Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Review: "The Thorn Bearer" by Pepper Basham

I've been a fan of Pepper Basham's writing for a while now, and I've heard so many good things about her Penned in Time series ... but I'd never picked the books up ... until now.

(Also, can we talk about how the series title is deceiving? I was 100% sure I was going to be reading a time travel novel because doesn't "Penned in Time" sound like it would have to do with time travel? Instead ... it's a series set in World War I 🙂)

From the decks of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of WW1, Ashleigh must choose between the forgiveness of her past, life in the present, and a Savior who can rescue her from them all.

When her fiancé leaves her eight months before their wedding, the unexpected blow ignites a battalion of insecurities stemming from her father's intimate betrayal. Her worst fears are confirmed - who could ever love a soiled woman? In an attempt to escape the shame and disappointment of her past, Ashleigh boards the ill-fated Lusitania to cross the war-torn waters of Europe. Much to her dismay, she isn't traveling alone.

Sam Miller is always making up for his best friend's mistakes. Determined to help Ashleigh, he offers his compassion and protection as she ventures across a perilous sea. With the faint hope of renewing his lost love for Ashleigh's sister, Sam never expects to find the woman of his dreams in his best friend's former fiancé and his own childhood companion. As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship. When the truth of Ashleigh's past explodes in the middle of war and Sam rejects her, Ashleigh must decide if God is enough - or if the double weight of her betrayal and past will crush her life forever.

What an engaging novel! Honestly, it's hard to believe this is a debut novel, as it's written so well. I found myself immediately swept into Ashleigh's story, and my heart hurt for the pain she'd endured at the hands of her father. I loved watching her relationship with Sam grow (though I did want to give Sam a good shake a time or two), and I found the romance to be completely satisfying.

One of my favorite aspects of this novel is how Basham showed Christ's power to regenerate a life. Both Michael (Ashleigh's former fiance) and Catherine (Ashleigh's sister) completely changed after surrendering to Christ. Honestly, I wasn't sure I'd ever warm up to Catherine—knowing she would be the heroine of book two—but I came to love her by the book's end, and I eagerly dove right into Catherine's story! 4 stars.

Content Note: While nothing is overly explained, Ashleigh is a victim of sexual abuse, and both sexual abuse and promiscuity are mentioned repeatedly. Basham handles everything tastefully, but this wouldn't be a novel for younger teens.

Buy the book. (affiliate link)
Read my reviews of Basham's My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge (4 stars), her Mitchell's Crossroads novels A Twist of Faith (3-1/2 stars), Charming the Troublemaker (4-1/2 stars), and A Match for Emma (5 stars), and her Pleasant Gap novel Just the Way You Are (4 stars).

Pepper Basham

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her most recent historical romance, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, showcases her Appalachian heritage and history, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

Pepper loves getting to know readers and other authors through social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You may also learn more about her on her website at www.pepperdbasham.com

CONNECT WITH PEPPER: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from JustRead Publicity Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. 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."

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