14 December 2016

The Thorn Healer by Pepper D. Basham

About the Book
Goodreads | Amazon
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?

The Thorn Healer is a first book to introduce me to Pepper Basham’s writing and storytelling, and—let me tell you—it beautifully showcases her abilities. As Basham explores the story of Jessica and August, she includes a whole array of heart-tugging emotions, which helped to pull my imagination entirely into the post-WWI Appalachian-town world and keep me engaging with the characters. From start to finish, she had me hooked with The Thorn Healer, and I absolutely loved it. An exquisite read full of history, romance, and most important of all, faith, this third (but able to stand alone) Penned in Time novel is a book any lover of historical fiction should read. I highly recommend it! (Now, I have to go read everything else by Basham…)

Thanks to Singing Librarian Book Tours, I received a copy of The Thorn Healer and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

About 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. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader's Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and a finalist in ACFW’s Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. You can get to know Pepper on her website, Facebook, Instagram, or over at her group blog, The Writer's Alley.
Author Interview
1. What do you want readers to take away from reading The Thorn Healer?
The Thorn Healer is really a book of hope – hope for healing, in particular, and peace. Life is not easy. It’s a broken place filled with broken people who all need to know there’s a love much bigger than our suffering – a Savior who can mend our brokenness in a way nothing else can.

2. Do you ever travel for research?
Oh YES! I would at every chance I could get if I had the money. In this case, the setting for TTH is only an hour away from my house, so I did get to travel to Hot Springs for my research.

3. What type of research did you do to write the Penned in Time series?
Lots of reading! I have several books, both fiction and non-fiction, related to the history of this little town in Western North Carolina’s history, but I also did lots of interviews with people in Hot Springs as well as the authors of some of the research books. Of course, using the same time period as the previous two books in the series helped with basic information and also being a product of the Blue Ridge Mountains helped with culture.

4. I know you have a season pass to the Biltmore. What makes you love the Biltmore so much?
Oh goodness, I’ll share pics of the Biltmore ANY TIME! :) There is something truly magical about being able to step back into time in a place that celebrates such time-travel. Not only is the Biltmore beautiful and a surprising find in these Blue Ridge Mountains, but it also holds a unique and heartwarming story about a couple who truly touched the lives of the Appalachian people in this community – something very close to my heart.

​5. What are you currently reading? What drew you to or inspired you to read this book?
I’m actually reading two books for two reasons. I’m reading Such a Hope by Sondra Kraak and I’m also reading my crit partner’s, Amy Leigh Simpson, newest book. Sondra’s I’m reading to influence, and such a great, brooding hero! Amy’s I’m reading for fun – and wowzah! GREAT romance and suspense – as usual. She does such snappy and fun dialogue.

6. When you are not writing or working as a Speech Language Pathologist, what do you like to do?
Hang out with my kids! I also enjoy spending time in the mountains, walking and looking at the amazing scenery. Research is super-fun too. And, of course, I read. :)

Author's Top 10 Favorites
1. Holiday - Christmas
2. Cookie – Preacher Cookies (aka chocolate/oatmeal no bakes)
3. Date option – Nice dinner and then the local bookstore…maybe ending with a stroll through the park or drive through the mountains
4. Tea – sweet, warm or cool
5. Vacation location – UK….EVERY time!
6. Animal – wolf, followed quickly by labs
7. Scripture – (One of my favorites) Ephesians 3:14-19
8. Chocolate – ALL, but I guess my favorite is dark
9. Restaurant – I really like Carrabas, but I’m open for a new favorite
10. Book genre – romance…all kinds

Behind-the-Scenes Facts About the Book
1. Jessica was an EXTREMELY difficult character to write, from beginning to end. I think it was a personality trait for her ;-)
2. I had not planned on Anna showing up in this story…or Cliff – but I’m so glad they appeared.
3. Hot Springs is a real place that had a real German internment camp during World War I (not II).
4. The author of the book The German Invasion of Hot Springs was an amazing resource for history into both Hot Springs AND the internment camp.
5. A little historical tidbit here – many of the people in Hot Springs didn’t know about the existence of the internment camp because everyone stopped talking about it when World War II broke out. They were ashamed of their involvement in having Germans in their town.
6. There is still one artifact left in Hot Springs of the Germans presence there – but only one – except for any personal artifacts family members have passed down (a painting is one I know of).
7. The Hot Springs in the town are still active and people still come to use them, though the site is NOTHING like the grandeur and elegance of the former hotel that used to stand on the site.
8. In history, nobody knows who started the typhoid epidemic that takes place in the book.
9. I created Sylvie to go with Jude so I could write a World War II romance of them. ;-)
10. There’s a funny story to the cover design. The stock photo of the woman used is of a woman in a strapless wedding gown…neither of which was appropriate for the era OR my heroine. So…we had to decide on a ‘romantic’ way to cover those shoulders….thus the train smoke emerged.

Snippet From The Thorn Healer
​He’d learned hard lessons on patience—lessons, no doubt, she’d push to the edge if his first few days with her proved typical. But he’d found his home in Hot Springs. He’d never known what it meant to belong somewhere until he’d run to the assistance of Dr. Carter when a woman collapsed at the train depot a few months after his arrival to the camp. From that moment, the gentleness and forbearance, the trust, offered by Dr. and Mrs. Carter began the long and sweet healing August’s heart needed.

A place of belonging.

And Jessica’s entrance, along with the three-inch block of resentment on her shoulder, threatened to wedge distance between August and his beloved Carters. If nothing else, he had to win her indifference, but he wanted much more.

“You have had a busy entrance, no?”

She slid him a glance from her periphery and continued moving forward without a response.

“It must be difficult returning after so long. Much has changed for you but stayed the same for your small town.”

Her sudden exhalation of air broke the quiet and she shot him a heated look. “My small town hasn’t stayed the same from where I’m standing, Mr. Reinhold. The flood. The camp.” She focused ahead. “Not the same at all.”

“The spirit of your town is the same. Kind people, like your grandparents, and the beauty of the —”

“You need to understand something.” She stopped on the trail, her palms planted on her hips as she turned the full brunt of her fiery gaze on him. “We are not going to be friends.”

He combatted her statement with a shrug. “I am an optimist.”

She groaned and resumed her frantic pace up the hillside, slowed only by the limp in her stride. Silence moved between them like a wall. August glanced up at the afternoon sky, awash with a mixture of clouds and sun. He had to return to camp by dusk or he would endanger the freedom his good name allowed.

“Just because you think you know my grandparents doesn't mean you know me.” Jessica’s words erupted in a harsh whisper, fueling her steps to an even faster rhythm.

He kept the pace. “No. But knowing the kindness and the welcome from your grandparents has made me wish to know you as well. They assure me you can be kind.”

She turned the power of those emerald eyes on him, her mouth dropped wide. “Of course I can be kind. I’m a nurse, for heaven sakes.”

“I would not see the two as related.” August shoved his hands in his pockets, holding his grin in check. At least he had her talking. “Nurses have always brought needles and stings to me.”

Her brow tilted skyward. “Perhaps you deserved the needles and stings.”

The grip on his smile loosed completely. “No doubt, Nurse Ross. No doubt.”

Her gaze hesitated in his before she jerked her attention back to the path ahead and tightened her jaw into a line of defense. The fiery glint in those large eyes fascinated him. He knew the gentleness and longing braided through her letters, the dry humor and compassion infused onto the pages. But those eyes added a dimension of depth he’d failed to anticipate. Fascinating. Challenging.

Tour Schedule
​December 5: Bookworm Mamacherylbbookblog
December 6: Bibliophile Reviews
December 9: Smiling Book Reviews
​December 12: Cherry Drop Princess
December 14: Book by Book
December 15: Cordially Barbara
​December 16: The Green Mockingbird


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1 comment:

  1. Hallie,
    Thanks so much for taking a chance on a new author! I'm so glad you enjoyed August and Jessica's story. It was a wonderful discovery to write.


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