Just The Way You Are (Pepper Basham) – Review


5 stars

~ About the Book ~

Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her heart a very different type of discovery.

Wes Harrison has a past he’s ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he’s managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.

When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?

Humor, love, mystery, cute kids, crazy families, and culture clashes make this Britallachian Romance a unique and delightful romantic comedy sprinkled with adventure.

~ Excerpt ~

“So, are you ready for this dance?”
She shook her head, palms splayed in the air. “No, Wes. I only agreed so we could get away from Lady MacBarry. It’s not a good idea for me to dance with you. With anyone. In fact, I can’t.”
He captured her wrist in a light hold, lingering a moment in the tempting trace of mint accompanying her. Perhaps the dance would prove her duplicity? Surely she wouldn’t flounder if it was all a game. “One little dance? You’ve already agreed to it, you know. One try won’t hurt.”
“There are some things in life that really aren’t worth trying. Not even once. One is sky diving. The other is giving a pack of bubble gum to a two-year-old.” She looked out over the ballroom, worry lines deepening. “I’m pretty sure dancing with me might be a third.”
A hunch, or perhaps his spirit, nudged him to toss aside his fear. See her as the person she portrayed, true and genuine. In fact, he almost needed to believe it. “I’ll guide you.”
She studied him for a full fifteen seconds as if measuring his sincerity as much as he was hers, then a timid light flickered in her eyes. Faith. In him. His chest expanded with purpose.
“I won’t let you fall, Eisley.”
“Are you sure you want to risk these”—she pointed to the black heels on her feet—”chopping off a few of your toes?”
“I have ten of them and they are at your disposal. You may bruise them all you like, but I ought to warn you.” He leaned close and glanced down at his open palm in invitation. “I’m a very good teacher.”
Her eyes grew as wide as a two pence, hand paused in the air as if she wouldn’t commit. He forced every ounce of confidence into his expression. Why did helping her somehow feed the wounded man inside of him?
She stared at his outstretched hand, bottom lip caught between her teeth. His airway tightened. He’d wait for five minutes, palm outstretched like a beggar, if she’d agree. For some reason, his faith depended on it. Faith in the new man he wanted to be.
She put him out of his misery soon enough. Her hand slid into his and a sudden calm fell over him. Like the final cut to a movie. He led her to the middle of the room and placed his hand to her waist.
She dutifully cupped her left palm on his shoulder, clasped her right hand in his, and raised an eyebrow in challenge. “Ready or not?”
His grin spread wide and the dance began.

~ Review ~

I have so much love for this book! The story, the setting, the characters, the kisses(!!!), the humour, the theme of grace and second chances—have I missed anything out?

From the moment Eisley Barrett trips and exclaims, “Gracious sakes! I’ve squished a grandpa!” (that’s page one, by the way) I was completely, utterly, and platonically in love with this heroine. She’s refreshingly genuine and unpretentious, able to laugh at herself, and in need of a decent boost of self-confidence thanks to having been divorced by her unfaithful husband.

Wes Harrison is serious swooning material, particularly once Eisley begins to crack his cynical shell. He would surely melt the hardest of hearts, let alone Eisley’s compassionate one. I mean, what woman wouldn’t be turned to putty after a declaration like this: “I want to do much more than make your pulse race. I want your friendship and your confidence. I want to make you laugh and be your best secret-keeper. I want to capture your heart.

However, both of these characters have baggage from their pasts. And that makes them hesitant. The beautiful thing about this story is that their hesitance makes them cautious, but doesn’t ultimately hold them back. Instead, it pushes them on to step out in faith and trust God, to both give and accept grace when they stumble, and particularly in Wes’s case, to live the truth that he has become a new creation in Christ.

I loved the beautiful (and sometimes humorous) family dynamics with both Wes’s family and Eisley’s. And the mystery of what happened to Eisley’s ancestor provides a great background for exploring the beautiful English countryside, and centuries-old tunnels and towers. What an atmosphere!

Everything this novel promises to deliver is there in spades. It’s delightful, heartfelt, swoony, and . . . well, a pretty perfect sit-back-and-enjoy kind of read, actually.

I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review.

Release date:  6 April 2017
Pages:  315
Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  Goodreads

~ About the Author ~

Pepperquilt-300x200Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, releases in April 2016.You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, or Instagram

~ Giveaway ~


To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a Grand Prize consisting of:
A ‘chest’ – in JTWYA historical letters are discovered in a chest that relates to the historical storyline, so all of these lovely goodies are going to be safely inside this chest.

Chocolate – several references take place in JTWYA that compare the hero to chocolate 😉

A plaque about family – because that’s a main point of importance in JTWYA

A Spider-man zipper pull – Pete, the heroine’s son, is a major Spider-man fan.

English Breakfast Tea – The hero is English…swoony English

A dishcloth – again, something that relates to a scene in the book regarding the hero and dishes (twice)

Stirring spoon and measuring cups – food and cooking are a big part of Appalachian culture and fellowship, something celebrated in JTWYA

A notebook – Eisley (the heroine) is taking notes about a historical family mystery

A lovely container full of cloth flowers (for fun, and beauty) – the container says – Love and you will be loved. Loving others has an amazing way to find its way back to us (as is what happens in JTWYA)

A little plaque that reads “You are Loved” – a theme of this story

A beautiful lace doily from England (the English part of the story)

Some “Pixie Dust” a fun visualization of the ‘magic’ of romance in this story

and A copy of Just the Way You Are!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b3e0

~ Blog Stops ~

April 6: Reading Is My SuperPower // cherylbbookblog // Fiction Aficionado

April 7: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader // Smiling Book Reviews // Singing Librarian Books

April 8: Bookworm Mama // my site/autism mom

April 9: Quiet Quilter // Inklings and notions

April 10: Faithfully Bookish // Back Porch Reads

April 11: Robin’s Nest // Christian Chick’s Thoughts

April 12: Blogging With Carol // Just the Write Escape

April 13: Cordially Barbara // Moments Dipped in Ink

April 14: His Grace is Sufficient // A Greater Yes

April 15: Just Commonly // 100 Pages per Hour

April 16: Book by Book // A Baker’s Perspective

April 17: Splashes of Joy // Christian Bookaholic // Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

April 18: Karen Sue Hadley // History Mystery & Faith // Through the Open Window

April 19: Henry Happens // Baker Kella // Daysong Reflections

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Just The Way You Are (Pepper Basham) – Review

  1. Carolyn Tye says:

    I would love to receive the giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pepperbasham says:

    Katie!!! I LOVE THIS!!! Thank you so much!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Winnie Thomas says:

    Great review, Katie!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. lelandandbecky says:

    Such a lovely giveaway, but, more important, such a WONDERFUL book!! I’m with Pepper’s dad: it’s my favorite! I’m so glad that Pepper tried writing romantic comedy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. carylkane says:

    KATIE, this is a FANTASTIC review! I’m so excited to read Pepper’s newest release! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carrie says:

    love this review!! YAY!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bree Herron says:

    Great review! Thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. darla says:

    aww sounds awesome

    Liked by 1 person

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