Cover Image: The Great Blue Hills of God

The Great Blue Hills of God

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Member Reviews

Good story about living a faithful life without being preachy. I do wish that Ms. Beall had given more time to her husband and sons "characters" although to be fair, the book was about her and her journey of faith. I do plan to recommend to a couple friends that I know would enjoy.
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Such an stimulating, inspirational and interesting book. How one woman, along with her family, created, maintained a life that left behind her mark of beauty, love and home.

Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of the eBook for a fair and honest review.
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Received this from Net Gallery and to say the least all of this was new to me,never heard of this farm before and you can tell by the story it was well researched to be able to tell their story! Beautiful description of the mountains and of Tenn. Would really love to see this place! If you can't believe that God doesn't live up in these mountains then where does he live? Wonderful read you won't be disappointed at all!!
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This book made me feel deeply saddened and yet encouraged at the same time. And not many books have done that! To be honest, I thought this would be a happy story about a happy and privileged life - on the contrary, the author Kreis Beal seems to have faced some of the worst heartaches in life.  Blackberry Farm sounds so idyllic and Kreiss' life seemed just as perfect. But it all came tumbling down in more ways than one.

I have often wondered how people can live life without the peace and assurance that comes with knowing a Higher Being. Let's face it - Life can be awfully hard! Kreis shows how it is possible to be tranquil in the storm.

Well written, I read The Great Blue Hills of God from cover to cover. 

Thank you Netgalley and Convergent Books for the ARC. This is my honest review.
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Best book I have read in a very long time! Authentic and honest - such a wonderful telling of the author's life. Definitely a MUST READ! And I can't wait to visit Blackberry Farm sometime in the future!
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This was a fascinating memoir, full of insight and honesty. I enjoyed getting to know Kreis Beall through this very personal memoir.
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Well, I always have wanted to visit Blackberry farm, and now I know the story of the founders. I love visiting the mountains, and found this to be a fascinating memoir that I flew through. Kreis had an unusual marriage with Sandy Beall, founder of Ruby Tuesday, and did not pull any punches describing her whirlwind life and many moves from house to house to house. Through it all was Blackberry Farm - one of the first investments that Kreis and Sandy made together. How this resort held her interest and enabled her to grow her sense of family and identity is inspiring, as is her later life conversion.
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In the beautiful Smoky Mountains, lived a woman named Kreis Beall. The mountains and valleys are breath-taking, inspiring, and the timeless guardians of souls and natural wisdom. The rocks, hills, and creeks didn’t stand a chance against Kreis Beall, the ultimate force of nature.

Kreis Beall has created a memoir that is overflowing with an abundance of dreams, desires, and accomplishments. Ms. Beall is a tsunami of life. I am amazed I had never heard of her before, or the luxury farm resort, Blackberry Farm, she established in the Smoky Mountains near Knoxville, Tennessee. (Note- the “farm” is exactly how I hope heaven is- beautiful surroundings, perfect hospitality, gourmet food, all the activities you could dream of.)

Ms. Beall was born and raised in Tennessee. She married Sandy, and he was the CEO and she was the COO of their lives. They founded a popular restaurant chain, created Blackberry Farm, and over the course of their marriage, built or bought and decorated and entertained in over 40 homes. They had it all. They really did- they had so much- wealth, family, friends, entertaining, and creative businesses. It would take a 1,000 of me to get done what the author accomplished in a day.

 So- the perfect life? Well, the subtitle of the book is “A story of facing loss, finding peace, and learning the true meaning of home.” She suffered some major and devastating blows and she is honest and unsparing in the sharing of these incredibly sad and painful happenings.

I’m not sure she is a woman who can ever truly find peace, but just as she can remodel and redecorate a home and make it glossy-magazine Instagram perfect, she can also turn her talents inward to re-center herself. God Bless you, Ms. Beall. She includes devotional-type moments in the book that speak to her love of God, family and home. This is an interesting, if somewhat unsettling, read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Convergent Books for a digital review copy.  This is my honest review.
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Based on the author's description of her inn, I may be the last person to have heard of it! This was a fascinating memoir and made me want to visit Blackberry Farm resort. A good first book for the author
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This is a good memoir of the people behind the hugely successful Blackberry farm in Tn 
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review this book
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December 01, 2019
THE GREAT BLUE HILLS OF GOD - Kreis Beall

I received this free on my Kindle for the purpose of review. 

The author tells her true story in great detail.  Young adults, meet, marry, build many great businesses and live happily ever after..........I am certain that is what our author would have preferred.

Ms.  Beall is a prolific writer and keeps your attention.  She shares her story with truth and creates interest to keep you reading.  She and her husband are quite successful with her ability to design and beautifully decorate many homes with his business head to sell for profit. 

Kreis also has the gift of hospitality and quickly rises to be featured in magazines for not only her ability to redesign and decorate but also host many social events. She was featured in many publications about food, home decorating and high society social events.   All seems to be sailing alone quite smoothly until.........the day it didn't.

Husband Sandy is always looking for the next adventure in business....he has bought and sold many restaurant franchises, homes and properties.  His best purchase was actually Blackberry Farm in the foothills of Tennessee which was to be their retirement.  However, Kreis suffers a  brain injury, she is left with hearing loss and marital difficulties.  Their perfect marriage of 36 years comes to an abrupt end. 

But, God, Kreis begins to face herself and recognizes she looks marvelous on the outside but the inside is quite different.  She goes on a journey to find herself and hopefully find some answers to her many internal questions.  Living at Blackberry Farm in 600 foot shed with peeling paint she finds herself and faith in God. 

Many lessons to be learned and pondered for each of us.
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I am enormously grateful to Netgalley.com for allowing me to read this book.  I have followed Kreis Beall's career as a designer and the co-founder of Blackberry Farm since the 1980s when she was first published in the design magazines in the South.  My husband and I live in Mobile, where Kreis and Sandy and their children lived for eleven years during the Morrison's/Ruby Tuesday days.  I am quite familiar with her home, Rose Bay, and know many of her close friends from Mobile.  Since 2008, my husband and I have been blessed to stay several times at Blackberry Farm and enjoy the magic and the beauty of the special place Kreis and Sandy created during their long marriage.

We were also in the audience at the Nashville Antiques and Garden Show when Kreis made her first 'speech.' 

If you followed her career, you can almost feel the trajectory of the lifestyle Kreis describes during the 'blowing and going' years of the 1980s and 90s.  Magazine after magazine would feature a home, a table scape, a garden that Kreis had designed.  Each one more beautiful than the one before it.  Her descriptions of Sandy's love of flipping houses and their lives on the move are easier to understand now.  Kreis writes her story with gut-wrenching honesty, and not a little bit of wry humor.

Yet all their successes have been mixed with more personal tragedy than anyone should have to bear.  A devastating fire that destroyed the beautiful home that had finally become 'home' to their family.  A fall that injured Kreis so severely that her hearing is forever compromised.  The challenges, both personal, social, and professional that accompanied her loss of hearing.  A shattering divorce and the loss of the one person who had been her best friend and partner in all her success.  And the death of her oldest child, her son, when he was just entering the prime of his life with his own wife and children.  

Kreis writes of all of this with a brutal honesty that cannot help but inspire.  Her ultimate understanding that it is only through God's grace that anyone can make any sense of these things is not only beautiful to read.  It is a reminder to all of us.  As with everything else of which Kreis writes, the emergence of faith in her life is part of the fabric of her life.  There is no lecturing.  This is her story.  We will learn from it what we will.

I cannot recommend this beautiful memoir more highly.  For those of us who are 'a certain age,' and who think that we can now see the lessons that God has tried to teach us through our lives, Kreis has shown us that the blessings and the joys of life can be elusive if we do not take the time to recognize them. So often, they are right in front of us.  So many have followed her throughout the years, and her beautiful design work has set a high standard.  With her personal story, Kreis continues to pave the way.
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I loved this memoir. It kept my attention the entire time, and I finished it in 2 days. I've never been to Blackberry Farm, which Kreis co-founded, but reading the book made me want to visit there. Kreis was very honest, and I enjoyed reading about how she developed and grew as a person throughout her life. She faced a variety of challenges, and in the book, she does a great job describing them and then what she learned through each one. This book would be great for those that like books about family, design, and personal and spiritual growth.
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Kreis Beall had it all, it seemed. She and her husband developed Blackberry Farms, an award-winning resort, in the Smoky Mountain Foothills of Tennessee. The couple also owned and developed the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain. Besides a devoted husband, she had two wonderful sons and time and money to travel and learn, as well as wide recognition in the world of designing and entertaining. Then, her in addition to the end of her marriage end of her marriage and the death of her business partner, other tragedies followed, wreaking havoc on the solid, wonderful life she had forged. But there was more to come. She suffered a brain injury, leaving her with a hearing loss, and shortly thereafter, the death of her son Sam. Now, Kreis began the hardest journey of all: figuring out who she really was and how or if to go on. She moved to Blackberry Farm, to a tiny, unassuming shack, where she found herself and the healing began.

This is a well written account of a life well spent. I admired Kreis for all she did and accomplished. I also admired her for the way she managed to pick herself up after things went so badly awry in her life.  The book resonated with one woman’s search for meaning and definition, much like the searches so many of up go through in life—only probably without so much tragedy, or tragedy of different sorts. Leaning the story of such an awesome woman and her life as well as of the things she accomplished was definitely rewarding to me.  I seldom read biographies or autobiographies, preferring fiction, but this was an exception, and a good one at that. I think anyone who has ever wondered about or experienced the struggles we all endure throughout life will enjoy this one.  Kreis Beall truly has a story to tell, and the book tells it well. I received this from NetGalley to read and review.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Convergent Books for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book.
I was initially attracted to this book because I've been trying to convince my husband that we should take a vacation to Blackberry Mountain, the newest outpost of Blackberry Farm, and I learned from the book description that Kreis Beall was the original proprietor. Up until reading this book I had no idea of the history behind the property and now I will enjoy it so much more if I actually go. 
The book details Kreiss'  wide-ranging life, so much of which was incredibly enviable and so much of which was incredibly devastating. As a southerner who loves home decor and cooking I related to Kreiss easily, which may not be the case for everybody. I can see this falling flat for people haven't experienced that culture. In addition to the biographical chapters, chapters with Kreiss' thoughts on subjects like home and the holidays are also included. I don't know that these chapters add much to the book but they didn't bother me. I did find the larger-print quotes interspersed throughout the book a little incongruous.
 Ultimately, this book is about how Kreiss' life led to her faith. It's a really beautiful story. It's not a page turner that everyone will relate to but I enjoyed it and I think other Blackberry fans will too.
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I wish to thank NetGalley and the Convergent Books for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book.  I have voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I have long been aware of Blackberry Farms in the Smoky Mountain Foothills of Tennessee.  I have been there but never stayed overnight.  This book is the story of the developers of the award winning resort but it is so much more than that.  Kreis tells her story as well.  She does not hold back anything as she walks us through the life she leads.  She and her husband also owned and developed the restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday.  Life is not always a picnic as you travel down her path of health issues, loses and so much more to realize how resilient one person can be.  It is a book of hope and inspiration.

I give this one five stars as I really enjoyed learning the history of such a beautiful place and extraordinary family.

#NetGalley #TheGreatBlueHillsofGod #ConvergentBooks #inspiration
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While the beginning of the book had me wondering what the significance was of all the details included, by the end of the book, I understood. The author does a beautiful job of giving simple details about her life, yet keeping the reader interested and desiring to read more. Beall is real, honest, raw, and open about her life. She paints a strikingly sad image of how one's life can be so full of great wealth and endless "things" and yet be so empty. This book definitely left an impression on me!

Thanks to author, publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read the uncorrected proof of this book.
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A great memoir -  a brutally honest trip to your past - your life lessons and passion for your family, home, and God we’re inspiring. This is not a "preachy" or overtly religious book. Instead, it's one woman's honest, personal accounting of her experiences and her search for meaning.  Thank you for chance to review
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Sweet sweet book real emotions real life lessons a wonderful read,sounds like a heavenly place to visit.
#netgalley #convergentbooks
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A great memoir - I knew nothing of Tennessee and Blackberry Farm but I’d love to travel and see it. Thank you to the author for a brutally honest trip to your past - your life lessons and passion for your family, home, and God we’re inspiring.
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