Historical Fiction Book Review: My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel's Dream


Publisher's Description

"Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is 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 angry parents over 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?"

Click here to purchase a copy of this novel for yourself. 

My Review

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream, by Pepper Basham, is truly one of the loveliest books I have ever read. Achingly beautiful, thoughtful, and uplifting, this remarkable novel holds a story that is everything I need and desire and pursue in literature. With evident warmth and heart, Ms. Basham breathes words onto the page giving life to a story that is as unique as it is unforgettable.  

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream is a novel that offers a unique and touching story of loss, dreams, love, and family. Rustic cabins, steep trails, and wooded hillsides allow the story to grow richly from the landscape of its Appalachian home. Abounding with a soul of its own, this mountainous setting hums with vibrant significance in a story that lingers long after the final word has been read.

Within the pages of this novel, Ms. Basham has cultivated characters who are charming, captivating, authentic, and brave. Their convictions, their needs, and their goals are wholly believable and inspiring. The opportunities, the choices, and the trials that the characters endure are intricately developed, and from them there unfolds a story that is thoroughly enriching and endearing. 

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream is a novel that artfully balances hope and despair, perseverance and struggle, and faithfulness and uncertainty. The development of these themes is significantly strengthened and uplifted by meaningful moments of grace and gentle reminders that hope, restoration, healing, and reconciliation are made possible through God’s mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love.

I truly cannot write enough kind words about this book. As a reader, I long to learn, to be challenged, to be comforted, to be entertained, and to be inspired. My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream is a book that easily satisfies each of those desires leaving me with a deep appreciation for how truly talented Ms. Basham is as a writer and storyteller. This is a book that I will gladly share with others and reread often. It is with a full and thankful heart that I sincerely recommend this novel to all readers everywhere.

*I was given a copy of this book by the publisher/author. A review was not required. The review I have written contains opinions that are entirely my own.

My Reflection

When fiction can make us explore our own hearts, our own motivations, and our own insecurities, it is an incredibly marvelous thing. When fiction can nurture positive change, then written words become something profound and meaningful. My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream is a novel that explores the tensions that arise when long held traditions of culture, customs, and beliefs clash with new ideas and practices that are foreign and unknown. This story reveals how a humble heart willing to listen and to learn makes it possible to identify and nurture a common ground where roots of acceptance and appreciation can grow. This novel reminds us that assumptions can be dangerous, empathy is life-changing, and beauty can be found in unexpected places for those who are willing not only to look, but also to see. 

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. In December 2016, her third historical in the Penned in Time series, The Thorn Healer - released with a 4 1/2 star review from RT and a Top Picks rating. You can get to know Pepper on her website, www.pepperdbasham.com, on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer's Alley." --Biography from Pepper Basham's author page on Amazon.com.


  1. Elisabeth!! This was BEAUTIFUL!! I am crying. I'm so glad God used this story of paper and ink to touch your heart in such a real way, just as God's used your words to touch mine. THANK YOU!!!

    1. A beautiful story like yours deserves nothing less than the most beautiful reviews. Thank you for writing stories and sharing them with readers.


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