16 April 2017

Lighthearted Humor & Heartwarming Depth | Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham


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?


I’m quickly learning that a novel by Pepper Basham does not disappoint. Last year, reading The Thorn Healer made me fall in love with her historical fiction, and now, Just the Way You Are proves to me that she is just as capable with contemporary fiction. With an excellent combination of lighthearted humor and heartwarming depth, Just the Way You Are is one new release that romance readers should be sure to read.

The main characters of Just the Way You Are, American single mother Eisley Barrett and British actor Wes Harrison, make an unlikely yet understandable pair—with great chemistry and friendship potential. They each move through the story with realistic reactions and emotions, flaws and challenges, and I easily liked, loved, and cheered for both Eisley and Wes. (Plus, their romantic moments are so wonderfully swoon-worthy.) Their story is dramatic and fun, full of faith, family, and second chances, and an absolute pleasure to read.


Thanks to Celebrate Lit, I received a complimentary copy of Just the Way You Are 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.


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.


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.


To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a Grand Prize consisting of:

A ‘Chest’ – in JTWYA, historical letters are discovered in a chest that relates to the historical storyline, so all of these lovely goodies are going to be safely inside this chest.

Chocolate – several references take place in JTWYA that compare the hero to chocolate. 😉

A Plaque About Family – because that’s a main point of importance in JTWYA.

A Spider-Man Zipper Pull – Pete, the heroine’s son, is a major Spider-man fan.

English Breakfast Tea – The hero is English…swoony English.

A Dishcloth – again, something that relates to a scene in the book regarding the hero and dishes (twice).

Stirring Spoon and Measuring Cups – food and cooking are a big part of Appalachian culture and fellowship, something celebrated in JTWYA.

A Notebook – Eisley (the heroine) is taking notes about a historical family mystery.

A Lovely Container Full of Cloth Flowers – for fun and beauty. The container says, "Love and you will be loved. Loving others has an amazing way to find its way back to us" (as is what happens in JTWYA).

A Little Plaque That Reads “You Are Loved” – a theme of this story.

A Beautiful Lace Doily From England – for the English part of the story.

Some “Pixie Dust” – a fun visualization of the ‘magic’ of romance in this story.

And a copy of Just the Way You Are!!

Click here to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!



  1. Hallie!!!! Happy Easter!!!
    Thank you so much for this fantastic review!!! I'm SOOOOO glad you enjoyed JTWYA (and The Thorn Healer!!)

  2. I really enjoyed your review and the guest post. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Happy Resurrection Sunday!! LOVE reading these reviews and seeing people enjoying this wonderful book!