The Thorn Bearer

The Thorn Bearer

by Pepper Basham

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From the decks of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of France, Ashleigh must choose between the forgiveness of her past, life in the present, and a Savior who can rescue her from them all.

When her fiancé leaves her eight months before their wedding, the unexpected blow ignites a battalion of insecurities stemming from her father's intimate betrayal. Her worst fears are confirmed – who could ever love a soiled woman?

In an attempt to escape the shame and disappointment of her past, Ashleigh boards the ill-fated Lusitania to cross the war-torn waters of Europe. Much to her dismay, she isn't traveling alone.

Sam Miller is always making up for his best friend's mistakes. Determined to help Ashleigh, he offers his compassion and protection as she ventures across a perilous sea. With the faint hope of renewing his lost love for Ashleigh's sister, Sam never expects to find the woman of his dreams in his best friend's former fiancé and his own childhood companion.

As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship.

When the truth of Ashleigh's past explodes in the middle of war and Sam rejects her, Ashleigh must decide if God is enough – or if the double weight of her betrayal and past will crush her life forever.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940151612883
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
Publication date: 04/13/2015
Series: Penned in Time , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 780,592
File size: 656 KB

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The Thorn Bearer 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book, not only for the authentic characters and captivating romance, but also for the backdrop of exciting historic events. This is an excellent story about a determined young woman's journey to find the love and happiness she deserves. The main character, Ashley is an admirable woman who gathers strength through forgiveness, understanding, acceptance, and faith. It is a well written book with rich vibrant characters that keep the romance and excitement going to the very last page.
BookwormMama2014 More than 1 year ago
The Thorn Bearer truly blew my expectations out of the water. Pepper shares deep and agonizing struggles with beautifully pure redemption. There were many points in which certain characters needed a good bashing over the head...But it was exciting to see God work in their lives and transform them into a new creation. Ashleigh's past follows her wherever she goes. Nothing she has tried, on her own, has worked to forget the nightmares haunting her. Be prepared for an emotional ride with some difficult subjects. But that is one thing that makes Pepper stand out...She doesn't sugar coat things, and she doesn't shortchange God's love and compassion. While specific trials of the characters are not ones I am familiar with, I do know how unforgiveness can drag your soul down. It is incredible to witness the freedom that forgiveness can offer. I am also familiar with the frustrations of God allowing certain things to happen in our lives. However, I do know in the depths of my heart, that God works all things together for good. As my daily life is witness to. I definitely recommend this book without reservations. I can't wait to start the next book!
CaseyHerringshaw More than 1 year ago
Do you like sweeping and dramatic historicals? Than this debut novel is absolutely for you. The Thornbearer has a captivity about it that even when you’ve had to set the book aside, you can’t stop thinking about the story, the characters, the setting and the history itself that has become a character in this book. The idea behind any story might seem simple, but once you start reading this novel you quickly realize the execution of the story is far from simplistic. Ashleigh and Sam are complex and intriguing characters, captivating my attention with their chemistry and conflict on the page. The story is raw. Real. Engaging and ultimately uplifting. Romantic and sweeping across breadth and time, The Thornbearer is one of those stories that won’t leave your mind once you’ve closed that last page.
JustCommonly More than 1 year ago
A bang! That's how Pepper Basham's The Thorn Bearer started off. Did you read the snippet from my earlier post today? My "bang" is not referring to what happened in the snippet, but what the very first words of the story. "Death hovered in the shadows of the room..." (1). I didn't expect to be wrapped in so early on, but I was - the very first page. Pepper's The Thorn Bearer splashed us with a surprising revelation of the horrors of what Ashleigh faced growing up, and doused us with a sense of disgust and even hatred for Ashleigh's father early on. I don't know how I could've read on without gritting my teeth. My heart ached for Ashleigh. The Thorn Bearer is a beautifully written novel with great historical details and striking characters, interwoven with a strong theme of grace, forgiveness and humble dignity. The story of the sinking of Lusitania during the First World War have created a enchanting backdrop in the struggles our characters face from loss to fear to truth and to hope. Each character will afflict you with a certain infectious emotion that will stay with you until you release it to a listening ear, with romance and their own spiritual journey. Ultimately, what hits me the most with The Thorn Bearer is the title and the image of what those words meant after reading this story. Thorns of pain, fear, bitterness, shame and self-deprecation filled Ashleigh's mind and emotions. Even when her thorns are pulled, scars become visible for all to see and vulnerability kicks in high, God's grace and love, soaked and washed her tears and brokenness. His grace and His love can heal all scars with beauty, dignity, faith and true love. I am reminded how our Lord Jesus wore the crown of thorns and carried our burdens and sin, and only with Him, can forgiveness and peace preside. I do hope that I've shown you here, will give you a glimpse of the beauty and substance of The Thorn Bearer and Pepper's prose in this heart-wrenching and enlightening story. Highly recommend. For the full review and snippet: Just Commonly Blog NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book through Singing Librarian Tours for an honest review.
Meghan_G More than 1 year ago
New favorite author alert! If you are a fan of the film Titanic, the show Downton Abbey or a fan of Author Roseanna White's Edwardian romances--you need to pick this book up. Ms. Basham expertly weaves both historical and spiritual settings/themes through out the book--so much so I could not put it down. What was refreshing for this romance is that the two main characters, Ashleigh and Sam began as close, childhood friends and we get to watch their romance grow, blossom and deepen even in the face of such tragedies like the Lusitania sinking and caring for war orphans and wounded soldiers from WWI front. What most left an impression on me were the characters. Both Ashleigh and Sam have secrets, struggle to forgive and come to God's grace. Their friendship is tested when feelings surface, a tragedy strikes, and the fragility of life sends them into each other's arms--but there are still secrets. The twists and turns both of the happy, swoon-worthy romance and the heartrending ones left me swiftly turning the pages. I laughed, I cried--a lot--and the impact of the spiritual themes woven expertly, and not preachy via the characters journeys left me convicted and bolstered in my faith. Basham's debut novel is especially refreshing in its crystal clear message of redemption for the broken, and restorative grace. A sweeping story from start to finish with such a great happy ending.
TheArtistLibrarian More than 1 year ago
Pepper D. Basham's debut novel has arrived at the perfect time. Thanks to the television series, Downton Abbey, there's been so much more interest in World War I and the early 20th century. Published exactly 100 years after the sinking of The Lusitania, The Thorn Bearer blends real-life events with unique characters, plot twists, and drama that would make Julie Lessman proud! Believe me, I'm not exaggerating! The tension between Ashleigh and her sister Catherine reminded me of Lessman's O'Connor sisters. If you can get me to feel very ... strongly ... about your characters (and then get me to like a character I hated), then in my book, you've got great characterization skills. The only criticism I have is that the climax conflict between the two romantic leads could have easily been solved if they'd bothered to clarify and not assume (so many assumptions!) but that type of conflict is normal in the genre, so while it did annoy me, it's also proof that by then I was invested: I cared about these characters! Though seeing names like "Ashleigh" or "Jessica" seemed a bit too modern for the age of the characters (who would have been born before the turn of the 20th century), other historical details of daily life helped me immerse myself in the novel. And the metamorphosis and growth of other side characters ... I'll certainly be following Pepper D. Basham's future work If you like to read stories with strong interpersonal conflict (drama!) and tension that leads to satisfying endings (or are just suffering from Downton Abbey withdrawal), Basham's novels might be a good choice! [Disclosure: I received a copy of this book as a participant of Singing Librarian Books' blog tour for review purposes.]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful Read!! Pepper is so talented as you will see when you read this book. She writes about some really tough life issues and weaves the truth of forgiveness, healing, facing life without the baggage that comes from the heroine's past that she had no control over. It's emotional and thought provoking, we can never be in a place that God cannot reach us!
MeezCarrie More than 1 year ago
Woven together with rich characters, poetic language, riveting history, wry humor, and heart-wrenching secrets, The Thorn Bearer is a book that will draw you in and refuse to let go. It isn't often that I finish a fictional book and pause to reflect on it in silence for several minutes, but I did in this case. Even after I finished the last word, this story resonated throughout my spirit for a good long while. I just can't say enough good things about this book. The main theme of The Thorn Bearer is this: we are all broken, and we all need a Savior's rescue. Even those who seem to be without obvious sin. Sometimes, it's as simple (or as impossible) as holding on to unforgiveness and bitterness for the wrongs done to you by the people who were supposed to love and protect you. Sometimes it's as pervasive as letting desperation take you down roads you never dreamed you'd travel. Either way, brokenness leads us all overboard and our Savior waits patiently for us to accept the rescue He offers. Pepper Basham treated the topic of Ashleigh's childhood sexual abuse with such grace and dignity and purity. She writes the reality of Ashleigh's emotional scars - the anger, the bitterness, the fear, the shame, the self-recrimination - but she also masterfully weaves all of this into a beautiful tapestry of grace and forgiveness. Ashleigh's earthly father stole many things from her, but her Heavenly Father pursues her relentlessly to clothe her with beautiful dignity, shower her with gracious love, and gift her with a sweet romance that surprises her. (Honestly, there are so many wonderful poetic quotes that I could share, but there are TOO many! I would end up quoting the entire book. You just need to go buy it for yourself.) Lest you think that the book is too heavy to endure, let me be the first to assure you that this is completely not the case! There is such delightful flirting (oh the winking! and the kissing!) and moments of pure fun and humor. I fell in love with countless characters from The Thorn Bearer - Ashleigh, Sam (I have a thing for winking apparently... and a new craving for LifeSavers candy), Jessica, David, Kara, Fanny, and even some of the more villainous characters won a place in my heart in the end. But my absolute favorite character is Fiona. She is a hoot and a half, if I may go Southern on you here for a moment. In fact, if I could choose one character from The Thorn Bearer with whom to spend a day, I believe I would have to choose Fiona simply for the laughter that would ensue! What a spitfire of a young lady! Climbing trees, snapping her fingers, telling it like it is. Can't wait for you all to meet her too. I loved all of the history that Ms. Basham was able to seamlessly incorporate into the story, the events playing out on the world stage coinciding with what happens to the characters without feeling at all like a history lesson. (You know what I'm talking about! You've read books where you turned to the back cover just to make sure your former history teacher didn't sneak in a textbook and call it fiction. I assure you - The Thorn Bearer remains always a novel, never in any danger of entering textbook territory :) ) (I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Tracy Slowiak for Readers' Favorite Drama. Intrigue. Heartbreak. And memorable historical events. All of these elements are what make up a great entry into the genre of historical fiction. And you’ll find all of them, and more, in The Thornbearer by debut author Pepper D. Basham. Follow our protagonist, Ashleigh Dougall, as she tries to escape the betrayals she’s suffered, first by being left behind by her fiancé only eight months before their wedding, and then the ultimate betrayal by her father, sexual abuse. Fleeing on the Lusitania, she finds that a fellow traveler is one she knows well, her childhood friend and the best friend of her former fiancé, Sam Miller. Not pleased to discover he’s aboard at first, Ashleigh soon realizes that her feelings for Sam may be deeper than just friendship. But will he, or she for that matter, be able to look past what she’s suffered, and get over the idea that she is a “ruined woman?” Will God’s plan for Ashleigh ever include true love and a supportive partner? The Thornbearer is a wonderful book. Not afraid to discuss the ravages of familial sexual abuse and the feelings that its victims often carry with them for the rest of their lives, author Pepper D. Basham does so with a real feeling of empathy and a sensitivity that is absolutely crucial with this subject matter. Strong Christian themes underlie this story, as well as those of redemption and vindication over very difficult life situations. Any reader who likes Christian fiction, historical fiction, or just a great read would love The Thornbearer, and it is my pleasure to highly recommend this book. This is the first in a planned trilogy in the Penned in Time series, and I certainly hope that Pepper D. Basham is very hard at work in the next installment!
SavannaKaiser More than 1 year ago
This story quickly caught my eye and touched my heart in ways I had not expected. Its intriguing cover and the historical pull to learn more about the Lusitania drew me to the book in the beginning, but the real pulse of the story is what I will remember the most. It’s a breathtaking story of redemption and healing, a powerful expression of grace and forgiveness. It made me cry and it made me laugh – both more than once. The characters are very real, very broken, and very relatable. None of them seemed one-dimensional. They each added depth and perspective to the plot as it grew. And I cared for them greatly. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Ashleigh and Sam. From the very start, I loved their friendship, their charming banter, and the way they complimented each other in both their strengths and their weaknesses. It all seemed so natural… and right… and romantic. The story touches on some painful and difficult issues, but it’s handled in a very honest and sensitive way. There is a lot of soul-searching throughout the book for these individuals. And I have a feeling it will encourage the same for many readers too. No matter what YOUR story is, I think Ashleigh’s story will move your heart in a big way. It wasn’t just the characters and their journeys that stood out to me, though. I loved how the conversations just flowed and their voices seemed almost audible. Not only was the author’s phrasing downright lovely, but there were countless quotes I wanted to write down for memory’s sake. They were that good. The truths of the text offer great encouragement for real life. This just-released debut is a special one.The historical pieces of the puzzle were there and added a great punch – and often surprise – to the story, but the real focus of The Thorn Bearer was about the people and their faith in God. Books like this make me so happy to be a reader and reviewer. I hope you’ll read it too! Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
BeckBeckBG More than 1 year ago
Ashleigh Dougall is a nurse who strives to help others while not taking care of herself emotionally. Sam Miller is her very best friend who hasn't a clue what deep and painful secret Ashleigh is hiding.  As the two sail the Lusitania, destruction follows them literally. Unexpected friends show up and family members turn out to be who they aren't pretending to be.  This book is a great book with a wonderful story line about letting go and depending on God to lead you through life. Does Sam and Ashleigh go through life together? One must read the book to find out! ;)
Writingsof_Rosie More than 1 year ago
A moving, incredible story! Set in 1915, The Thorn Bearer follows Ashleigh and Sam on their journey to emotional healing. Both individuals have not had it easy growing up, though in different ways. Both also have scars that are not easily forgotten. This is where the beauty of this story comes out. Ashleigh and Sam's struggles are real and relatable. Readers can sympathize and understand, which is valuable in a story. The theme of forgiveness is beautifully done. Some may think this theme is overdone in fiction, but I disagree. We need to be reminded just how important the act of forgiveness is. This book isn't preachy or in your face, but it does show the consequences of harboring bitterness instead of forgiving. It also presents the freedom that's found in forgiveness. The Thorn Bearer simply does an excellent job all around. Overall, I was impressed. It's an easy read and the story drives you forward, making it effortless to turn pages. I can safely recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction, ages seventeen and up. You can't go wrong by checking this one out! I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!
libraryboy More than 1 year ago
Ashleigh has hidden the secret of what happened between her and her father from everyone, but the pain has caused countless struggles in her life.  With a disastrous end to her engagement to Michael, Ashleigh was on her way back to England to assist as a nurse at a local hospital.  The trip across  the Atlantic aboard the Lusitania was going to be a struggle of a different kind, as her companion was  to be Sam Miller, her best friend and sister’s latest throw away.  Sam is in need of a final response  from Ashleigh’s sister, Catherine, on where they relationship stood.  But based on notes from her  mother back in England, that relationship was as good as over.  Despite the warnings from Germany  over the dangers of sailing into England, the boat sets sail and is within a stone’s throw of land when  it is leveled by a couple of torpedo explosions.  As the ship goes down, Ashleigh is separated from  Sam as the women and children are loaded onto life boats.  As Ashleigh frantically searches for Sam,  she’s in fear of losing the one man who had won her heart.  Can Ashleigh find Sam amidst the turmoil  of the ship sinking? Will they finally come clean about their feelings for each other? Will the secret from  her past, the one that she can’t forgive, keep her from having a lasting relationship?  Get on the boat  and set sail and go BUY THIS BOOK!!!    Set in the early 1900’s and the early stages of the WWI battles, this book is written with a great  emphasis on social customs as well as social norms during that time period.  It’s always interesting to  me to see what would have been frowned upon as inappropriate during that time that is almost  common place today.  I loved how the author switched between Sam and Ashleigh to provide you  with additional insights into thoughts and actions, but not so much to distract from the main storyline.  This story is about forgiveness.  The act of forgiving others and allowing them second chances to make  things right, and also forgiving yourself and making a new beginning.   Is this a "Man’s Book"?   This is not my typical genre to read, and I probably would have passed it up on my library shelf if I was looking for something to read.  I will say, though, that this book fascinated  me with the way the author worked in biblical truths and principles in the daily lives of the characters.  As much as I wanted to put this book down, I was never able to do it, until I read the final page.  This  may not be filled with action and adventure and mind-numbing intrigue, but it is filled with a great story  of redemption and forgiveness that everyone needs to read about.
AngiOakley More than 1 year ago
Pepper Basham has written an amazing debut novel and I look forward to the rest of the series. To say “The Thorn Bearer” is a fantastic read would be an understatement. Ms. Basham has a wonderful way with words that completely hooks the reader from page one and takes them on a journey that includes a cameo appearance of the Historical luxury ocean liner, the ill-fated Lusitania. Ashleigh Dougall harbors a heart breaking secret from her past, one that makes it difficult to forgive the one man who should have protected her. Her father. As a result, she seeks to help others through compassion, hoping it will help her forget. However, forgetting is impossible when her heart begins to stir for her best friend, Sam Miller. But if he ever finds out her secret, his rejection could be a lasting consequence. And for Ashleigh, rejection isn’t an option. Ashleigh and Sam’s story totally pulled me in, not letting go to the very end. It gave me a glimpse of her strength and his sweetness, the two complementing each other. At the same time, it showed their personal struggles and how God dealt with them in His own quiet way. Well done, Ms. Basham! I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
The Thorn Bearer is an amazing debut by Pepper Basham. Wow! This girl has got talent. She uses the subject of sexual abuse to show the power of forgiveness and moving forward from actions in the past. I like how she brings out this heavy subject and realistically does so. Every scene I felt as though I was there and as one of the characters. Especially, during the scenes of the sinking of Lusitania.  I loved this book and look forward to more by this author and series. Highly recommended. 5 plus stars.
AJCattapan More than 1 year ago
I don't often read romance novels, but I'm glad I read this one. Basham weaves a lovely tale of forgiveness into this inspirational historical fiction novel. I don't like to give much away, but if you liked the movie Titanic and the World War I episodes of Downton Abbey (when they were caring for the injured soldiers right at the house), you'll enjoy The Thorn Bearer.
eLynda More than 1 year ago
A Stunning Debut Novel! The cover image for The Thorn Bearer immediately drew my attention—so dark and mysterious that I had to know what it was about. I was hooked at the mention of the Lusitania, given its tragic history, but do admit to some measure of apprehension after I read about the heroine’s painful childhood. Knowing that God can redeem any past, however, I decided to take a chance and request to read this book early and leave a review.  I don't know that I have ever had a debut novel leave me speechless, but that is exactly what Pepper D. Basham has done. About a quarter of the way through, I took a deep breath as the Lusitania sank below the waves and held on as long as I could. I was stunned by the depth and power evoked by the writing. The storyline is amazing and the characters are well-developed representations of flawed human beings. I can gratefully share that the abuse is always handled in an appropriate manner, and the hope filled perspective is one that many hurting people, regardless of the manner in which they are scarred, need to read. Forgiveness is front and center for much of the novel, as is Ashleigh’s struggle with letting go of the bitterness that she is understandably reluctant to release.  The spiritual component is integral in this novel with various characters experiencing God’s work in them and through them; as in real life, no one is at the same place spiritually. Tentative trust, disbelief and vibrant relationship with Him are all visible at various points in the novel. As the reader, we get to watch how God is always at work, even when those in the thick of the battle may not know it. I really am unsure how Ms. Basham was able to work so much into these pages; the historical research that went into this novel is obvious and the writing and tone all contributed to immerse me in a book that was hard to put down for any length of time. The romance is beautifully done and captivating as we watch the two characters tentatively work their way toward each other despite the hurts of the past. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this book for any historical fan from older teen on up (given the sensitive subject matter). I received an advanced copy of this book from the author in exchange for this honest review.
Griperang72a More than 1 year ago
I don't normally read e-books as they are not my thing but this story drew my attention so I thought I would give it a shot. I am glad I did as this was a great book. This book takes you on an emotional journey from beginning to end. It deals with a sensitive subject but it is done with finesse. Sexual abuse is oftentimes swept under the rug but Pepper brings it front and center and how Ashley dealt with it. She does it in a way that is tasteful and not "dirty" as most people think of this issue. You will follow Ashley through her journey of healing. The author did a good job with her research to make the historical aspects of this book come to life. There is history,romance,faith, and forgiveness in this book which makes the story move right along. The characters are very well developed and I connected with Ashley right from the start. I can't wait for the next book in this series to come out. 
RachsRamblings More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing read of how powerful and life changing God's forgiveness can be. The character development is so strong, that the reader truly feels the emotions of the journey they take learning the lessons God so graciously teaches them. I loved the writing style, and the message of love and faith is incredibly powerful. This is one of those books that hits straight at the heart.  I highly recommend this read for adult readers...especially anyone struggling with something in the past or present that needs forgiving, but the act seems impossible. The fact that it is historical fiction is a great bonus. I loved the time and place for the setting of the book as it isn't a common one. Enjoy this read! I look forward to more from this author. I received this book free from the author for my honest opinion which I have given.
Griperang72 More than 1 year ago
THIS BOOK IS A FIVE STAR BOOK. I ACCIDENTLY HIT THE WRONG BUTTON WHEN I WENT TO PUBLISH MY REVIEW AND THIS SITE HAS NO WAY TO CORRECT THAT SO I AM POSTING MY REVIEW THE WAY IT  WAS MEANT TO BE. I OWE THE AUTHOR AN APOLOGY FOR MY MISTAKEThis is an amazing read of how powerful and life changing God's forgiveness can be. The character development is so strong, that the reader truly feels the emotions of the journey they take learning the lessons God so graciously teaches them. I loved the writing style, and the message of love and faith is incredibly powerful. This is one of those books that hits straight at the heart.  I highly recommend this read for adult readers...especially anyone struggling with something in the past or present that needs forgiving, but the act seems impossible. The fact that it is historical fiction is a great bonus. I loved the time and place for the setting of the book as it isn't a common one. Enjoy this read! I look forward to more from this author.. 
LoraineN More than 1 year ago
This is truly a story of God’s redemption and a lesson in how God is enough. It was more of a love story between Ashleigh and God rather than between her and Sam. I enjoyed watching her begin to heal from the bitterness and disappointments that her past left her with. I won a copy of this book in a book giveaway, I was not required to give it a positive review. 3 1/2 stars - Full review at my website.
GailHollingsworth More than 1 year ago
Pepper Basham has hit a homerun with her debut novel The Thornbearer.  She writes as a seasoned author with characters so real and surroundings so vividly described that I could almost feel like I was there.  Ashleigh boards the ill fated Lusitania bound for France during turbulent war times.  It is torpedoed and subsequently sinks.  Ashleigh finds herself in the cold waters after her lifeboat flips.  I was holding my breath and feeling the cold waters right along with her.  She is rescued and finds herself looking through the many bodies on shore for her friend Sam and her former fiancé Michael and his new wife.  The descriptions of what she saw were so heartbreaking that I found myself crying.  Follow Ashleigh along with her recovery, her attempts to start an orphanage, all while she works as a nurse caring for wounded soldiers.  There is love, family secrets, betrayal, and hurt and shame caused by the very one who is supposed to love and protect her at her most venerable time.  But the main theme running through the whole story is forgiveness.  Ashleigh has a very hard time forgiving Michael, her sister Caroline, but most of all her father. She also has to deal with her own feelings about herself.  And she asks where was God during all this?  I read the ebook, given to me by the author for my honest review, which I have given.  The paperback version is being released on May 7, the anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania.  Whichever you choose to purchase you can't go wrong.  I highly recommend this book!