When I was thirteen, I journaled consistently for close to a year. Sharing my hopes, dreams, hurts, and joys. Every so often I look back on those notebooks and smile at the thoughts I recorded and the things that were so important to me back then.
I can’t, however, imagine anyone else reading them, especially not one hundred years later. Even if they are family. . .
Jane by the Book
by Pepper D. Basham
Published by OWD Publishing
Genres: Christian Fiction, Mystery, Clean Romance
Setting: England Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
Four years ago, Jane Warwick escaped the shame and heartbreak of being jilted at the altar by becoming a housekeeper at the secluded Inn at Simeon Ridge. Predictable and quiet, the inn helps Jane find a place to heal and celebrates her strengths, where she is promoted to head housekeeper. But an unexpected visit to Bath, England, upsets Jane's plans and sends her out of her comfort zone, directly into the harrowing path of historical detective author, Titus Stewart.
The only plans Titus sticks to are family holidays and the ones that send him careening into his story worlds, but when an uptight and nervous innkeeper stumbles into his life - and his latest novel - nonfiction begins to take on a much more interesting gleam.
As the unlikely pair delve into the mystery behind a one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old letter, will they both uncover a romance that stands the test of time?
I would like to thank Pepper Basham for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
The mystery of the journal haunted Jane. She wanted so badly to know about her namesake from the late 1800s. Especially how the story ended. And once Titus found out about it, he couldn’t let the rest of the story go untold.
Okay. I admit it. Titus is adorable. His exuberance and disarmingly honest manner are just so charming. I love the way he gets caught up in his books and his characters that they are real to him and cracked up at the way that he would just stare at Jane, trying to memorize her features so he could use her as a model for Lydia. I also loved the way he would have a random thought and all of a sudden have to write it down to use later in his writing. He was a mixture of charming and clueless and socially awkward, yet not.
Oh, and did I mention his deep and reverent faith? And the way it was such a big part of his life, not just something that affected his schedule on Sundays. He was also romantic in the true Biblical kind of romance way. I loved the way he explained romance to Jane. Wow!
I had fun reading the mystery and trying to figure out who the mysterious Cecliy was. I had a theory which would have made for a great story but, alas, I was wrong. The answer was equally good, however, so only my pride was disappointed.
The novella was just perfect. The right mixture of humor, romance, tension, faith, mystery. Pepper Basham’s stories never fail to delight me.
It is impossible to not include an excerpt with this review. Here is the one I couldn’t resist:
She took another long sip of her milky tea, scanning the quaint room from her toasty spot, observing a couple holding hands in one corner, a family of three laughing at another table, an older woman with a book in hand and a man scribbling away on a note… She squinted. Titus?
His slick-damp dark hair lay back from his forehead and an expression more intense than she’d seen in their brief acquaintance crossed his face. If she were completely objective, she’d say he even looked more handsome than usual. Studious. He’d added black-framed glasses like the ones she wore to his overall bookish persona. A good look for a writer.
Hmm…What a strange anomaly he was! Holing away in a little spot like this to write something of imaginary worlds and people. Did he see them in his head? How did that even work?
Titus looked up from the page, their eyes meeting for a half-second before she turned her face away, focusing on the flickering firelight and hoping he hadn’t noticed her awkward perusal of his person. After all, the dim lighting cast half shadows over most of the faces in the room. She focused her attention on the fire, but a tingle in the back of her neck confirmed he watched her. A steady heat rose into her cheeks. She didn’t want to give him the wrong impression. Just because she thought he looked handsome didn’t mean she wanted anything else.
The tingle continued. He kept watching. Her lips twitched from the pinch to bite back her laugh at the awkwardness of it all. Based on their short acquaintance, she could almost envision him twitching to join her at the table, maybe even talk about…ah yes, her journal. The tickling in her throat swelled with the heat in her face. She pressed her lips together so tightly her eyes began to water from the effort.
A chair scratched against the hardwood.
Five, four, three, two…
“Aren’t you the least bit curious?”