Introducing Titus in a Story of Love That Steals Hearts
The title hinted of Jane Austen. The location—Bath, England. It had to be, right? Without even reading the synopsis, I knew I’d enjoy it. Combine a beautiful cover with an adorable title and hand it all to Pepper Basham to work her magic, and it had to be… well, magical.
It was, too.
It was not, however, a modern Austen retelling. Instead, Basham shows what happens when the golden rays of sunshine beam on a closed-tight rosebud. Jane is so tightly buttoned up that I feared she’d smother herself, and Titus is determined to show her how to breathe again.
Set in damp, foggy England just before Christmastime, Jane by the Book takes us on a journey to discover the end of a love story that began a hundred-fifty years ago, and in the process, creates a new, beautiful one for today.
In Jane, we meet ourselves—the part of ourselves that shies away from adventures that might lead to disappointments. We meet our insecurities and like her, refuse to face them. And, when given half a chance, we see that previous rejection does not make us a hopeless reject.
However, in Titus we meet our alter-egos—the part of us we hope we don’t show too often but wish we could embrace more. Our authentic, raw, real, and beautifully transparent selves. Because of Titus, we remember that talking to ourselves is normal—even when it’s not. That fun, quirky, likable people are often awkward and poor communicators when they most want to be understood.
In Titus, Pepper Basham created a character I couldn’t have ever hoped for—a hero I fell in love with from almost the first few words about him. In Titus, I found a new favorite male character that only Basham could have written.
Titus demonstrates that whole-hearted, unconditional love everyone desires and wants to offer as well. He’s adorably honest in his personal struggles, and one of my favorite parts of this book is when he confesses that a certain clothing style creates a personal struggle for him. I love that Basham showed that every man is different. What one man wouldn’t notice, another would have to fight temptation over. And she did it all without becoming preachy. Beautiful.
As is common in Basham’s books, the sub-plot/mystery keeps the story turning, and every bit of it builds and unfolds exactly as it needs to—just like the faith element does. I wonder if that is connected, because with both of them, one more thing would have made it unbelievable and overdone. One less would have created gaping holes that killed the impact. Instead, we’re given exactly what we need to see the story and the spiritual truths she wanted us to have.
However, my favorite element in this book is the kissing. Yep. The queen of kiss-phobia loves a “kissing book.” Why? Because Pepper Basham created a trigger to show where Titus’ mind went without constantly shoving locked-lips into my face. Seriously, the way she did this is nothing less than genius. It probably wouldn’t work with any other character in any other book, but it filled the page with sweetness that comes from knowing how to craft beautiful imagery without dousing it in cloying perfume.
Recommended for lovers of all things bookish and British, but especially for readers who love a good man—flaws and everything.