Saturday, August 24, 2019

MY HEART BELONGS IN THE BLUERIDGE, Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham is set in 1918 in Maple Springs, North Carolina.
Although I have loved every book that I have read by Pepper Basham, this story was so achingly beautiful I could have given it 10 stars! Her descriptions of the mountain vistas was breathtaking. See a sunset through Jonathan Taylor’s eyes:

“ Sunrise had been beautiful, but the benediction of the day, purplish-blue hues spliced with fading amber, stole his breath. A sea of mountains reached to touch the tawny sky, the peaks veiled in intermittent clouds in an unearthly and mesmerizing beauty.”

She captures life in the Blue Ridge Mountains so wonderfully that I was caught up from the first page. Ms. Basham conveys the hardships, faith and ingrained lifestyle of the mountain people.

Laurel McAdam’s mother imparts some wisdom: “Regret don’t do nothin’ but steal your joy and cloud your eyes from seein’ the blessings.....A hopeful heart never stops dreamin’, God made dreamin’ and imaginin’ because without those, how could we even believe in all He’s brought and done and made. How could we even have a mind’s eye for heaven?”

Ms. Basham is a proficient storyteller. She comes by it honestly from her upbringing in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. She dedicated this book to the storytellers in her family, notably her Granny Spencer, who inspired her writing.

Laurel McAdams’ life is in the backward mountains but she has big dreams of becoming a teacher and returning to her people. Jonathan Taylor is trying to prove himself to his father by teaching in this backward hamlet. He has trouble being accepted into the culture. Laurel helps Jonathan by teaching him the customs and warning of the dangers in her world.

The author has revealed her own heart for her mountain people through the character of Laurel. There is humor but also heartache. As a book lover, I especially mourned at someone’s disrespect of books.

There are lessons to glean from this touching story. Among them that God is with all kinds of people and can use the humblest of us to His glory. We may have dreams but He can fulfill our dreams as He sees fit or change our dreams to fit His purpose.

Ms. Basham has proven that she is an accomplished writer in any time period.

*I purchased this book from a local bookstore. All opinions are my own.*

BackCover Blurb:
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?

Available in Digital ebook, paperback, and library binding:
Buy My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge at Amazon
Buy My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge at


  1. A review any author would LOVE! thanks for sharing this with us, Paula. It's certainly been a popular book, and I'm not surprised at all!

    1. Debra!! Thank you so much for that!! I really loved getting to pull from family history and the culture I LOVE to make this story come alive on the page :)

  2. Paula! Thank you SO much for this beautiful review! Brought tears to my eyes.

  3. I enjoyed reading this review, the book sounds like a very good read and the cover is Beautiful! I will be adding this book to my TBR list. Thank you


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