Hope Between the Pages, стр. 1

Praise for

Hope Between the Pages

“Enchanting from the first page, readers will be swept along on a journey that proves true love isn’t just a fairy tale to be found in books. Romance and charm are around every corner as two people find that differences mean nothing when they share the same heart.”

–J’nell Ciesielski, author of

The Socialite and Beauty Among Ruins

“A hauntingly beautiful dual-time story laced with the elegance of the Vanderbilts and the lure of a cozy bookstore. Pepper Basham entrances readers with a love story that will linger long after they tuck the book gently back onto their shelf. This is a story of love, of challenge, and most of all, legacy.”

–Jaime Jo Wright, author of Christy Award–winning

The House on Foster Hill, and Christy Award–

nominated Echoes Among the Stones

“An amiable escape into the beloved world of books. Splitting time between the present and the past, Basham creates vivid historical land-scapes to transport the reader to the age of the Great War and to the lavish world of the famed Vanderbilts’ mansion. Paired with modern-day jaunts from a storied bookshop to the famed Asheville estate and the charm of the English countryside, vintage-loving heroine Clara’s uncovering of her own hidden past will leave readers wishing they’ve walked in the characters’ footsteps themselves. Hope Between the Pages is a love letter to libraries and literature…to books and their quaint little shops…and to the timeless stories they tell—a fairy tale of a journey that will invite readers to fall in love with their favorite stories all over again!”

–Kristy Cambron, Christy Award–winning author

of The Paris Dressmaker and The Butterfly and the Violin

Hope Between the Pages

©2021 by Pepper Basham

Print ISBN 978-1-64352-826-7

eBook Editions:

Adobe Digital Edition (.epub) 978-1-64352-828-1

Kindle and MobiPocket Edition (.prc) 978-1-64352-827-4

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher.

All scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.

See the series lineup and get bonus content at DoorsToThePastSeries.com

Cover Photograph: Mark Owen/Trevillion Images

Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc., 1810 Barbour Drive, Uhrichsville, Ohio 44683, www.barbourbooks.com

Our mission is to inspire the world with the life-changing message of the Bible.

Printed in the United States of America.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 1

August, 1915

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina

Any story that begins with a library is bound to be an excellent tale.

I smiled as I weaved my way down the narrow corridors of Biltmore’s servants’ halls, careful to keep myself hidden from the newly arrived guests. My mother’s quote ushered my feet into a faster pace. There were many pleasures in working in the illustrious estate house, but none rivaled seeing the expressions of guests as they stepped over the threshold into Biltmore’s library for the first time.

Into my territory.

The main second-floor sitting room stood vacant as I peered around the doorway from the servants’ corridor. Early morning stillness blanketed the room like the sunlight through the tall easternfacing windows of the grand stairwell, giving the dim passageway a sleepy golden hue. Nothing stirred. Not one movement.

Gripping my skirt, I dashed down the hallway and around the corner, finally disappearing into the darkness of the secret staircase.

I could have used myriad other entrances to the library, of course, but this one was my favorite. More intimate and special. Every morning I would find my way to the secret staircase behind the massive marble fireplace and begin taking care of the library. It was mine, so to speak. Mine to dust and organize and present with as much pride as each of the ten thousand book spines commanded from the two-story shelves surrounding the room.

It was due to Mother that I obtained such a coveted position as the “book maid.” Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt had been kind enough to allow me to assume her position when she grew too ill to manage it, and I would not take the opportunity for granted. How could I? I was entrusted with a page-ridden wonderland. Few people appreciated such an appointment as I did. Books breathed to me.

I emerged from the shadowed staircase into the massive room that woke with morning light like something from a fairy story. My gaze immediately moved to a shelf to my left that held some Brothers Grimm, Andersen, and even MacDonald, though most of the fairy-tale stories were scattered throughout the rest of the house. Also under my care.

The host of characters from Pellegrini’s enormous painting stared down from their clouded perch on the ceiling as if watching the movements of the room from heaven itself. Sometimes, I felt like them, wondering how the stories on the shelves might match or impact the stories of the lives stepping into the room. It was a fascinating study—a beloved pastime—and welcome entertainment for a servant who loved books and lived to be invisible.

Stories held power and everyone told one, whether the characters within the story knew it or not.

I’d only served in my position for nine months, gratefully pulled from the kitchens, so I hadn’t carved out the time to read every volume; but one day, I’d know each one on these shelves. My gaze took inventory of the enormous space, viewing the rows and rows of wonderfully symmetrical adventures, romances, histories, and dozens of other genres waiting for a new reader’s perusal.

Duster in hand, I started for the shelf I’d ended on the day before when footsteps from below paused my feet. There was nowhere to hide except the cornered shadow between the bookshelf and upper part of the two-story window curtain draping