About the Book
Book: The Red Ribbon
Author: Pepper Basham
Genre: Christian historical/suspense
Release Date: October, 2020
An Appalachian Feud Blows Up in 1912
Book 8 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History
In Carroll County, a corn shucking is the social event of the season, until a mischievous kiss leads to one of the biggest tragedies in Virginia history. Ava Burcham isn’t your typical Blue Ridge Mountain girl. She has a bad habit of courtin’ trouble, and her curiosity has opened a rift in the middle of a feud between politicians and would-be outlaws, the Allen family. Ava’s tenacious desire to find a story worth reporting may land her and her best friend, Jeremiah Sutphin, into more trouble than either of them planned. The end result? The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre of 1912.
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MY THOUGHTS.....This is the newest addition to the True Colors series by Barbour Publishing and The Red Ribbon certainly doesn't disappoint. Author Pepper Basham explores the true facts about an Appalachian feud in 1912 but she adds fictional characters to tell this story of the Hillsville Courthouse Massacre and the "largest manhunt that the state of Virginia had ever known". Basham uses the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains for a backdrop as she explores a special friendship that promises to become much more during this time of feudin' and fightin'. Amy Burcham and Jeremiah Sutphin have long been friends but the circumstances surrounding this Courthouse Tragedy makes them aware that there could be more. Amy's life has been overshadowed by her late mother's mental state and this makes her reluctant but Jeremiah reminds her that "I've been sparkin' you most of my life, so you might as well get used to the idea of courtin' me."
Basham's use of Appalachian dialect certainly adds to this book's realism and the twists and turns make this a story that I found hard to put down. It is, however, the commonsense wisdom and the strong faith element that I found especially enjoyable.
"God ain't siitin' up in heaven watchin' a show down here on earth. He don't mind gettin' His hands dirty. Else, He'd never sent the Savior." Granny Burcham
If you enjoy mystery mixed with history and fiction flavored with facts, you will certainly want to read this exceptional Christian historical fiction!
I received a copy from the publisher via Celebrate Lit. There was no obligation for a favorable review. These are my own opinions.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
About the Author
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains where her family have lived for generations. She’s the mom of five kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at the award winning Writer’s Alley blog. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015, and the second in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuted in April 2016.
More from Pepper
Feuds, Moonshine, and Family Loyalties by Pepper Basham
My upcoming release for Barbour’s True Colors series is really close to my heart…and pretty close to my house.
The Red Ribbon, my first foray into a historical suspense novel, takes place in the county where I grew up. Carroll County, Virginia, is a county on the border of Virginia and North Carolina, not too far from Mt. Airy (Mayberry). Nestled in the foothills and mountains of the Blue Ridge, it is a part of the Appalachian Mountains, and with that comes similar histories as other backwoods Appalachian communities: feuds, moonshine, and family loyalties.
One thing I love most about my Appalachian upbringing is the intense closeness of family – and when I say ‘family’ I mean, of course, my mom, dad, and brother, but also my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents…the whole “gang”, as my granny used to say.
The closeness of family, and the protection of the family name, is a big deal in Appalachia. There’s a lot of pride in the way your ‘name’ is thought of throughout the community, so when someone insults your name, there’s a good chance the repercussions aren’t going to be pleasant. Especially back in the early 1900s, when The Red Ribbon takes place. In fact, insulting someone by “stealing a kiss” is one of the events that leads to The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre/Tragedy.
A long-time feud between the Allen family and the “Courthouse Clan” came to a head inside the Hillsville Courthouse in March 1912 and this event resulted in the largest shootout within a courthouse in Virginia history. The story followed with a nationwide manhunt and made national news until the sinking of the Titanic the following month.
Growing up in Carroll County, I knew a few things about this story. Rumors and whispers, really. Most folks didn’t talk about it because it still caused a stir among those who were descendants (because another thing about Appalachia is that families tend to stay on or around family land for generations). People still took “sides”. So, when I decided to write this book, I knew I was stepping into precarious territory. Not that anyone would start up a shootout nowadays because of a book, but because people still have some deep feelings about how their ancestors are portrayed in history, and since many of my family members still live in Carroll County, I wanted to tread carefully into the events of “The Allen Tragedy”.
What I discovered was a story that still held a whole lot of mystery even one hundred years later. Bullet holes still mark the courthouse steps from that fateful day, rumors still circulate about who was to blame, and no one knows who fired the first gunshot that began the tragic shooting.
I’m not a “scary” book writer or reader, but I love a good adventure, so this book takes the reader on an adventure into Appalachia to my neck of the woods, and follows the journey of Ava Burcham and Jeremiah Sutphin as they live among the illegal moonshiners, dirty cops, and mountain gunslingers of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
(To learn more about the true events of the Courthouse Tragedy, you can read about it here: https://roanoke.com/news/virginia/the-courthouse-tragedy-gunfight-in-hillsville-in-1912/article_45d0d7f3-6e1f-57c4-83be-fceb3d98dafd.html)
Have you ever read a book set in Appalachia? If so, what was the title and what did you learn about the Appalachian culture? Have you ever visited the Blue Ridge Mountains?
Let’s chat mountain people, mountain ways, and mountain books 😊
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To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.