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?
A tale of determination, compassion, loyalty, and new beginnings wrapped in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Everything about this novel grabbed my heart, enthralled my senses, and wrapped me up in the beauty and trials of life in the Blue Ridge.
From the first page, I fell in love with the plucky heroine, Laurel, who had dreams bigger than the life she led, yet didn’t allow her desires to overcome her integrity. In fact, even her dreams weren’t about her. Laurel’s whole being vibrated with a love and compassion for others without crossing the line into too-perfect-to-be-real. Laurel certainly had her weaknesses, but the love in her heart outshined them all. It was no wonder the hero, Jonathan Taylor didn’t take long to recognize what a special woman she was. Still, their budding friendship faced many obstacles on its way to love.
Jonathan arrived in Maple Springs hoping for a chance at redemption — a way to prove his worth to his father and himself despite the physical limitations which prevented him from following his brothers into war and drove him from his home in England. Despite his uncle’s letters, he didn’t fully understand the cultural differences he’d face in Maple Springs and how significant they would be to his role as their new teacher. Jonathan faced an uphill battle if he wanted to become an accepted member of the Maple Springs community. As the reader, I loved taking on that battle with Jonathan through Pepper Basham’s well-written story.
Packed full of surprises that will keep you turning the page, this novel is more than a romance between a man and a woman. It’s a story of our Creator’s love, the ties that bind families and communities together, and the sins that threaten to tear them apart. I highly recommend this story to anyone hoping for an emotional journey that leaves them cheering in the end.
Overall Rating: 5 of 5 stars!
P.S. It’s no secret that I am a fan of Pepper’s writing, but this may be my favorite of all her stories. She really outdid herself. If you haven’t read anything by Pepper Basham yet (gasp!) this is a fantastic place to start!
P.P.S. For anyone wondering: I purchased my own copy of this book. Go get yours!
Let’s Chat! Have you read any of the books from the My Heart Belongs In ___ series? If you’ve read Pepper’s previous books, which is your favorite?
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