If you read my review of The Thorn Bearer, you know that I first learned of Pepper Basham through RachaelReadsFiction‘s Instagram and Blog posts. I was inspired by Rachael’s enthusiasm and commented on her post. As a result, I was blessed to win (no strings attached) an Digital Advanced Reader’s Copy of The Thorn Keeper, scheduled to release on February 28th.
In The Thorn Bearer we followed the story of Ashleigh Dougall and were introduced to her sister, Catherine Dougall. The Thorn Keeper moves Catherine to center stage where we watch her transform into a new creature in Christ and learn how to lean on Him through all the hurdles and turns that life throws at her. The skill with which Pepper grows Catherine from a self-absorbed, social-ladder-climbing, destructively selfish young woman, into an others-focused, humbly grateful, aid-to-the-poor-and-downtrodden, generous young woman, is something to be truly admired.
As with her first book, the characters in this book are all so richly written they feel real and true. Of course her descriptions again leave you feeling you’ve truly spent time in the nineteenth century town of Edensbury and witnessed the effects of the first World War, the struggles of adapting to changing societal rules, and the ability of just one person to profoundly affect the lives of those around her.
Although there is one plot twist near the end which happens to be a particular pet peeve of mine, Pepper used it in such an organic way and handled the ramifications with such finesse, I couldn’t work up my usual annoyance. Well done, Pepper.
I only have two negative comments which are so nitpicky they almost aren’t worth mentioning, but in the interest of balance, I will tell you that there was one moment where I rolled my eyes a tad over the wording choice of one of the characters. I felt it was a bit too flowery and not something someone would actually say. Secondly, I found the spiritual side of things to be just a touch more heavy handed (or maybe just a couple sentences too lengthy) than I would like during some brief sections of the novel. For the most part, however, it was still very organic and nicely done.
Having said that, I have to confess that I lost several hours of sleep over this book, owing to the fact that I couldn’t make myself put it down! I kept thinking, “I’ll go to sleep after I figure out ____” but by then there would be another question I just had to find the answer to and the next thing I know it’s 4 in the morning!!!
Although I did receive this book for free, had I purchased it I would feel completely satisfied that it was well worth my time and money. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in a Christian Historical Romantic Adventure. Additionally, I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Downton Abbey as I thought to myself a few times that this novel felt a bit like someone had picked out many of the best points of the first two or three seasons and combined them together into a wonderful new creation.
I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.
The Thorn Keeper releases February 28, 2016, but you can preorder your copy now! 😀
(I am not in any way being compensated for my review or recommendation. I won the D.A.R.C. just by commenting on Rachael’s post and I was under no obligation to post a review, let alone required to post a positive one. All opinions are my own and 100% sincere. This is just a truly great book!)