Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review of Be Still My Soul

by Joanne Bischof

Gideon only ever cared
about himself.
Now that Lonnie is his
wife, will he ever be
worthy of her heart?

Night’s chill tickled her skin. Lonnie pressed her hands together and glanced up. He was even more handsome up close. Having grown up the shy, awkward daughter of Joel Sawyer, she’d hardly spoken to any boy, let alone the one who had mothers whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns.
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?  

Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia at the turn of the last century, Be Still My Soul weaves together the threads of yearning, hope, and redemption to form a tale that I hope will touch your heart, stir your senses, and evoke a greater understanding for the majestic God who created every hue and surface of the mountains I hold so dear.

My thoughts about Be Still My Soul:
I was very excited to read this book as it is an Appalachian Christian romance and I live in Virginia and my husband and I have been camping in Rocky Knob where the story takes place.   It was very interesting to read about the Appalachian culture of yesteryear.    I was quite fascinated with the music, the clothing, the food and trade for products needed, the moonshiners even, and the family dynamics.    I would say that, honestly, in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia, some of these parts of the culture still hold true.  
The characters were very interesting as well.  Lonnie, Gideon, Jebediah, and Elsie are particularly likable characters.   The abusive family members were equally easy to dislike or at least to feel a distaste for their actions and thoughts.    I did have a little trouble "getting into the story in the early chapters" but by the middle of the book, I was reading with bated breath to see what would happen next.  I liked the scriptural references through the book and the "praying without ceasing" that took place by a few characters.   I think that this is a very worthwhile book and one that readers would find enjoyable.   I am going to be looking for other books by this author in the future.  
About the Author:

Joanne Bischof is married to her first sweetheart, and lives in the mountains of Southern California where she keeps busy making messes with her homeschooled 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.   Be Still My Soul is her first novel.   Her blog website is:

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