The Thorn Keeper is one to keep! (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

"Rescue me?...Forgive me if You can.  What little I have is 
Yours, if...if You want it."  -  Catherine Dougall (The Thorn Bearer)

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Title:  The Thorn Keeper
Series: Penned in Time, Book 2
Authors:  Pepper D. Basham
Publisher:  Vinspire Publishing
Release Date:  February 28, 2016


With her past in shambles, how can she fashion a future of hope?

Catherine Dougall’s past of manipulation has left her future in threads. With a new faith, she longs to take the remnants of her life and make something beautiful, but shame, societies’ judgments, and the natural consequences of an unplanned pregnancy test her newfound hope. Dr. David Ross doesn’t help either. His kindness, sacrifice, and tenderness tempt her to impossible dreams. A fallen woman doesn’t merit a fairytale.

David Ross has made every effort to keep his life above reproach. His passion for the sick pump fresh purpose through his choices, but without financial support to maintain his war hospital, all is lost. When his notorious aunt offers an easy solution, David is tempted to give in to her demands, but his growing affection for the reformed flirt, Catherine Dougall, unwinds the careful wall around his heart and offers an unexpected choice.

When the worst of war tears them apart, can love renew the memory of what was lost or will tragedy steal away their hope forever.

From the beautiful Derbyshire countryside to the trenches of World War One, Catherine and David must learn to trust in a God who designs a masterpiece out of brokenness and fashions hope in the most unlikely places.



I can tell you right now, this book, The Thorn Keeper will be in my year end top lists. I know, a tad bit unfair to all those books I've yet to read, but there's still room for them for sure. I'm just letting you know (ahead of time) the magnitude of how I enjoyed and love this book, and the characters, especially Catherine Dougall (Kat).

After my very profound proclamation above, let me tell you a little of how I feel about Ms. Catherine Dougall.  It all started in Pepper Basham's The Thorn Bearer, book 1 of the Penned in Time series.  Catherine was a selfish debutante who cared only about social status, marrying well and give her sister, Ashleigh a hard time.  O, I dislike her as I dislike Caroline Bingley in Pride & Prejudice. That is until "Rescue me?...Forgive me if You can.  What little I have is Yours, if...if You want it."  I mean she slowly improved as the story progressed, but it was those words that held its final release in any animosity I have towards Catherine and even come to like her.  I begin The Thorn Keeper refreshed with the new life she now has in Christ. 

Nothing can prepare me with the level of completeness and perception Pepper wrote about Catherine in The Thorn Keeper.  Her journey in Christ - her change, her compassion and selflessness developed like a well seasoned jambalaya, with all the right ingredients balanced to fully enhanced its flavors as it stewed together.  Only in Christ can a person's beautiful nature be completely and utterly uncovered and exhibited.  Catherine's big heart, and her passion to doing what is right in God's eyes humbled me. Like many, she carries the thorns of her past.  In her mind, she thinks she's unworthy for any additional blessings the Lord has in store for her, especially a man as good as Dr. David Ross. Yet, it is through this self-denial we see how she's transform from a broken mess to something luminous and whole, just as a quilt sewn together from many pieces. 
"God will see you through this.  Trust Him to surprise you with more love than you could ever have imagined on your own.  He will take the remnants of your life and fashion them into something new.  Something beautiful." 
Catherine's our protagonist, but other characters perfectly round out the story with so much depth. Jessica's critical and bitter reactions towards Catherine reminds us how others can be blinded by our past. However, as Christ's light emanate from a redeemed Catherine, we see that nothing can smother the work of God.  Madame and the girls gives us spontaneity and animation, bringing the whole story to life! We can't forget the appearances of Ashleigh and Sam, the main characters of The Thorn Bearer. I'd especially enjoyed the fact that Pepper continued the growth of sisterly bond between Ashleigh and Catherine.  Then, there's the very innate goodness of David and the easy banter between him and Catherine that will have you smile, laugh and even sigh at times.  Tears will pool and fall. Yet, Catherine's cleverness and resourcefulness, coupled with David's genuine gift of service is a perfect partnership and the perfect pair to fall in love with.

I know, I'm getting excessively long in my ramblings here, but The Thorn Keeper enraptured my heart to its full extent, as capable as a story can. (Very similar to Julie Lessman's Daughters of Boston series.)  This is one that resonates with me and reminds me our broken past of choices does not define us.  God can and will work miracles for us.  He not only forgave us for our sins through the death of His son, He will instill change in us, as long as we ask and trust.  And with that comes blessings beyond our belief.
 "Don't underestimate God's ability to work miracles, but most importantly, don't underestimate his joy in overwhelming you with His love."
A story of God's love and His relationship with us. A story of forgiveness and redemption, compassion and service, The Thorn Keeper deserves a place in your heart and on your shelves.

"Those who learn from heartache and mistakes value grace with a greater affection."
"...I plan to celebrate, because those moments of celebration are the balm of comfort in our heartaches, and a sweet caress in our sufferings." 

NOTE:  I received a complimentary ARC of this book through Singing Librarian Tours for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



TO PURCHASE A COPY of THE THORN BEARER, BOOK 1 (Kindle version current on sale - posted date)




Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at a group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015, with the second arriving in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuts in spring 2016.

CONNECT TO PEPPER:  website,  facebook,  twitter,  pinterest,  goodreads,  amazon





Check out other tour stops with reviews, guest posts and interviews with Pepper! 



  1. Wow!! Terry-eyed here!! Just wow, Annie!!

  2. Love the review! I completely agree. This book was just absolutely fantastic. My heart still sighs as I remember it.

  3. Awww, I'm glad you like it Pepper. I speak from my heart. =)

    Thank you, Toni! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Beautiful review, Annie. I feel the same way about this book. <3

  5. Great review, Annie - thank you!!

  6. Such high praise, Annie--and well-deserved, I'm certain. I'm reading Ashleigh's story right now and loving it. Can't wait to read Catherine's. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

  7. Great review! I am looking forward to reading it! Loved the first!!!

  8. Thank you Meghan, Bonnie, Rachelle and Beth for stopping by! I truly enjoyed this one. Pepper will be an author I look out for from now on!

  9. Thanks, Beth! i hope you enjoy Catherine's story. I loved writing it!


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