Between Stairs and Stardust by Pepper Basham – Book Review, Preview

Posted February 14, 2019 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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I knew I was going to die.

When the instructor said “Now we’re going to jump in and swim across the deep end of the pool” terror filled my heart.

Up until that moment, my swimming lessons were going great. I was tall enough that I could stand in the shallow end of the pool and still keep my head above the water so I knew I was safe. And being as I didn’t trust the water to hold me up – this was important. Each time we were told to swim across the pool, I made sure to splash enough as I moved my arms that no one would know my feet were propelling me – as I walked across. I had been doing that for weeks and my four or five-year-old brain was convinced I was so very clever that no one would know my secret!

Until that moment.

Convinced that jumping in where the water was way over my head meant certain death, instead of lining up with my class, I went over to the chain-link fence and held on. As I recall, there was another student who had also realized that breathing air is better than swallowing water and joined me there. The problem was, I didn’t hadn’t factored my mom into the equation.

Instead of coddling me and telling me that it was okay and I didn’t have to do something that scared me so much, she marched over and insisted the instructors force me to get into the water. She even pried my fingers from the fence so they could pull me away to hurl me to certain death! I probably screamed and cried enough that the people in the next town state could hear me!

Before I could think of anything else to do to avoid it, I hit the water with a huge splash! And much to my surprise, I discovered that the water really could hold me up and I COULD SWIM!

And from that day on, I was happy as a seal, swimming and playing in the water. I even won events at swim meets when I was on the swim team in elementary school. (Come on, I couldn’t use happy as a clam for my simile – clams can’t swim!)

While I may have slightly over-dramatized my account, this is still such a vivid memory from my childhood. And it is probably something I should remember more often as I see how my fears kept me from experiencing the freedom and even the joy of swimming.

Are you letting your fears keep you from experiencing the abundant life that God has given you?

Between Stairs and Stardust by Pepper Basham – Book Review, Preview

Finding Ever After: four fairytale-ish novellas

by Pepper Basham, Rachel McMillan, Ashley Clark

Publication Date February 14, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance, Fairy Tale Retelling
Setting: North Carolina, Massachusetts, Alabama Progressive Era – US – 1890s – 1920s, Contemporary
Written for: Adults
Pages: 473


Experience a touch of magic with these four fairytale-ish novellas that span over one hundred years. Linked by an illustrated book of fairytales, each novella is an enchanting combination of a beloved classic sprinkled with the author’s own brand of fairy dust.

Stairs and Stardust is set in 1913 Asheville, NC at the beautiful Biltmore Estate and includes a budding children’s book illustrator, an out-of-the box heir, and a teensy bit of Cinderella romance.

Entanglements has a Rapunzel twist and is set in 1920’s Boston between a reluctant heiress, a charming piano tuner, and a game of chess.

Twice Upon A Time is a Beauty-And-The-Beast inspired tale that brings a romance novelist back home to her family's pecan farm... and the ex-fiance she left behind.

Once Bitten is a nod to Snow White that includes a fake date with a handsome woodsman, seven geeks, and the world's best apple tarts.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

Purchase Links

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What???? A hero who can’t swim? Aren’t they supposed to be full of amazing powers to do anything, be anything and otherwise just be perfect? Fortunately for me, this author knows that characters with flaws touch our hearts more than those who are perfect. And while James was certainly lovable, he was imperfect enough to make him realistic and endearing.

With a rich palate of expertly blended words, Pepper Basham’s Between Stairs and Stardust is a lovely masterpiece of thoughts and emotions. It’s no secret that Pepper Basham’s books make my heart happy. Just the process of creating images from my favorite quotes has me smiling and tearing up.

“My…my father used to call imagination heavenly magic—something that makes humans more like their Creator,”

While I have heard it said that the fact we like to create is because we were made in the image of our creator, God, the ways in which this was expressed here was . . . well, magical! Anyone who has thought or heard that fiction is a waste of time or that it sets us longing for what we can’t have should read this book and hear the eloquent way in which the author expresses her thoughts regarding imagination aiding our faith.

Stella’s non-traditional manner of telling young Alice the story of Cinderella was delightful! Alice had never heard a fairy-tale before and her reaction and the ensuing discussion was such fun. The layering of the story within the story and how well they blended together was enchanting.

Lest you fear that the story is predictable and follows the fairy-tale too closely, it doesn’t. And lest you fear that the heroine is a weak female, she isn’t. And lest you fear you won’t enjoy the story – well, speaking for myself I loved it!

Between Stairs and Stardust is currently part of the Finding Ever After compilation, in which the stories are linked together through the fairy-tale book Stella illustrated. This collection spans one hundred years or so through the four stories. Keep an eye out for Between Stairs and Stardust’s release as a stand-alone paperback and an e-book. I will review the other stories in the collection in a separate post as well.

May you read happily ever after!


Don’t be thrown off by the different cover! This is the preview for the compilation which is currently the only way to purchase this story.

About Ashley Clark

Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She’s dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses as an adjunct. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, Ashley’s usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns.

Be sure to visit her website and sign up for her newsletter for frequent giveaways and weekly devotionals!

About 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 family 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. You may also learn more about her on her website!

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