cover image The Red Ribbon

The Red Ribbon

Pepper Basham. Barbour, $12.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-64352-649-2

Basham (My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge) interweaves romance, adventure, and history in this enjoyable tale set against the backdrop of the Hillsville, Va., Courthouse Massacre of 1912. Nineteen year-old Ava Burcham dreams of writing about important things, but is only allowed to write about sewing for the local newspaper. Nevertheless, she spends her time snooping around Hillsville investigating the rampant illegal moonshining that led to the death of her father. Jeremiah Sutphin has been Ava’s best friend since childhood and dreams of marrying her. While Ava begins to see Jeremiah in a new light as he helps her investigations, she was raised by a mentally ill mother and worries she might also possess her same afflictions. Devout Jeremiah assures Ava that someday she’ll see herself as God and Jeremiah see her—and that he’ll be waiting. But tensions rise when the two help friends caught in the middle of a moonshining feud leave town, making them a mark for the outlaws. The stakes are high as the story moves toward the climactic shoot-out heavily foreshadowed throughout the narrative. Though the plotting is predictable, this is an exciting mix of love and adventure. Readers of Colleen Coble should take a look. (Oct.)