Through WaterBrook Multonomah’s Blogging for Books program, I received an advanced reader copy of the novel Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof.
Be Still My Soul lingers in my mind like a cautionary tale along the lines of Carousel or Showboat—except that this story is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia during the turn of the last century. A simple backwoods girl named Lonnie is the steadfast woman of faith beyond her years in love with a barely redeemable cad named Gideon. I sympathized with Lonnie and wanted Gideon out of the picture. However, unlike those aforementioned sad tales, Gideon changes before it’s too late and starts to become the hero Lonnie hopes for.
As I read, I could image Lonnie and Gideon as old folks, white-haired and wise. They’d be sitting side-by-side on porch rockers, looking out at the majesty of God’s creation, sharing this story as a flashback. For surely, the trials of their early days would teach a young married couple what NOT to do! Actually, the lessons they learn will strike home with any heart that has been prone to wander from the Lord or battled to remain hopeful through heartbreak and broken dreams. And though the spiritual thread is strong, don’t think you’ll be bored with this book. There’s also plenty of action!
Joanne Bischof’s Be Sill My Soul is a page-turner, imbued chapter-by-chapter with the lovely fragrance of an author who knows God intimately. I recommend it to all lovers of historical fiction that inspires.
Want to know more about the author of this fine story? Today on the blog, “meet” Joanne Bischof! Married to her first sweetheart, Joanne Bischof lives in the mountains of Southern California, where she keeps busy making messes with her home-schooled children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, writing, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life.
Taken from her website, here’s Joanne’s testimony and reason for writing, in her own words: “From moments that are joyous to moments that are bittersweet and even in the midst of a broken heart, with paper and ink as my medium, I write to illustrate love—the gift that was given to us by the One who loves the most.
I have rejoiced through countless blessings—my amazing children, a husband I adore, and the privilege to write every day. Like so many others, I have experienced the full spectrum. I know what it’s like to be so completely broken that I didn’t know if the sun would truly rise the next morning. But I felt God move in a miraculous way. A way that forced me to leap into His waiting arms. A place where safety and peace reign.
I’ve experienced the abundant mercy of Christ when he reached down, picked me up, and held me until the tears subsided. I’ve encountered the promise that out of brokenness springs new life. And in that new life, I discovered the overwhelming urge to rejoice and praise the God who saves. The God who was, who is, and who is to come.
We all have ways of bringing offerings to His feet. Words and the telling of story are the gifts that I lay down. It is my constant prayer that they honor and please Him. It’s my desire to write about characters who have nowhere else to go but up—characters desperate for God’s strength, mercy, and forgiveness.”
Need more details? Here’s the “official” back cover copy for Be Still My Soul, the first story in Joanne’s Cadence of Grace Series: Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith. But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate.
Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.
Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life. What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?
***Thanks to WaterBrook Multonomah for providing a copy for me to review. Follow this link to pre-order a copy for yourself.