Contemporary Fiction, Review

Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham

Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham is firmly planted on my all-time favorites list and I highly recommend it to all fans of fairy tales and happily ever afters.

about the author

Pepper Basham

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards.

Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her most recent historical romance, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge, showcases her Appalachian heritage and history, as well as her love for humor and family.

She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

Pepper loves getting to know readers and other authors through social media outlets like facebook, twitter, or instagram! You may also learn more about her on her website!


from the author

Thank you so much for featuring my newest novel, Just the Way You Are, on CelebrateLit. I am THRILLED to be a part of this and to share a story that is very dear to my heart.

Just the Way You Are is my first ‘true’ Britallachian romantic comedy. Even though I’ve written comedy in some of my other novels and included elements of both Appalachia and Britain, this one embodies the tag #britallachian to the core. For those of you who’ve read some of my previous books, you know I’m a big fan of my native Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian culture. You may also know that I’m a proud Anglophile.

Those two loves met in Just the Way You Are – and I tossed lots of other things I love best into the mix. What are those ingredients, you might ask?

Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham quoteWell, let me just tell ya! Just the Way You Are is a blend of Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian culture, big (hilarious) family dynamics, matchmaking, Britain, a swoony English hero, a quirky, magnanimous heroine, a bunch of adorable kids, Scooby Doo and Indiana Jones references, lots of humor, a historical mystery, a devious villainess, stately manor houses, secret rooms, love letters, and matchmaking all rolled into one…oh, and did I mention brain-numbing romance?

(Did anyone else feel the need to add “fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, miracles, true love….” From the Princess Bride?) 🙂 I don’t think I included torture, giants, or monsters in Just the Way You Are… but I may have the other elements in this novel 🙂

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating about the brain-numbing, but I do have a tendency to err on the side of overly dramatic 🙂

Within the pages of Just the Way You Are, you’ll meet people from my own family, people from my imagination, and some people who stepped into the story without one ounce of my planning to ever meet them. This story came out of my desire to write something I love reading – spicy romance, clean humor, culture clashes, the big love of family, and redemption.

How did my heroine Eisley Barrett evolve? Out of thin air. I was washing dishes one afternoon and staring out the window into our small backyard with the Blue Ridge Mountains painting a purplish-blue frame on the horizon when I closed my eyes. Into my imagination came this ginger-headed woman walking through Heathrow International Airport pulling a hot pink bag behind her…and then, she tripped and fell. That was it. That’s how I was introduced to my insecure, hilarious, romance-loving, single-mom heroine.

Just The Way You Are by Pepper Basham quoteAnd the dashing hero? Okay, this may sound ridiculous, but I was watching an interview about Richard Armitage (Thoron Oakenshield, Guy of Gisborne, etc) regarding his lovely costume drama North and South where he plays a very dashing British hero. Anyway, he was SUCH a gentleman to watch during the interview. So polite. Kind. Funny, in a sweet way, and then, out of the blue, he said the word ‘gosh’. I know, that may not be a big deal to anyone but me, but after watching celebrity interviews where every other word needed a censor, the very fact that this elegant man used the word ‘gosh’, sent my writing brain into motion. My first internal question? What if a movie star with a tender heart had been burned by the pretension and expectation of celebrity status? What kind of woman could touch a heart who’d lost his faith in love’s authenticity?

Enter my red-head single-mom toting her pink bag through Heathrow and you have the very beginning of Just the Way You Are – a story of forgiveness, second chances…and a little bit of movie magic.


about the book

Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham (Pleasant Gap Romance book 1)

Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham

“Gracious sakes…”

“Another reminder of God sprinking pixie dust on her life. Maybe fairytales weren’t just on paper.”

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?

goodreads | amazon


my thoughts

In addition to fun, adorable, and swoony story elements, Pepper Basham has a charming knack for creating families that readers adore. Just the Way You Are is a modern-day romance that has it all, humor, mystery, depth, extended family members, children, and exes, too… the author even incorporates a few scenes at the kitchen sink.

Eisley Barrett is such a delightfully relatable character. She’s a country gal with big dreams and a big heart. Eisley’s honesty, enthusiasm, and whimsical creativity are endearing and authentic. Her children and family warmed my heart (especially once I got the Jenkins clan all straightened out in my mind) and the Appalachian culture brings the whole story down to earth.

Wes Harrison is a Ghiradelli dream boat, despite his stormy past, he has definitely altered his course for more peaceful waters. From his sweet terms of endearment to his fierce protection of loved ones, Wes is sure to have readers hanging on his every word. This contemporary hero is perfectly capable of just about anything from ballroom dancing to wrangling energetic children.

So, whether you relate to a small, reserved family like the Harrisons or the big boisterous Jenkins clan, this is a story worth revisiting again and again. Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham is firmly planted on my all time favorites list and I highly recommend it to all fans of fairy tales and happily ever afters.

I requested the opportunity to read and review this title through the author and Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed are my own.


Pleasant Gap Romance series

Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham When You Look At Me by Pepper Basham

Mitchell’s Crossroads series

A Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham Charming the Troublemaker by Pepper Basham A Match for Emma by Pepper Basham


tour giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a Grand Prize consisting of:

A ‘chest’ – in JTWYA historical letters are discovered in a chest that relates to the historical storyline, so all of these lovely goodies are going to be safely inside this chest. Chocolate – several references take place in JTWYA that compare the hero to chocolate ???? A plaque about family – because that’s a main point of importance in JTWYA A Spider-man zipper pull – Pete, the heroine’s son, is a major Spider-man fan English Breakfast Tea – The hero is English…swoony English A dishcloth – again, something that relates to a scene in the book regarding the hero and dishes (twice) Stirring spoon and measuring cups – food and cooking are a big part of Appalachian culture and fellowship, something celebrated in JTWYA A notebook – Eisley (the heroine) is taking notes about a historical family mystery A lovely container full of cloth flowers (for fun, and beauty) – the container says – Love and you will be loved. Loving others has an amazing way to find its way back to us (as is what happens in JTWYA) A little plaque that reads “You are Loved” – a theme of this story A beautiful lace doily from England (the English part of the story) Some “Pixie Dust” – a fun visualization of the ‘magic’ of romance in this story and A copy of Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham!!

Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Enter using PromoSimple below.
US only. 

[promosimple id=”b3e0″]

Goodness gracious, this book is fabulous! Even my blushing nonfiction loving mother enjoyed this story!
Be sure to add Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham to your tbr!

37 thoughts on “Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham”

  1. This is a Super Spotlight, Excellent Excerpt Gracious Giveaway!! I think it’s so neat that so many of the items are about cooking, family & chocolate! Sounds just like my family!! My husband is the greatest cook on the planet (doesn’t hurt that he’s a Native Louisianan!) & both of our two young adult children enjoy cooking, too. My husband literally PORES over his vast collection of cookbooks thinking up which fabulous dish to impress us with next! Our family heritages are also important to us. The Christmas after my Mom stepped into the arms of Jesus, my niece had Tea Towels made that have my Mom’s Handwritten Homemade Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe made into it!! What a treasure! When we got engaged, I chose my Mother-in-Love’s Silver pattern. It had been her Parent’s pattern as well & in my husband’s Maternal Grandfather’s family with engraved pieces soon after the pattern was minted! Faith and family are the important things to us. My people would say, “With a big serving of chocolate on the side, please and thank you!”


  2. Fabulous review, Beth! You’re getting very good at “swoofing.” I, too, loved this book, and I adore Pepper’s writing. I can definitely relate to the large Jenkins family, because I have 8 brothers and sisters, and we can get pretty crazy when we get together. My aunt and uncle lived a block away from us when we were growing up, and they had 8 children. We always had someone to play with or tease or commiserate with! We’re still all very close.


  3. My Beth!!!! Thank you so much for this great review and your love for these stories (and me). I’m so thankful for you!!!


  4. The more wonderful reviews I read, including yours, about Pepper Basham’s book, the more I know I need to pick it up and read it.


    1. Bree, you are too kind! Thank you! I don’t feel like it’s possible to express the level of flirty fun and heartfelt real life in this story. It’s a must read for sure!


      1. Oh goodness! I hope I can do it again!! The second book is slowly starting to emerge in my mind, so we’ll see 🙂


  5. HI Beth,

    Thanks for the great review! You had me at the word “swoony” 🙂 From your description, ‘Just the Way You Are’ seems to have all the elements of a great read. It is definitely on my TBR list.

    ~ Alison


    1. Pepper Basham has been dubbed the Queen of Swoon so you are in the right place! I’m going to recommend ‘A Twist of Faith’ as well because I’m Reece’s biggest fan.


  6. I didn’t get to this yesterday, but I just had to see what your review was! I especially agree with “Pepper Basham has a charming knack for creating families that readers adore.” Such an excellent book!!!!


    1. Becky (and Beth) I LOVE families!! And Beth did such a fabulous job with this review!! (Becky, your review was pretty stinkin’ awesome TOO!)


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