December 8, 2016

Review: The Thorn Healer by Pepper Basham {Blog Tour + Giveaway}


Hello, my lovelies! I am so excited to chat about this delightful story with you today. I had the privilege of meeting Ms. Basham back in August and to say it was an honor would be putting it mildly. I fangirled all over her about Catherine from The Thorn Keeper! And she was gracious enough not to mind. (She may have done a little fangirling with me actually. ;) After thoroughly enjoying her first two books in this series, when the opportunity came to read this final story in the trilogy I could not pass it up. So read on for all the details and happy gushing about to ensue! :)


  1. Jessica was an EXTREMELY difficult character to write, from beginning to end. I think it was a personality trait for her. ;-)
  2. I had not planned on Anna showing up in this story…or Cliff – but I’m so glad they appeared.
  3. Hot Springs is a real place that had a real German internment camp during World War 1 (not 2).
  4. The author of the book The German Invasion of Hot Springs was an amazing resource for history into both Hot Springs AND the internment camp.
  5. A little historical tidbit here – many of the people in Hot Springs didn’t know about the existence of the internment camp because everyone stopped talking about it when World War 2 broke out. They were ashamed of their involvement in having Germans in their town.
  6. There is still one artifact left in Hot Springs of the Germans presence there – but only one – except for any personal artifacts family members have passed down (a painting is one I know of).
  7. The Hot Springs in the town are still active and people still come to use them, though the site is NOTHING like the grandeur and elegance of the former hotel that used to stand on the site.
  8. In history, nobody knows who started the typhoid epidemic that takes place in the book.
  9. I created Sylvie to go with Jude, so I could write a World War 2 romance of them. ;-)
  10. There’s a funny story to the cover design. The stock photo of the woman used is of a woman in a strapless wedding gown…neither of which was appropriate for the era OR my heroine. So…we had to decide on a ‘romantic’ way to cover those shoulders….thus the train smoke emerged.


Oh friends, Pepper Basham has done it again! She has swept me away into the post-WW1 era and captivated me from the first page to the last. How does she do it?? I don't know, but it makes me happy! :) One thing that becomes fairly obvious pretty quickly (with any of her books) is the fact that Ms. Basham has done a tremendous amount of research. All these little tidbits that happen or certain scenes I think were probably just from her imagination turn out to be true! There is so much fascinating history out there that I didn't know anything about. And she knows just how to place them in her story to make the biggest impact, so they're unforgettable! She's talented, I tell you.

So let's start with the characters. I admit to being a tad anxious about whether I was going to be able to connect with Jessica. From the first two books, I knew she tended to be a lot slightly abrasive and fierce. In fact, I struggled to like her at all in book two, she simply came across as hardened and had so many walls up that I couldn't see beyond them. I should have known to trust her creator though, because I ended up really liking her by the end! It just takes a while for her walls to come down and really, who can blame her? Even as I searched for breaks in those walls, once I realized what was causing them I was able to feel more compassion for her. Unlike Catherine (from The Thorn Keeper) who I connected with immediately, Jessica merely took a bit longer. Those walls were concrete. And thick. And all I had to go on were the things that those who loved her said about how she used to be. Plus, now that I think on it, she had a strike against her simply for being so horrible to my beloved Catherine for so much of book two. (What can I say? I really love Catherine.) Anyhoo! Point is, as her walls fell, so did mine and it wasn't long before I was rooting for her to find healing and peace.

And August! Oh my heart, it did not take long at all for me to fall for that man. (As Ms. Basham calls him, swoony August. Truer words! ;) Somehow he had the ability to see beyond Jessica's walls to her sweet and compassionate heart. His heart was ever clear to see and I loved that about him! His kindness and gentle way of treating everyone, regardless of how they treat him, is one of my favorite traits of his. It's no wonder he was able to break through to Jess! He is a true gentleman in every sense of the word. His patience with her and her many scars, his sweetness with Sylvie and Anna, and oh pretty much everything about him! He is the perfect foil for Jess and watching him gently and persistently woo her to his side is gloriously swoony. Yet never doubt that inside him beats a heart of fierce steadfastness! When it comes to doing the right thing in face of harsh circumstances, and especially if those circumstances could hurt those he loves, he will battle as needed. He's just more of a "quiet fighter" most of the time.

I loved watching both of these characters fight their way to a happy future. Their journey is certainly not easy, but oh so rewarding when they finally get there. The hope that permeates every single page makes this a beautiful story of grace and any bit of happy is hard-won, even from the wonderful side characters. (I personally really loved Cliff and Anna especially! :) And per Ms. Basham's usual, there are twists I was so not prepared for, yet her ability to draw me into her story so far that I struggle to come back to real life again is exceptional! I can but applaud her skills and only dream of writing so excellently myself because she goes far beyond the shallow romance here, there are depths of insight to be searched out if you'll only begin with chapter one. Trust me, friends! It's worth it. SO worth it. :)

**I received a complimentary copy via Singing Librarian Books. All opinions expressed are my own.


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. You can get to know Pepper on her website, Facebook, Instagram, or over at her group blog, The Writer's Alley.


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December 6--Bibliophile Reviews
December 7--Faithfully Bookish | ​Singing Librarian Books
December 8--Flowers of Quiet Happiness
December 9--Smiling Book Reviews
December 10--Reading Is My SuperPower
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  1. Kara,
    Thanks so much for this beautiful review! Here's an interesting bit of information: Jessica was just as 'tough' to write! Her personality is so different than mine it took a while for me to understand her - which I think is pretty interesting (and VERY much JESSICA :-)
    I'm so glad August came along to show us her beautiful heart.

    1. Pepper: You are so welcome! Thank YOU for sharing your beautiful stories with the world! :) That makes sense actually, that she'd be hard to write. But what an excellent job you did! And yes, August was perfect to draw her out. I do heart that man so. :D


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