Wednesday, January 2, 2019

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel's Dream by Pepper Basham

About the Book:

A British missionary meets a chilly welcome in a remote Appalachian community.

Laurel McAdams is well acquainted with trouble, but her dreams keep her hopeful that life can improve on her mountain in the Blue Ridge. Still, trouble does come in the form of an outsider.

Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins his 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 parents angry over his 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?

Journey into North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where a young woman's dreams are held captive by rugged landscape and long-held traditions.

My Thoughts:

As I started reading My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel's Dream by Pepper Basham, Laurel's culture intrigued me with its superstitions and plainspoken occupants. The uniqueness of the setting and characters carried the story for me as the relationship between Laurel and Jonathan was sweet, but slow. I enjoyed their friendship and mutual love of books, but I would have liked the romance to develop earlier.

Following one's dreams is a strong theme in the novel and I appreciated Laurel's determination to follow her dream of attending college and improving life for those in her community. One of my favorite quotes was, “Dream, girl, but trust God to take better care of your dreams than you ever could (Pg. 139).”

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel's Dream is a stand-alone novel, but I wish there was an epilogue or second book to address certain situations. From the author's acknowledgment page, it seems the latter may someday be reality. I recommend this book to readers looking for a gentle story of friendship turned love. 

Visit the My Heart Belongs website to learn more about the other novels in this series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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