GIVEAWAY, Review, & Author Interview: “Just the Way You Are” by Pepper Basham

Today’s the day I get to tell you all about a recent independent-release contemporary novel: Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham. The best news? Pepper is here for an interview AND an ebook giveaway! This story is equally hilarious and romantic, with a depth that draws you into the lives of the characters in the very first chapter. See my gushing review below. Pepper has been gracious to answer a few of my interview questions and provide the ebook giveaway, so many thanks to her for that treat!

About the Book

just-the-way-you-are-by-pepper-bashamJust the Way You Are by Pepper Basham

Book 1 in the Pleasant Gap Romance series

Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance safely housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her reluctant 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?

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At the heart of any great story lies characters who are likable, relatable, and dynamic. Author Pepper Basham always succeeds in penning her characters as such, with a healthy dose of family and joy. Wes and Eisley are what propel this story from a light and humorous start to an ending with surprising transformation, romance, and depth. Add in the fairy tale-like England trip, family mystery, and pop culture references and you have the perfect witty romance.

Country meets England between to covers of this book, in a “Britallachian” style as Pepper coined, using immersive descriptions and words not familiar to the southern vocabulary. I enjoyed seeing the prevalent clash of cultures in the verbiage alone with thoroughly English words like “nick” contrasted to southern expressions.

Wes is the definition of swoon-worthy. With a haunting past and bright career ahead of him, he’s a walking picture of a changed man that’s been redeemed by grace, trying to please his Heavenly Father and juggle his newfound faith within a challenging world. Eisley is someone you want as your best friend, especially with her crazy family and innate clumsiness. Her independence and spunky personality are a contrast to her own emotional insecurities, which she has to learn to surmount.


This is my FAV quote from the book. It’s so swoony but has even more meaning in context.

Let’s talk about the ROMANCE! (where’s my fan?) Fellow blogger Robin called Pepper the “Queen of Swoony”, and it’s a title well-earned and proven with this story. Wes’s tender pursuit and desire for true friendship, plus the fact that he has no clue how attractive he is to Eisley, combine to make this one of Pepper’s best romances yet. (It’s tied for me with The Thorn Keeper for my fav.) It’s not all chocolate and kisses in centuries-old towers, though, in Just the Way You Are. The romance has a certain maturity to it, a perspective of second chances, that makes it more meaningful. Wes and Eisley are at a point in their lives where they understand of the importance of a deeper friendship, a “gracious heart”-attitude, and this makes the love story all the sweeter.

The way the storyline and characters deal with potential obstacles is a fresh take. It has the requisite insurmountable problems for a modern fairy-tale type story, but the reactions of Wes and Eisley make you cheer them on and step back and think “Yes. This is how to handle it in the real world.” A lesson of “being enough” just as you are because you’re a redeemed, new creation in Christ is a prominent faith thread in this story. I especially liked the family support and encouragement both of them have as they make some important decisions or need advice.

I could go on about more aspects of this story I loved, like the history (and mystery!) threads with long lost letters that tie into the modern story and offer encouragement, the adorableness of Eisley’s kids and how they are so “normal”, or the humor and pop culture references that made me smile (from Pollyanna to Superman to Lucille Ball). Fans of romance, modern-day fairy tales, stories of culture clashes, or humor and faith intertwined will love this start to a new series.

Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel. This is my honest review.

Interview with the Author

Pepper D. Basham

Pepper Basham

Eisley has a big Appalachian family. You have a big Appalachian family, Pepper. Do any members of your real family have similar personalities or share specific characteristics with this fictional one?

Hee hee, well, there are a few who have characteristics like my characters in Just the Way You Are. I think Sophie is a delightful combination of my cousin, Ashley, and my dear, sweet friend writing buddy, Ashley. My parents certainly influenced the Jenkins’ parents – anyone who knows my dad can see him on the page 😉 I think there are fun parts to Greg which remind me of my brother sometimes, but my bro isn’t a flirt – he’s just funny.  Eisley’s three kids were inspired by my oldest three when they were about the ages of Nathan, Pete, and Emily, so lots of the personality traits and…quirks…aren’t fictional 🙂

Please tell us 1″must-see” destination in both England and the Appalachians?

Oh my! That’s SUPER hard! Let me think…I loved LOVED the Peak District in Derbyshire and among the beautiful parts of it is Haddon Hall, the manor house Lornegrave was fashioned after in the novel. I’d LOVE to go back there.

As far as Appalachia? Blue Ridge Mountains? You HAVE to go somewhere with a view! Just getting on the Blue Ridge Parkway will give you loads of opportunities for vistas that just take your breath away. Pisgah National Forest, Roan Mountain, New River Valley…too many to name, but just drive on the Parkway. That’s what I’d suggest (and if you’re ever close to Asheville, you should visit the Biltmore!!)

I agree, the Blue Ridge Parkway itself is beautiful! As is Roan Mountain. The Biltmore is on my travel list, for sure!

Where do you get character name inspiration?

Some just pop into my head but others are chosen for specific reasons. You can get an idea of it here in the video linked below. In The Thorn Bearer I picked Ashleigh’s name very specifically. Her sister Catherine’s name means ‘pure’ and that was on purpose too – as a deeper meaning in the story about how God makes us pure, even when our sin corrupts our hearts and lives.

Do you plan to focus on a specific scripture or spiritual theme before plotting a story?

Hmm…well, most of the time the ‘spiritual theme’ evolves AS I plot. Right now I’m beginning the process of writing book two in the Pleasant Gap series and I know that it’s going to have something to do with Love Healing and Bravery, but I’m not sure how that’s going to work out yet 🙂

The song that keeps coming to my mind as I think about these characters is “Oh how He loves you and me”. *shrug* We’ll see what happens with that 🙂

Also, the old standard “That’s All” (recently performed beautifully by Michael Buble) keeps popping in my head for this pair. 

Thank you so much, Pepper, for taking the time to answer my questions! I’m anxiously excited to hear more about book two AND that other historical romance you have in the works ;).

Pepper has some a-ma-zing “book journey” posts on her website exploring real-life England and Appalachain locations that inspired fictional couterparts in Just the Way You Are and other stories. I recommend checking them out! To learn more about Pepper and her other fictional families, visit her around the web on: GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | AMAZON | WEBSITE



This giveaway is for ONE (1) ebook copy of Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham. It is open internationally, void where prohibited. Giveaway ends 4/28/17 11:59pm CT.

To enter, just comment below with a valid email address and answer one of the questions below. Winner will be contacted by email.

What is your favorite fairytale? Or, what is your dream travel destination?

22 thoughts on “GIVEAWAY, Review, & Author Interview: “Just the Way You Are” by Pepper Basham

  1. Great review and interview! I haven’t heard of this author before either, so it’s good to “meet” someone new. My favorite fairy tale is Cinderella, because of the name!

    • Pepper certainly leaves an impression – both with her stories and her own fun personality! I’m glad you were able to meet her here! Cinderella is one of my favorites (because I can’t pick just 1). Good luck in the giveaway!

  2. Courtney!!! Thank you so much for this amazing review. I loved all of it, but particularly like this paragraph:

    Let’s talk about the ROMANCE! (where’s my fan?) Fellow blogger Robin called Pepper the “Queen of Swoony”, and it’s a title well-earned and proven with this story. Wes’s tender pursuit and desire for true friendship, plus the fact that he has no clue how attractive he is to Eisley, combine to make this one of Pepper’s best romances yet. (It’s tied for me with The Thorn Keeper for my fav.) It’s not all chocolate and kisses in centuries-old towers, though, in Just the Way You Are. The romance has a certain maturity to it, a perspective of second chances, that makes it more meaningful.

    YES YES!! I’m so glad that part came through 🙂

  3. I love seeing all the different ways each of us invites Pepper and her book onto our websites for this blog tour! Such fun!
    Oh my heavens. Hard questions. (Also, I already have Pepper’s eBook so don’t count me for the giveaway. Someone else needs to read this fun book!)
    I think I love Beauty and the Beast most of all because I just love reading, and Belle is all about her books. As to travel destination, I think I’d like to hit up Asia next. 😀

    • I love Beauty and the Beast too. A student and I are reading the original manuscript of it and it’s VERY clear Belle loved her books!

    • I agree, Barbara! It has been so fun to see all of the different posts and tidbits behind the scenes! I hear you about BATB. That library = awesome! And Asia would be a very interesting place to visit. So much history and culture. I’m so glad you dropped by to visit! 🙂

  4. I have always loved Cinderella but I now have a new favorite and it is Snow White. I watched it with my 3 year old granddaughter last night and again today and was so impressed with Snow White’s sweetness and goodness. The animals adored her, six of the dwarfs loved her immediately and she eventually changed Grumpy into her champion and defender. And of course her Prince Charming loved her the most!

    • Hello Connie! Both of those are great stories! I haven’t watched Snow White in a long time. You know, it was the very first Disney animated feature-length film. I remember watching a special on Walt Disney and his idea/process of making that film. It is so impressive!

      Thank you for entering, and good luck in the giveaway!

  5. I am such a sucker for romantic novels. And obviously a major disney and fairytale fan. Beauty and the Beast has always been close to my heart. Mainly for Belle’s love of books and that enormous library in the castle. My dream travel destination at the moment is Amsterdam. I would love to visit Anne Frank’s house and see the tulips bloom in the summer.

    • Marian, who doesn’t love Belle’s library??!!! I heartily agree with your love of that story!

      Amsterdam would be AWESOME to visit! Good luck in this giveaway… if you win you can “visit” some ideal parts of England!

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