Thursday 9 February 2017

Book Review: The Thorn Healer by Pepper Basham


Jessica Ross’ scars run much deeper than the wounds of a world at war. Determined to escape the ghosts of her past and the German influence on her nightmares, she returns home to the sleepy Appalachian town of Hot Springs, NC, only to find the renowned Mountain Park Hotel has been converted into a ‘prison’ for displaced Germans and, much to Jessica’s dismay, her grandparents have befriended one of them.

August Reinhold has not only found kinship with Jessica’s grandparents, but as they share their granddaughter’s letters from the Front, he discovers a surprising bond drawing him toward the independent and beautiful woman. Displaced by a war and a painful history, he find Hot Springs and the intriguing, Jessica Ross, a tempting place to start over. Determined to scale the heights of her bitterness and show her the power of love, August faces more than just Jessica’s resistance, but a more devious design to harm the civilian sailors housed in Hot Springs.

Will August’s tender pursuit show Jessica the healing and hope she needs, or will bitterness force her into the hands of a ‘true’ enemy waiting to destroy much more than her heart?

My Review

This is my first Pepper Basham novel and I'm certain it won't be my last. The Thorn Healer is a beautiful love story and demonstrates the power love has to bring healing of past hurts and misconceptions.

The story's two lead characters: Jessica Ross and August Reinhold are wonderfully complex characters who frankly I'd like to meet. Jessica, a nurse, returns home from war suffering from the trauma of ministering to the injured, seeing many die and also being abused by a German officer whom she had trusted. Enter August, a fine upstanding gentleman of German descent who happens to have been stationed with his unit in the sleepy Appalachian town of Hot Springs. He is working as an assistant to Jessica's grandfather who is a doctor. August had already acquainted himself with Jessica via the letters she sent her grandparents and had fallen hard for her.

Basham does an excellent job weaving Jessica and Augusts’ stories together and allowing Jessica to work through her trauma and prejudice against Germans before any romance is able to commence. An excellent support cast adds depth to both of their characters, in particular, Jessica's grandparents and cousin, and August's sister. We see a lovely story of faith and God's love: Jessica as a result of her experiences doubts His goodness but through August and her grandparents we see how one's faith can be renewed and restored.

We also receive a birds-eye view of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains and the quaint township as the story and romance unfolds.

Highly recommended especially for you lovers of romance novels.

PS. This is the third in a series and I don’t believe my not having read the earlier two impacted my enjoyment of this novel.

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. I've got a couple of Pepper Basham novels on my to-read list, including the first in this series (I do like to read in order!).

  2. Me too, Iola. I think the series revolves around different family members, each novel featuring a different one as the lead. So I think the ones that featured in the 2nd novel made an appearance in this one but I don't feel I missed out on not having met them previously.

  3. Ian, great review! This book is in my Kindle tbr queue. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. :)

  4. Ian, thanks so much for sharing this!!! I'm thrilled you loved this story!! (and I LOVED getting to meet you!!!))


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