Hope between the pages

Reviewed by:

Cindy Akre


Hope between the pages (Doors to the Past)


Pepper Basham



Publication date:

April 2021




256 pages


Clara Blackwell, a;long with her mother,  is running a century old bookstore in Asheville, NC in the shadow of the beautiful Biltmore Estate. When she discocers a forgotten letter, it opens a Pandora’s box of mystery and romance. Clara moves “out of her box” and embarks on a quest with the name of Oliver, traveling to England in search of answers and romance.

Though the author gave no historical input into this book’s inspiration, the quote following which is attributed to the servant (Sadie) who oversaw the Biltmore library and those related duties. On p. 224, Sadie reflects on two of the Vanderbilt’s ideas for helping those challenged by circumstances, one was the Biltmore School of Domestic Science, which trained black women so they could find gainful employment and the second was The Moonlight schools that taught illiterate estate workers how to read and wrote. These inspired Sadie in a surprising way near the end of the book. They had a Biltmore Forest School as well, a first in the United States to teach forestry.

These two schools mentioned in the book actually existed. The forest school was not mentioned as it did not pertain to the interest on Sadie’s part to make a difference in the lives of those challenged by the demands of life. At the time, too, were the “class”differences that existed, lending to another aspect of challenge for many who sought a life after servitude with no ability to read, write or find employment. This book is fantastic, and you’ll love reading it.


5 out of 5

Suggested audience:

Adult fans of Christian fiction and those who appreciate the Biltmore Estate.

Christian impact:

Threaded throughout are the themes of spirituality.

About ECLA Web Team

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals. This account is managed by the ECLA Web Team.

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