The Librarian’s Journey

About the Book:

The Librarian's Journey: 4 Historical Romances by [Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Marilyn Turk, Kathleen Y'Barbo]

Title: The Librarian’s Journey
Author: Cynthia Hickey, Patty Smith Hall, Marilyn Turk, Kathleen Y’Barbo
Publisher: Barbour Fiction
Release Date: October 1st, 2021
Genre: Historical Romance

A brave fight for literacy during the Great DepressionFour women set out on horseback to bring the library to remote communities

Part of FDR’s New Deal was the Works Progress Administration, which funded the Pack Horse Library Initiative. Ride along with four book-loving women who bravely fight for literacy in remote communities during the Great Depression by carrying library books via horseback. Will their efforts be rewarded by finding love in the process?

Love’s Turning Page by Cynthia Hickey
1935, Ozark Mountains
Grace Billings jumped at the chance to be a traveling librarian, but she didn’t anticipate the long days of work, the intense poverty, or the handsome new schoolteacher whose love for the mountain people surpasses even her own.

For Such a Time by Patty Smith Hall
1936, Pine Mountain, Georgia
Forced out of her nursing job due to budget cuts, Ruth Sims applies for a position with the Pack Horse Library incentive, only to discover she must go to the one place she swore never to return. The children instantly steal her heart with their thirst for books, and she’s happy in her post until she meets their teacher, Will Munroe—the man who broke her heart. 

Book Lady of the Bayou by Marilyn Turk
1936, Mississippi
Forced out of her comfort zone, Lily Bee Davis travels by horse or boat taking books to remote areas. When she meets little Evie and her reclusive father at a dilapidated plantation house, she is drawn by their losses and longs to draw them out into life again. 

Book Review:

A collection of stories about the traveling librarians of the early 1900s, The Librarian’s Journey consists of Love’s Turning Page by Cynthia Hickey, For Such a Time by Patty Smith Hall, Book Lady of the Bayou by Marilyn Turk, and The Librarian and the Lawman by Kathleen Y’Barbo. It is a piece of history that I have never heard of, and I was so excited to read it! I actually saw it through bookstagram which is cool! Each of these stories is about the women’s journey, how they grew and found their place within a difficult and changing world, as well as how they find love. Each story was different, but they were all so enjoyable to read. I mean what bookworm hasn’t thought about being a librarian at one point or another?

Love’s Turning Page by Cynthia Hickey 

Grace and her family live in the Ozark mountains amidst the Great Depression. With a large family, times are tight. When a position as a traveling librarian opens up, Grace jumps at the opportunity. But there are dangers and secrets in the mountains, Grace will need to find help from the local schoolteacher. I really liked Grace and her family. It was fun to see how close they were and how they supported one another. Grace was very relatable, doing her best to work hard and help out her family. I enjoyed reading about all the interesting characters she met along her route too! Anthony was also a sweetheart! He really wanted people to learn and was willing to help. Even though he was also trying to keep his focus on work, he was interested in Grace. They both had to get past what they thought that their futures should look like, especially once their hearts got involved. There were also some suspenseful parts of the story that Grace and Anthony went through, which gave the story a bit more excitement. 

For Such a Time by Patty Smith Hall

Ruth Sims is disappointed to be back in her hometown working as a traveling librarian after losing her nursing position in Atlanta. She feels aimless and adrift. Having to work alongside her one-time fiance doesn’t make it any easier, especially with so much unresolved history. As they seek to aid their community with books and medical care, they also have to re-evaluate their lives and hearts. This one had a little bit of angst. Ruthie and Will were both dealing with past hurts and secrets. Neither was quite where they thought they would be and were adjusting to the changes of their lives. I was a little frustrated with Ruthie because she seemed a bit stuck in what she thought that her life should look like. But it was sweet to watch how her community (and Will!) changed her mind and helped her see that she could have a future there. Will was also very sweet, I loved his family! 

Book Lady of the Bayou by Marilyn Turk

In the bayou of Mississippi, Lily Bee Davis travels to the remote areas by horse and boat to bring books as a traveling librarian. Coming upon a little girl named Evie and her reclusive father in a run-down plantation pulls at her heart, she hopes to help them find life and light again. This one was cute too! I love children and families in stories, so this appealed to me right off the bat. Evie was really cute and she took to Lily so fast. It was really sweet the way that the whole community took to Lily. That was an element that I enjoyed in all of the stories actually, the connections each woman made along her trail. Lily’s grandpa was also such a lovely character, I loved his faith. I also enjoyed how they all grew and went outside of their comfort zones, and found blessings through it.

The Librarian and the Lawman by Kathleen Y’Barbo

Lottie Trent finds more excitement than she expects when she connects with the wife of a backwoods bully and starts carrying messages for her in exchange for the books she carries. But FBI agent Clayton, who is on the trail of a criminal gang is also looking for answers and Lottie might be one of them. I enjoyed the second chance romance in this one, it was really sweet. It is always nice for the couple to have some prior history, it feels like the romance has more to help it move along. This one had more of a suspense element with Clay being an FBI agent and the investigation. It was fun to read about! The characters were really fun to read about, I enjoyed their dynamic. It was cool to read about the FBI back then because it is not something I usually see in historical fiction.

Overall, this was a fun collection! I generally enjoy anthologies and this theme was especially fun! Like I said, I have always had a dream of being a librarian and I liked the community aspect of these stories with the librarian’s trails. I would recommend this to those who enjoy historical fiction with romance and some had a bit of suspense too! This is clean with faith elements.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

The Librarian and the Lawman by Kathleen Y’Barbo
1936, Kentucky
Lottie Trent connects with a backwoods bully’s wife by secretly carrying messages for her in exchange for books. FBI agent Clayton Turnbow is on the trail of a criminal gang and discovers the packhorse librarian maybe a key member. 

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The Mistletoe Countess

About the Book:

Title: The Mistletoe Countess
Author: Pepper Basham
Publisher: Barbour Fiction
Release Date: September 1, 2021
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Will the magic of Christmas bring these two newlyweds closer together, or will the ghosts of the past lead them into a destructive discovery from which not even a Dickens’s Christmas can save them?

Mistletoe is beautiful and dangerous, much like the woman from Lord Frederick’s Percy’s past, so when he turns over a new leaf and arranges to marry for his estate, instead of his heart, he never expects the wrong bride to be the right choice. Gracelynn Ferguson never expected to take her elder sister’s place as a Christmas bride, but when she’s thrust into the choice, she will trust in her faithful novels and overactive imagination to help her not only win Frederick’s heart but also to solve the murder mystery of Havensbrook Hall before the ghosts from Frederick’s past ruin her fairytale future. 

Book Review:

This was so much fun from the start and I am so glad that I got the chance to read it! The Mistletoes Countess is only the second book that I have read by Pepper Basham but I greatly enjoyed this book. This book was so much fun!

Grace was a joy to read about! She was a young girl, but she was so full of life. I liked reading about Grace as she learned how to be the wife of an earl and how to love her husband. She knew that love at first sight wasn’t really real, but she wanted to grow a relationship with her husband. She also wanted to help him find peace from his past. However helping her husband wasn’t without troubles, there were times where Grace felt so alone. But Grace had to learn how to trust that God had a plan for her and rest in his kindness. She had to learn that God would be with her even when she felt alone. 

Frederick was a kind man, but he had grown up with so many doubts. He didn’t know how to believe in himself or really trust those around him. He had fallen so many times. It was sweet to read about Frederick falling in love with Grace and growing more hopeful as he saw the good in her. He wanted to protect his sweet little wife, and help her feel loved. However, Frederick will have to learn what it means to have Grace by his side and protect her, while they fight to uncover the secrets of his home. Frederick will have to learn that sometimes God gives gifts in the most unlikely of places. 

Frederick and Grace had to work together to make their marriage work and protect each other. I was so intrigued by the plot and I didn’t want to put the book down. It had a lovely mix of romance and mystery. I adored the literary easter bunnies in this book. They were a wonderful addition to the story. The side characters were a lot of fun, Blake was such a good friend to Frederick. 

The Mistletoe Countess was a wonderful book and I would definitely recommend it! The characters were engaging and the storyline was so interesting. I can’t wait to see what else Basham writes!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

Hope Between the Pages

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Hope Between the Pages
Series: Doors to the Past
Author: Pepper Basham
Publisher: Barbour Fiction
Release Date: 
April 1st , 2021
Genre: Historical Christian

Uncover the Story Behind a One-Hundred-Year-Old Love Letter

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.

Click here to get your copy!

Book Review:

This was such a complex book and yet I found myself drawn in immediately. I don’t usually read books of this nature with the time splits, but I found it so very interesting. I wasn’t sure how this book would turn out, but it was really good. I had heard great things about Pepper Basham’s writing, so I knew that it would be a good book. Hope Between the Pages is written by Pepper Basham and it is the third book in the multiple author series, Doors to the Past.

It was so interesting to read where the two stories in the book were interconnecting. I really liked how the book was set up. It was easy to follow, and I kept on wanting to turn the pages. Clara and Sadie were such interesting characters, their lives were connected and yet they were years apart.
Sadie was a servant girl who never expected to travel or make a difference in the world. But one surprising visitor changes everything and before she knows it her whole life has been changed. It had seemed like she had found her happiness, but life had a way of disrupting things. Clara was struggling to keep the family bookstore afloat, but when she is unable to find the deed to the bookstore, things go from bad to worse. She finds herself searching for answers regarding her great-grandmother Sadie and Sadie’s story that brought about the bookstore. 

I liked how Sadie and Clara were so similar and yet they were their own persons. They had a lot going around them and at times looked like the world was stacked against them. But they overcame, they pushed on. I really liked both Clara and Sadie’s stories, I wanted to see what would happen and I was shocked by the evil of those around them. 

This was such a great book! I would totally recommend it. It was different then I had expected and yet it was really good. I really enjoyed reading about Sadie as she tried to find her place in life and about Clara as she searched for the bookstore’s deed. I wanted them both to find their happy ending. All in all this was a wonderful book! Hope Between the Pages is a clean, Christian, historical fiction. 

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, I was not required to write a positive review.

PepperBasham

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

More from Pepper

Books are a uniquely portable magic – Stephen King

Appalachia is known for having a high illiteracy rate. A place of beautiful scenery and rugged landscapes, the people of the mountains developed stories through oral storytelling much more than “book learning”.  As a young girl growing up in this world, I loved hearing my granny share tales from up to five generations ago, filling in the narrative gaps between a birth date and a death date on a tombstone – giving flesh and breath to the stone-etched names.

It’s no surprise then, with a heart cultivated from rich oral stories, I fell in love with reading. Books became that “portable magic” that took me places my little Appalachian community couldn’t provide. I fell in love with the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew. Wept through the end of Bridge to Terabithia and Old Yeller. Traveled to the plains with Sarah Plain and Tall and fell in love with horses with The Black Stallion. But when I was in seventh grade, I read my very first “British” novel, The Secret Garden. In that one introduction, my world expanded into mysterious English manor houses and British classics. Before long, I’d consumed Jane Eyre, Austen’s classics, some Dickens, Dracula, Frankenstein…and the list goes on! And then…I found Tolkien and Lewis – and the ‘real’ world swelled into OTHER worlds.

I’m grateful for true stories of book-loving pioneers traveling into the world of Appalachia to provide books and literacy training to “my people”, because I know some of those books made their way to my tiny elementary school library…and not only brought me the chance to discover stories, but to write them too!

Isn’t it amazing how books can do that?

In Hope Between the Pages, I wanted to bring the same awe and discovery I felt as a child (and continue to feel as an adult reader) to the story of two people whose words had seemed small. Stories stretched their worlds, but the stories also gave them wonderful imaginations and positive perspectives. It’s still amazing to me that ink-and-paper words can make such a lasting impact on hearts and minds. They can lead us to dream, teach us new things, encourage our hearts, help us to think outside the box, swell our imaginations, broaden our horizons, and encourage our hope.

Books are not a replacement for real adventures and relationships, but they certainly provide a beautiful “door” into other lives and worlds that we may never have a chance to experience in real life. Sadie, my historical heroine, and Clara, my contemporary heroine, both have kept close to home but traveled greatly through books…and BOTH are given the opportunity to reach beyond the bindings to discover real-life adventures. I’d like to think that their love for stories helped them have the courage to step away from the page and into their own tales even more prepared than they would have been without stories.

What are some of your favorite books you read as a child? Did any of them influence you to become a more avid reader?

Blog Stops

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Books and Everyday Life, April 26

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Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 29

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Kathleen’s Blog, April 30

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Fiction Book Lover, May 1

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A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 2

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 2

Godly Book Reviews, May 2

Mary Hake, May 2

Older & Smarter?, May 3

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Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 4

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads , May 4

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Where Faith and Books Meet , May 5

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Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10b27/hope-between-the-pages-celebration-tour-giveaway