About the Book
Returning from the devastation of World War 1 emotionally damaged, Jeb McAdams struggles against the rampant mountain alcoholism to soothe his nightmares. It’s easy to hide within the mountains, or it was, before Cora Taylor arrived. Now, she seems to show up at every turn, bringing her modern ideas, curiosity, and beautiful eyes with her.
Bound by their shared war history, the pair develop an unlikely friendship, which unexpectedly hints to something more. But when Cora’s desire to help the women of the mountains crosses an unspoken line, will Jeb be able to protect this feisty flatlander from the wrath of the mountain men or will he end up losing much more than his heart?
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The Heart of the Mountains is the first book I’ve read by Pepper Basham. It certainly won’t be my last! Ms. Basham has written an excellent novel regarding finding your place in the world, even if it’s somewhere you never expected.
This book is a sequel to a previous book by Ms. Basham but works perfectly fine as a standalone novel. I did not read the first book in this series and do not feel I missed any character traits of the people who appear in both novels.
Cora Taylor is the main character. She leaves England to escape an arranged marriage and runs to her brother, who is settled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She was a nurse on the front lines and battlefield hospitals during World War One and very obviously a fish out of water in the mountains. Cora is a great character. She’s tenacious, caring, and is a heroine easy to root for.
Jeb McAdams is the other main character. He, too, is a great character. Jeb fought on the front lines of WWI and struggles with PTSD. He is a genuinely nice guy and is a good foil for Cora. He has lived in Appalachia his whole life except when he was in the war. Jeb is a hardworking man trying to make something of his life.
The theme of finding your place in the world is one that permeates through the book, though it also touches on judging others, helping others even if society tells you its wrong, and finding family. This book was enjoyable and well-written. The side characters are real and have motivations and stories of their own, and the scenery descriptions are all really well done as well.
Near the end of the book, however, a lot of things happened one right after the other that felt like the author was struggling to finish the book. The end dragged a little but did not really detract from my enjoyment of the book.
I give this book 4/5 stars and recommend it to fans of historical fiction, especially those who are interested in learning more about Appalachian history.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Books through CelebrateLit and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
More From Pepper
It’s so interesting how one idea can influence an entire series, or…how one person’s story can.
The idea for The Heart of the Mountains started in Laurel’s Dream with a hint of a family history story about a girl named Kizzie. (Someday, I hope to bring Kizzie’s story to the pages of a book). From there, the idea began to grow out of a love for my Appalachian culture into a series of books which highlighted (and fictionalized) stories from my family history.
The main story in The Heart of the Mountains is about Jeb and Cora, two different people with similar servant hearts, but the secondary story that touched me so much was the one based on my great grandfather’s life. I write about it in the Author’s Note at the end of the novel, so I won’t go into detail about it. However, what I loved getting to do is bring the truth of God’s redemption in my great grandfather’s life…to life again.
I never knew “Papa Rat”. I only knew the stories handed down to me by my granny and my mama, but in writing this story, I feel as though I had a tiny opportunity to “meet” him in these pages. He was a gruff mountain man with a broken past which led him to make a whole lot of broken choices, but his story is incredibly encouraging, because it points to the God of broken people. My great grandpa wasn’t left in his brokenness, but, after years of running away from God, he would later recount that God pursued him. The beauty of Sam McAdams’ journey in The Heart of the Mountains is only a little glimpse into what I imagine my great grandpa’s redemption story looked like.
Because my great grandpa was forever changed when Jesus saved him (as any of us should be).
I think that’s what my granny and her siblings (and even “Papa Rat” himself) would want most -that his story would point to Jesus. I hope that’s what you see when you read about Sam McAdams in The Heart of the Mountains.
Have you ever read a book based on family history? One of my favorites is Catherine Marshall’s Christy.
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Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 31
Reading With Emily, July 31
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 31 (Author Interview)
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Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 1
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 1
Daysong Reflections, August 2
deb’s Book Review, August 2
Live. Love. Read., August 2
Betti Mace, August 3
Book Looks by Lisa, August 3
Locks, Hooks and Books, August 3
Remembrancy, August 4
For Him and My Family, August 4
Blossoms and Blessings, August 4
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 5
By the Book, August 5
Wishful Endings, August 5
For the Love of Literature, August 6
Books, Books and More Books, August 6
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 6
Connie’s History Classroom, August 7
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Splashes of Joy, August 7
Where Faith and Books Meet, August 8
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 8
Back Porch Reads, August 9
Through the Fire Blogs, August 9
Pause for Tales, August 9
Labor Not in Vain, August 10
Miriam Jacob, August 10
To Everything There Is A Season, August 10
To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e- gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran.