Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"Just the Way You Are" by Pepper Basham

Over the past year, I've heard a lot about Pepper Basham—her books are pretty popular with several of the bloggers I follow. Just the Way You Are gave me my first opportunity to sample her writing, and let's just say that now I get what all the fuss is about!

Single mom Eisley Barrett prefers to keep romance safely housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her reluctant heart a very different type of discovery.

Wes Harrison has a past he’s ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he’s managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.

When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grace salvage their unexpected romance?

Just the Way You Are
is a delightful romance wrapped in a layer of mystery. Appalachian single mom Eisley is so endearing—I loved how whatever she was thinking just popped out of her mouth—and hunky British leading man Wes is rather swoon-worthy in a JJ Feild in Austenland (or Northanger Abbey) kind of way. (And now I think I must pull out my copy of Austenland again ...)

The driving force of the novel is the attraction between Eisley and Wes, but the novel is so much more than just a romance. There's also mystery surrounding Eisley's ancestor Julia (the reason Eisley is in England in the first place), and I found Julia's story to be quite compelling. And then there's Vivian, a part of Wes's past that keeps coming back to haunt him. I despised Vivian, but she did keep things interesting!

The message of Just the Way You Are is clear—that God can redeem anyone's past, and if we let go of our fear and trust Him, He will show us the right path ... a path that just might be beyond our wildest dreams. This is a lesson that both Eisley and Wes learn (sometimes slowly) throughout the novel, and it's illustrated beautifully.

While I greatly enjoyed Just the Way You Are, a couple things bugged me. First, Wes's insistence on calling Eisley "Pet." I know it was supposed to be an endearment, and maybe it's really common in England, but I cringed every time I read it. Also, the main source of conflict in Eisley and Wes's relationship is their lack of trust for one another, and one of the things that caused Wes to doubt Eisley was something I saw coming a mile away. (Wes did respond differently than I expected him to, which I appreciated, but I found the setup to be a bit too obvious.) These are minor quibbles, though—they may keep Just the Way You Are from getting a 5-star rating, but they didn't diminish my enjoyment of the novel too much.

Just the Way You Are is presumably the first in Basham's Pleasant Gap Romance series, and I hope she'll continue telling Eisley's family's stories, and soon! I can confidently say that my first taste of Basham's writing won't be my last! 4 stars.

Buy the book.

Follow the blog tour: 
April 6: Reading Is My SuperPower
April 6: cherylbbookblog
April 6: Fiction Aficionado
April 7: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
April 7: Smiling Book Reviews
April 7: Singing Librarian Books
April 8: Bookworm Mama
April 8: my site/autism mom
April 9: Quiet Quilter
April 9: Inklings and notions
April 10: Faithfully Bookish
April 10: Back Porch Reads
April 11: Robin’s Nest
April 11: Christian Chick’s Thoughts
April 12: Blogging With Carol
April 12: Just the Write Escape
April 13: Cordially Barbara
April 13: Moments Dipped in Ink
April 14: His Grace is Sufficient
April 14: A Greater Yes
April 15: Just Commonly
April 15: 100 Pages per Hour
April 16: Book by Book
April 16: A Baker’s Perspective
April 17: Splashes of Joy
April 17: Christian Bookaholic
April 17: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
April 18: Karen Sue Hadley
April 18: History Mystery & Faith
April 18: Through the Open Window
April 19: Henry Happens
April 19: Baker Kella
April 19: Daysong Reflections

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, releases in April 2016. You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, or Instagram.

To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a Grand Prize!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b3e0

Guest post from Pepper Basham

Thank you so much for featuring my newest novel, Just the Way You Are, on CelebrateLit. I am THRILLED to be a part of this and to share a story that is very dear to my heart.

Just the Way You Are is my first ‘true’ Britallachian romantic comedy. Even though I’ve written comedy in some of my other novels and included elements of both Appalachia and Britain, this one embodies the tag #britallachian to the core. For those of you who’ve read some of my previous books, you know I’m a big fan of my native Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian culture. You may also know that I’m a proud Anglophile.

Those two loves met in Just the Way You Are – and I tossed lots of other things I love best into the mix. What are those ingredients, you might ask?

Well, let me just tell ya! Just the Way You Are is a blend of Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian culture, big (hilarious) family dynamics, matchmaking, Britain, a swoony English hero, a quirky, magnanimous heroine, a bunch of adorable kids, Scooby Doo and Indiana Jones references, lots of humor, a historical mystery, a devious villainess, stately manor houses, secret rooms, love letters, and matchmaking all rolled into one…oh, and did I mention brain-numbing romance?

(Did anyone else feel the need to add “fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, miracles, true love….” From the Princess Bride?) I don’t think I included torture, giants, or monsters in Just the Way You Are…but I may have the other elements in this novel.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating about the brain-numbing, but I do have a tendency to err on the side of overly dramatic.

Within the pages of Just the Way You Are, you’ll meet people from my own family, people from my imagination, and some people who stepped into the story without one ounce of my planning to ever meet them. This story came out of my desire to write something I love reading – spicy romance, clean humor, culture clashes, the big love of family, and redemption.

How did my heroine Eisley Barrett evolve? Out of thin air. I was washing dishes one afternoon and staring out the window into our small backyard with the Blue Ridge Mountains painting a purplish-blue frame on the horizon when I closed my eyes. Into my imagination came this ginger-headed woman walking through Heathrow International Airport pulling a hot pink bag behind her…and then, she tripped and fell. That was it. That’s how I was introduced to my insecure, hilarious, romance-loving, single-mom heroine.

And the dashing hero? Okay, this may sound ridiculous, but I was watching an interview about Richard Armitage (Thoron Oakenshield, Guy of Gisborne, etc) regarding his lovely costume drama North and South where he plays a very dashing British hero. Anyway, he was SUCH a gentleman to watch during the interview. So polite. Kind. Funny, in a sweet way, and then, out of the blue, he said the word ‘gosh’. I know, that may not be a big deal to anyone but me, but after watching celebrity interviews where every other word needed a censor, the very fact that this elegant man used the word ‘gosh’, sent my writing brain into motion. My first internal question? What if a movie star with a tender heart had been burned by the pretension and expectation of celebrity status? What kind of woman could touch a heart who’d lost his faith in love’s authenticity?

Enter my red-head single-mom toting her pink bag through Heathrow and you have the very beginning of Just the Way You Are – a story of forgiveness, second chances…and a little bit of movie magic.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Thanks so much for the review, Becky!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Pepper! Looking forward to reading more of your stories!

    2. If you like contemporary, you might enjoy A Twist of Faith- warning...it's predictable :-) It IS a loose retelling of My Fair Lady ;-)
      My historical romances (to this point) have the humor toned-down too...well, except my WIP
      Have a wonderful day

    3. Pepper, I'm such a sucker for retellings! LOVE THEM! I snagged A Twist of Faith when it was a Kindle freebie a while back, so I'll have to give it a read.

    4. HAHA!! Me too, Becky!! I have a few 'fairytale' retellings in my head when I can get a chance to work on them. I love those kind of stories.
      I hope you enjoy A Twist of Faith!!

    5. Sounds fun, Pepper! I hope you get them written--I'll definitely be in line to read them!

  2. I enjoyed reading your review, and I LOVED this book! Now I also want to get out my copy of Austenland and watch it again!

    1. Thanks, Becky! (Great name, by the way!) I'm thinking Austenland just might have to happen tonight :-)

    2. Oh my goodness, I LOVE Austenland!!!

  3. This sounds like a fantastic book! I really enjoyed the review. Thanks for hosting.

  4. YAY for another novel from Pepper. I've heard rave reviews for this one, so I'm curious. Also, the JJ Field reference? I'm SO in. :)

    1. I ended up watching both Austenland and Northanger Abbey after finishing the book :-)


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