Happy Release Day to Pepper Basham! In honor of the release of The Thorn Keeper, I wanted to share my orignal review blog for the book. It is a wonder story, sure to win the fans of romantic fiction, Downton Abbey, and those who love a well told story full of faith and courage.
The Thorn Keeper is Pepper Basham’s outstanding second offering in the Penned in Time series. The story revolves around Catharine McDougall and David Ross, two characters that readers met in The Thorn Bearer (book 1). At the end of The Thorn Bearer Catharine is reaping the outcome of her poor choices with an unexpected pregnancy and no husband. Her reconciliation with her sister Ashleigh has her contemplating the folly of her choices and she finally accepts the grace and forgiveness that only God can give. The reader is left hopeful that Catharine has changed, but remains uncertain as the memory of her sordid past is still fresh in the reader’s mind. I can honestly say that I did not like Catharine’s character in The Thorn Bearer and was not sure of what to expect from The Thorn Keeper.
This second book is intensely character driven and historically engaging. Catharine’s character is remarkable amidst the backdrop of World War 1. She takes responsibility for her actions and works hard to help others; especially those who are beneath her social class. She has a way of drawing you in with her natural grace and beauty, but it is her newly discovered inner beauty, her courageous spirit, and passion for God that makes Catharine, even in her brokenness, truly beautiful and exciting. In the beginning David wavers in his regard for Catharine, with her past so freshly in mind. However, Catharine’s transformation proves itself true no matter the difficulty faced or the risk she takes to do what is right. Once David trusts Catharine, he is amazed by the power that Catharine’s determination and zest for life has over him; balancing his reserved personality, drawing out the best in him.
There is so much attraction between Catharine and David, and Ms. Basham writes this clean, vibrant, and passionate relationship so well. As a reader I felt like I could feel the dynamic energy between Catharine and David and the joy they shared in their love for God. Without giving away too many details, I was so touched reading about David’s recovery and how he fell in love with Catharine for the second time. She is his healing balm from the ravages he experienced on the war front. Passion, beauty, and transformation are the recurring themes on so many levels and this depth has the power to leave the reader breathless and longing for more.
I will also say that many secondary characters endeared themselves to me: Madame Rousell, who easily steps off the pages, deserves a story of her own. Annie and Marianne, who can tell you the Penned in Time stories from a different perspective, are so likable. They both give you hope as they rise above their predicaments when given a second chance. Even David’s sister, Jessica, who always seems practical, strong, and fiercely protective, shows her vulnerability towards the end of the story; she’s a woman who has perhaps seen too many horrors and recognizes her need for shelter and healing in God’s grace. I look forward to reading Jessica’s story in book 3.
I received this ebook edition in exchange for an honest review. This is the kind of book I will want to read over and over until my romantic heart is content. There are inspiring quotes and scenes to make you laugh, cry, and swoon – I rarely buy a book in ebook and hard copy, but I will have to make an exception in this case.
Oh! I do have one final request of the author. Ms. Basham, please write a short story about Ashleigh and Sam’s wedding! Your readers have waited too long for this special event. Somehow it was lost in the pages of The Thorn Keeper and it deserves a sweet revealing, much like you did for Catharine and David.