The most impactful read of 2016

Today I am thrilled to share my review of perhaps the most impactful and beautiful read of the year. Pepper Basham's third and final book in her Penned in Time series, The Thorn Healer.

Jessica Ross is wounded in heart, and spirit, when she returns home from WWI England to her hometown of Hot Springs, North Carolina. She seeks peace and a return to normalcy as her heart is still reeling, but when a tender-hearted German internee, August, enters her life via her beloved grandparents--her world is up-ended yet again. But this time, instead of the ravages of war and brutality, it just might be upended by the tender pursuit of a man who longs for Jessica to see herself the way the Lord does.

This story delves deep into a heart of someone who's had the rug ripped out from under her. Jessica's wounds are visible on the outside in the form of a limp--but her inner wounds are far more disabling at first. She turns a cold shoulder both to the grace-filled truths from her grandparents, and the deeply beautiful pursuit of August Reinhold. All of which are a magnificent illustration of how patiently and tenderly God pursues our own wayward, hurting hearts. And not in a preachy way--never. There are still quite a few special spark-filled moments that Basham is known and touted for to satisfy the most romantic readers. The wit and humor are perhaps the strongest between this fiery couple as opposed to the first two books in this series. Who knew a badminton scene could be so delightfully on point in the romance department?
This quote, You're so busy staring at your empty hand, you've failed to see how full the other one is, is, in one sentence, why I adored this novel as much as I did. Such a phrase challenged me when I first read it--because I had been going through quite a bit of loss myself when life ripped the rug out from under me. It takes a truly God-touched author to so poignantly and truthfully deal with loss, the bitterness and anger that comes with it--and weave a story of redemption. Of God restoring to Jessica Ross what she thought she'd never have. Of August Reinhold walking out the love of Christ in every step of the story to Jessica. This story left me changed, and I am eternally grateful.

Jessica Ross' scars run much deeper than the wounds of war. Determined to escape the ghosts of her past and the German influence on her nightmares, she returns home to the sleepy Appalachian town of Hot Springs, NC, only to find the renowned Mountain Park Hotel has been converted into a 'prison' for displaced Germans. To Jessica's dismay, her grandparents have befriended one of the treacherous internees.

August Reinhold has not only found kinship with Jessica's grandparents, but as they share their granddaughter's letters from the Front, he discovers a surprising bond drawing him toward the independent and beautiful woman. Displaced by a war and a painful history, he finds Hot Springs and the intriguing Jessica Ross a tempting place to start over. Determined to scale the heights of her bitterness and show her the power of love, August faces more than just Jessica's resistance but a more devious design to harm the civilian sailors housed in Hot Springs.

Will August's tender pursuit bring Jessica the healing and hope she needs, or will bitterness force her into the hands of a "true" enemy waiting to destroy much more than her heart?

pepperbarnsmileABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at a group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015, and has already garnered its first award with Readers’ Favorites International Awards. Pepper’s second and third books in the series arrive in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuts in April. You can connect with Pepper on her website at, Facebook or Twitter.

Words, history, and grace color my days here in The Burgh where I seek out the perfect coffee and red lipstick.

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