About the Book
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?
Pepper Basham’s novel is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains during World War I, featuring a British missionary who discovers a whole new world.
When Jonathan Taylor begins his new position as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse, he experiences culture shock, to say the least. Laurel McAdams, who has had a difficult life, tries to help Jonathan navigate skepticism and animosity from the mountain people while fantasizing about escaping to the beautiful places Jonathan mentions.
Basham readily incorporates Bible texts into the plot through the characters’ dialogue. She also uses wit, humor, and local idioms to express her affection for the Appalachian region.
A lot of the writing spoke to me because my family is from the Alabama backwoods, and they, too, have had a hard-scrabble life. They speak and communicate in a unique fashion that is difficult, if not impossible, to understand. They are, however, a passionately loyal, caring group of individuals who will go to great lengths to help you if you are family or have proven your worth if you aren’t family.
From beginning to end, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Basham has an uncanny ability to draw you into a story and keep you there. You’ll find yourself thinking over her book well after you’ve already completed it.
I received this book from NetGalley. However, my review is voluntary, and all opinions are my own.