Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham
Reviewed by: Elizabeth Olmedo
Publisher: Woven Words Publishing
Publication Date: April 6, 2017
Single mom Eisley Barrett has no room for romance. She’s learned the hard way that HEA (Happily Ever After) only exists in fiction or chocolate. When she travels to England in hopes of unearthing a centuries-old family mystery, the last thing she wants is to become entangled with the uptight, cynical actor who is as known for his movies as for his less-than-stellar past.
Wes Harrison would give anything for a clean slate, but some sins only God can forgive. Experience has taught him to be wary, especially of women, so when Eisley pops into his family’s life, he determines to expose her ulterior motives before she can hurt the ones he loves. However, her kind and straightforward personality soon win him over and Wes finds himself wishing for the second chance he hasn’t dared hope for.
Just the Way You Are can only be described as a large cup of hot chocolate topped with laughter and sprinkled with love. Pepper Basham infuses the pages with her unique humor and witty banter that keeps the reader in stitches all the while exploring the theme that God loves us just the way we are.
Eisley blurts out what most of us wish we had the guts to say or only come up with once the moment has passed. Anyone who has been afraid to love will relate to her, though she plunges in hastily. The Harrison family also warmed up to her extremely fast. While I believed it coming from Mr. H. (Wes’ father) who played matchmaker, Mrs. Harrison and Wes joined the bandwagon all too soon, especially given past experiences. Eisley’s family is downright comical and a pleasure to read. I really enjoyed the hint of mystery in the form of her ancestor’s story.
Without a doubt, Basham can write chemistry-laden kissing scenes that steals one’s breath. That being said, considering the characters aren’t married and that they both come from broken pasts, some of the scenes were too steamy and even unwise on the characters’ parts. I loved the concept of Wes being a new creation determined to pursue God’s ideal for us, but the hot and heavy kisses made me question just how far in the past were his womanizing ways. The same occurred with Eisley who didn’t want to repeat the same mistakes she made with her ex-husband but then moves too quickly and too far with Wes. Of course, being a book, everything works out.
As usual, Basham does not disappoint in the settings department. Split between England and the Blue Ridge Mountains, I couldn’t get enough of the fascinating and beautiful cultures. While I haven’t been to North Carolina, I know what it’s like to be a European freshly landed in the U.S. I could relate (and chuckled multiple times) as Wes tackled his way into a new, and sometimes confusing, culture.
If you like romantic stories that make you laugh, you’ll want to grab a copy of Just the Way You Are. I am once again counting the days until Basham’s next book releases.
Review copy provided by the author. Thanks!
Rated PG-13: This story contains steamy kissing scenes. The characters never do more than kiss, but they definitely think about it. I’d call it a Hard PG-13 and would recommend it for at least 15 or above.
Reviewer’s copy was provided by the Publisher. Thank you!