My Thoughts 

Where do I even begin to unpack everything I thought about the story?

I came across several nuggets of relative thought in regards to our Christian walk, how we view people, and what we tend to get wrong. It’s so easy to live in our own little bubbles when we don’t interact with the community we forget how to walk like Christ and treat people with his love and kindness. In every single sub plot of this book, scriptural Christ likeness was taught or on display. It was beautiful.

Now, let’s talk about some of these characters.

Granny Burcham was a Spitfire of a woman and I loved reading any time her character came into the picture. She reminded me a lot of my maternal grandmother. She was sassy and had no problem telling you where you stood.

Willow’s story made me sob. Probably more because of my experience with women who have suffered this kind of trauma.

Caroline McAdams is a woman that many women could take a moment to evaluate to see her faith in the middle of the chaos that is her marriage. She sees her husband for what he is and loves him in spite of it all. You know women like her are praying hard every day for their husbands.

Jeb McAdams was also a wonderfully well written character. The highs and lows of his emotions or relatable to anyone who suffers from PTSD. The second guessing your sanity and whether or not you’re good enough for the rest of the world is some thing that people like Jeb deal with on a regular basis. And he’s reluctant affections for Cora will make any reader smile As he tries to sort out exactly how he feels about the flatlander.

Cora Taylor it’s a beautiful person inside and out Who is justice damaged as Jeb but is willing to do better, and be better, than she was before. I felt her heart for wanting to help others less fortunate than her. Her eagerness to use her talents was enlightening and encouraging.

If you can’t tell, I loved this book – and it’s not just because I have read almost every single one of this authors books. There is no doubt about it, I am a Pepper Basham fan, but I’m also a fan of this story. The gritty realities of life after war, the taboo behaviors of the mountain people, and the breathtaking scenery matched with beautiful love stories just wrapped this book in a perfect little bow for all to enjoy.

** I was given a copy of this book from the publisher through CelebrateLit Publiclies. All views expressed restrictly my own and given freely.

About the Book

Book: The Heart of the Mountains

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance

Release date: July 1, 2022

Can their hearts overcome the darkness of the mountains?

To escape a forced marriage, Cora Taylor travels from England to the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of her brother, who is working as a teacher in a mission school. She hopes to find a place where her nursing skills and independent ideas will be accepted and appreciated, but nothing prepares her for the wild mixture of isolation, community, brokenness, and hope within these mountains…or in the person of Jeb McAdams.

Returning from the devastation of World War 1 emotionally damaged, Jeb McAdams struggles against the rampant mountain alcoholism to soothe his nightmares. It’s easy to hide within the mountains, or it was, before Cora Taylor arrived. Now, she seems to show up at every turn, bringing her modern ideas, curiosity, and beautiful eyes with her.

Bound by their shared war history, the pair develop an unlikely friendship, which unexpectedly hints to something more. But when Cora’s desire to help the women of the mountains crosses an unspoken line, will Jeb be able to protect this feisty flatlander from the wrath of the mountain men or will he end up losing much more than his heart?


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

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 historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, 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.

You can learn more about Pepper at her website or connect with her on FB, IG, or Twitter.


More from Pepper

It’s so interesting how one idea can influence an entire series, or…how one person’s story can.

The idea for The Heart of the Mountains started in Laurel’s Dream with a hint of a family history story about a girl named Kizzie. (Someday, I hope to bring Kizzie’s story to the pages of a book). From there, the idea began to grow out of a love for my Appalachian culture into a series of books which highlighted (and fictionalized) stories from my family history.


The main story in The Heart of the Mountains is about Jeb and Cora, two different people with similar servant hearts, but the secondary story that touched me so much was the one based on my great grandfather’s life. I write about it in the Author’s Note at the end of the novel, so I won’t go into detail about it. However, what I loved getting to do is bring the truth of God’s redemption in my great grandfather’s life…to life again.


I never knew “Papa Rat”. I only knew the stories handed down to me by my granny and my mama, but in writing this story, I feel as though I had a tiny opportunity to “meet” him in these pages. He was a gruff mountain man with a broken past which led him to make a whole lot of broken choices, but his story is incredibly encouraging because it points to the God of broken people. My great-grandpa wasn’t left in his brokenness, but, after years of running away from God, he would later recount that God pursued him. The beauty of Sam McAdams’ journey in The Heart of the Mountains is only a little glimpse into what I imagine my great grandpa’s redemption story looked like.


Because my great-grandpa was forever changed when Jesus saved him (as any of us should be).

I think that’s what my granny and her siblings (and even “Papa Rat” himself) would want most -that his story would point to Jesus. I hope that’s what you see when you read about Sam McAdams in The Heart of the Mountains.


Have you ever read a book based on family history? One of my favorites is Catherine Marshall’s Christy.

Blog Stops

Bizwings Blog, July 28

Rachael’s Inkwell, July 28

Bigreadersite, July 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 29

Texas Book-aholic, July 29

Inklings and notions, July 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 30

Boondock Ramblings, July 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 31

Reading With Emily, July 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 31 (Author Interview)

lakesidelivingsite, August 1

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 1

Daysong Reflections, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Live. Love. Read., August 2

Betti Mace, August 3

Book Looks by Lisa, August 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 3

Remembrancy, August 4

For Him and My Family, August 4

Blossoms and Blessings, August 4

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 5

By the Book, August 5

Wishful Endings, August 5

For the Love of Literature, August 6

Books, Books and More Books, August 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 6

Connie’s History Classroom, August 7

SodbusterLiving, August 7

Splashes of Joy, August 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 8

Back Porch Reads, August 9

Through the Fire Blogs, August 9

Pause for Tales, August 9

Labor Not in Vain, August 10

Miriam Jacob, August 10

To Everything There Is A Season, August 10


To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e- gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


  1. pepperbasham

    AHHHHH!!!! Thank you SO MUCH for this review!! WOW!! So thoughtful!!

    • MelissaWardwell

      It was most deserved.

  2. debbiejpruss

    Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

  3. Debbie P

    This book sounds like a very good read.

  4. Becky Lewis

    Beautiful review for a stunning book!!

  5. Marisela Zuniga

    i enjoyed your review, thanks for sharing

  6. bn100

    Nice cover

  7. Roxanne C.

    Thank your for your wonderful review, Melissa. I truly look forward to reading this inspirational but realistic story set in Appalachia.

  8. carylkane

    Melissa, Thank you for sharing your excellent review! Pepper Basham is an exceptional author.