Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Thorn Bearer by Pepper Basham

Ashleigh Dougall has a terminal disease and forgiveness is the only cure.

Ashleigh Dougall’s father stole her innocence, her selfish fiancé stole her heart, and unforgiveness is slowly stealing her life.  Drawn by the desire to help others, she tries to escape haunting memories and enlists her services as a nurse in war-torn Europe.  Along with her childhood friend and fiance’s brother, Samuel Miller, the fragile threads holding Ashleigh’s life in place one-by-one begin to snap. From the deck of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of WWI, Ashleigh must choose between forgiveness of the past, life in the present, and a Savior who is willing to help her face them both

I am by no means a very important person when it comes to the world of blogging.  My poor little blog barely registers on any Google search and I think my Adsense has accumulated 9 cents in 3 years.  I say all of that to say this.  When someone tracks me down and asks me to review their book, I’m very skeptical as to why, what would my review offer any author.  My concern turns to doubt over the story if they have no other recourse but to have me issue a review.  Let me tell you something, though, I was dead wrong on this with Pepper Bansham and her novel, “The Thorn Bearer”.  This book was terrific!

Ashleigh has hidden the secret of what happened between her and her father from everyone, but the pain has caused countless struggles in her life.  With a disastrous end to her engagement to Michael, Ashleigh was on her way back to England to assist as a nurse at a local hospital.  The trip across the Atlantic aboard the Lusitania was going to be a struggle of a different kind, as her companion was to be Sam Miller, her best friend and sister’s latest throw away.  Sam is in need of a final response from Ashleigh’s sister, Catherine, on where they relationship stood.  But based on notes from her mother back in England, that relationship was as good as over.  Despite the warnings from Germany over the dangers of sailing into England, the boat sets sail and is within a stone’s throw of land when it is leveled by a couple of torpedo explosions.  As the ship goes down, Ashleigh is separated from Sam as the women and children are loaded onto life boats.  As Ashleigh frantically searches for Sam, she’s in fear of losing the one man who had won her heart.  Can Ashleigh find Sam amidst the turmoil of the ship sinking? Will they finally come clean about their feelings for each other? Will the secret from her past, the one that she can’t forgive, keep her from having a lasting relationship?  Get on the boat and set sail and go BUY THIS BOOK!!!!

Set in the early 1900’s and the early stages of the WWI battles, this book is written with a great emphasis on social customs as well as social norms during that time period.  It’s always interesting to me to see what would have been frowned upon as inappropriate during that time that is almost common place today.  I loved how the author switched between Sam and Ashleigh to provide you with additional insights into thoughts and actions, but not so much to distract from the main storyline.  This story is about forgiveness.  The act of forgiving others and allowing them second chances to make things right, and also forgiving yourself and making a new beginning.

Is this a "Man’s Book"?   This is not my typical genre to read, and I probably would have passed it up on my library shelf if I was looking for something to read.  I will say, though, that this book fascinated me with the way the author worked in biblical truths and principles in the daily lives of the characters.  As much as I wanted to put this book down, I was never able to do it, until I read the final page.  This may not be filled with action and adventure and mind-numbing intrigue, but it is filled with a great story of redemption and forgiveness that everyone needs to read about.


She wrote her first story when she was a nine year- old, freckled-faced tomboy in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Coming from a long line of oral storytellers, weaving a good yarn seemed a typical part of her life.  It wasn't until she finished college, had two children, and a full time job before she began to study the ‘craft’ of writing.

Her music-director turned pastor husband took his first senior pastor position eight years ago, moved the 6 of them to Tennessee, where they added their fifth and final kid to the Basham crew. And now hubby is a music minister in Asheville, NC.



  1. Wow, Rick - not only are you a fast reader, but a fantastic reviewer! Thank you so much for your kind words on this story. I love when a friendly referral turns into a hear-warming experience :-)

    1. Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate the opportunity to read and write up a review.

  2. What a wonderful idea for a blog, Rick! 😉 And what a great review for Pepper's debut novel! ❤️