Title: My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge
Author: Pepper Basham
Series: My Heart Belongs
Genre: Historical Romance
Publishing Date: Jan 1, 2019
Format: ARC E-book
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?
This was my first time reading a book by Pepper Basham and I was certainly not disappointed! It’s not quite a novella, but it’s certainly a shorter novel (I read the e-book but according to Goodreads the print is 256 pages), and I happened to read entire book in one evening.
I’ve only read a few stories that involve “mountain people,” but it’s quite interesting that almost all of them paint the same type of picture of them. They are a people of pride and while they may not have much, they work hard for what they do have. They don’t often take kindly to strangers, and are eerie of people who come in and say they want to help them in any way. They consider free help a charity case, and refuse to be viewed as such. So it’s safe to say that Jonathan Taylor had his work cut out for him when he truly had a heart to help the people of Blue Ridge by teaching their older youth. You also see that his true desire is to be a doctor, which happens to be another profession the town could benefit from. Yet how do you help a people so bent on wanting you to leave?
What I loved about Jonathan’s character was how willing he was to “get his hands dirty.” He didn’t want to be viewed as the type of person many originally took him for. He didn’t want to be viewed as the rich boy who thought he was better than them and came to teach out of pride and charity. Everything didn’t come easy for him there, but he continued to do his best and show the people that he truly cared. I really liked seeing his friendship with Laurel develop. They really were perfect for each other despite the fact that they were thrown together through circumstance. She helped him try to understand the people instead of simply fixing them. They really were a great team.
That is all I will say because I don’t want to spoil anything in the story, but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this story and absolutely look forward to reading more from Pepper in the future!
*I received a copy of this book from the author through NetGalley. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
*PLEASE NOTE: This section may contain spoilers but I do my best to reveal the difficult and/or triggering content without giving away the story
Although it’s not labelled as such, Laurels father has what we may call “seasonal blues,” however the book describes it as winter drunkenness and meanness. If you’ve ever read The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, it reminded me of the father from that book, however not nearly as bad. There is some violence towards his family that occurs during this time, however it is mostly threats or the fear of something happening, so anyone with a history of domestic abuse may struggle with the story. There are a few times that Jonathan has a gun pointed at him when he first arrives in town (back-woods misunderstandings), and it’s talked about on several occasions for people to carry guns to protect from wild animals. There is also a scene where a gun is used in a more threatening way.
Stop by my Facebook page The Becca Files this week for a social media tour with JustRead Publicity Tours to spotlight this book including a special giveaway!