When a beloved author writes a in new genre, one that is a departure from what I have come to expect, I normally just get excited and dive right in. At least I have until recently.
The True Colors series by Barbour is one that has me hesitating. These are true crime stories and the one (prior to The Red Ribbon) that I read left me a little shell shocked. Not that the author didn’t do a fantastic job of protecting my delicate sensitivities from the gruesome details, I guess my imagination is just a little too vivid for some stories! And therefore I have passed up on stories in this collection, just afraid that they would be too much for me.
And then came The Red Ribbon. It’s by Pepper Basham. And I have LOVED all of her books. They are always so heartfelt, romantic, fascinating, and always pointing to God. I debated and prayed before even seeing in her Facebook group about this book, fearful that I would be committing to reading a story that I just couldn’t stomach. Even one of hers! After being reassured by other readers, one who admitted to not being a “brave” reader, that this is not dark, I took the plunge and requested a copy.
The Red Ribbon
Series: True Colors #8
Published by Barbour Books
Publication Date October 1, 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance, Suspense, Mystery
Setting: Virginia Progressive Era – US – 1890s – 1920s
Main Character Ages: 18-24
Written for: Adults
An Appalachian Feud Blows Up in 1912
Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime
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.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Also in this series: The Blue Cloak
Wow!! Can I simply say that and leave the rest for you to discover? Okay. Probably not the best choice, so I’ll attempt to do this amazing story justice.
It was so fun to learn about the corn shucking tradition related to the red ear of corn. Not only does this tradition act as a catalyst in the relationship between best friends Ava and Jeremiah, it also gave way to a stupid act that catapulted the community into a conflict that resulted in tragedy.
Ava and Jeremiah’s relationship was sweet and oh so romantic! Jeremiah’s love for her was shown in his patience and persistence and the way he encouraged her. And, the gifts! He was so thoughtful and kind. He rather made me think of my amazing husband.
Ava struggled with a fear that her mother’s “bad blood” would reveal itself in her own life and would have her going mad. Though she had given her life to the Lord at an early age, the tragedies that had occurred since had caused her to take her eyes off Jesus and focus them on her fears. I loved the gentle ways He guided her back to trusting Him and helped her to see hope amid seemingly hopeless situations.
The Courthouse Massacre of 1913 is not fictional. And the cause is not the imagination of Pepper Basham, either. While it is unquestionably a tragedy and while the added fictional conflict with moonshiners, murderers, and mayhem that led to the massacre could easily become dark and frightening, light shone into the darkness and filled the story with an expectation of good triumphing.
I am so thankful I trusted my instincts (as well as the recommendations of others who have read this book!) and wasn’t afraid to read The Red Ribbon. It is another amazing story by a favorite author of mine and I recommend it highly, even to readers who, like me, are not brave enough to read the others in the True Colors series!