My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham | Book Review

A British Missionary Meets a Chilly Welcome in a Remote Appalachian Community

This was my first Pepper Basham read, and I have to tell you, it was just as lovely as the writer herself. I had the pleasure of meeting Pepper (in passing) at last year’s American Christian Writer’s Conference.

This multi-talented lady is a speech pathologist by day and I loved seeing how her love of speech and language came into this story. Her love of music was another thing that came through. I loved those bits.

Back Cover

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?

My Review

Laurel’s innocence is a rarity. She’s a simple mountain girl, a girl that takes everything at face value and expects others to do the same.

When they don’t, she’s quick to tell others to speak plain and ‘true’.

Her faith was also amazing. I think it’s because of the innocence she portrays, her faith is simple. Childlike. She walks in forgiveness toward her father who is a drunk 3 months of the year – through the winter only. Laurel chooses to remember the other 9 months, even when those 3 are unbearable.

Which is astounding to Jonathan, the community’s new teacher. He has been rejected by his own father his whole life. He has been led to believe that he has and will always come up short. But as Jonathan watches Laurel walk in forgiveness toward her father, he is challenged.

As for the love story side of this great read, I’m afraid I’ll give spoilers if I say too much! But I loved how these two became friends and they both had dreams. Even as Jonathan felt himself falling in love with Laurel, he chose to put her dream of becoming a teacher first… and his own dream of finishing medical school as well. Friendship was enough.

Until things are taken out of their hands.

A shotgun.

A drunken father…

Okay, that’s enough for spoilers, but I hope it’s enough of a teaser.

I give this book a 4.5 star, so I suppose I’ll have to round up to 5 ;). I can’t wait to read more from Pepper Basham!

“Regret don’t do nothin’ but steal your joy and cloud your eyes from seein’ the blessings.”
– Laurel’s mama, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream

You can purchase your copy at or

Find out more about Pepper Basham on her website, or follow her on social media: The Writer’s AlleyFacebookInstagramPinterest, or Twitter.