farm. 
Kreis Beall did such a good job writing her story. I didn't know anything about
the owners previously. I think anyone would enjoy this book!

Thank you so much, Kreis Beall, the Publisher, and NetGalley, for giving me the
chance to read and review this interesting book!
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This was my favorite book of the year.  I became familiar with Blackberry Farm when I lived on a farm in Vermont.  I had very prolific blackberry bushes and needed to know what to do with them.  I was thrilled when I saw this book published.  It tells the story of how Blackberry Farm started, why it was a success and its ultimate failure.  It is still in operation but under different management.  Very interesting read.
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This book was a great story for the easy reading type of book I would recommend for friends to read. Great story line that was easy to follow .I look forward to another of her book's.
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4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
All I kept thinking while I was reading this was, “this women has unbelievable talent and charm and she is determined to take on any challenge facing her.” Everything she touched turned to gold! And she is also an author! She wrote a beautiful memoir. 
I loved it and couldn’t put it down. It flowed beautifully and I loved her honesty about her family and her endless running from ....well everything. 
At about half way she starts to talk about her life unraveling, which further kept me glued to her story. 
She paints a picture of loss, pain and grief that in part brought her into a relationship with God. I’m really glad she shared this with me. It was very good. 

This was a NETGALLEY gift and all opinions are my own.
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