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Books About Letters: "Hope Between the Pages"
In this installment of "Books About Letters" we're taking a look at the new historical fiction "Hope Between the Pages" by Pepper D. Basham due out from Barbour Fiction April 2021. Do you love books about letters, bookshops, family mystery, and a dash of romance? This is one for you.
In "Hope Between the Pages" we're treated to two protagonists: Clara, who must rescue her family business by uncovering the history of her Great Grandmother Sadie. And Sadie, who's story unfolds to the reader as it does to her Great-Granddaughter Clara. Set in alternating chapters between North Carolina and England during World War I and "modern" day this novel takes the reader on a great escape.
Clara's beloved father inherited the Blackwell bookshop from his Grandmother, Sadie. In the Century since its opening the bookshop has survived the Great Depression and a World War but can it survive the big brand bookshop opening down the road? Clara sets off to secure the future of her family bookshop in this well crafted tale of perseverance and heart.
Basham's characters are pure and likable. There is a mustached villain, a dashing English hero, and a plucky American heroine. An endearing "under dog" story is laced with well researched historical accuracies. Much of the story is drawn against the beautiful backdrop of the Vanderbilt Mansion "Biltmore" in Ashville, North Carolina.
The beautiful Biltmore Mansion. Source: Biltmore.com
The use of letters in "Hope Between the Pages" has this letter-lover's stamp of approval! It can be easy to stick a letter into a sore spot in a story to get things moving but in Basham's novel the letters are as revered as the books in Blackwell's bookshop. Here here for letters!
Basham uses letters to carry her story along nicely linking the WWI chapters to the contemporary with a nugget or easter egg from a letter. There's a huge risk for matchy-matchy writing when you're telling a generational story through letters which Basham skirts successfully by teasing a letter in one chapter and revealing it in another. You can tell that Basham understands the legacy of letters as a bridge between the past and present.
This is a beautifully written book for book lovers. Now I have the Biltmore Library on my wishlist for the future. I enjoyed this novel. I would have selected it from the bookshelf so I was very pleased when the publisher gifted me a copy. Find it in bookstores April 2021.