Sunday, September 9, 2012

Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof

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?

Gideon only ever cared about himself. Now that Lonnie is his wife, will he ever be worthy of her heart?
Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof was a sweet and spellbinding novel that I really enjoyed. The plot line was interesting and had several unexpected twists that really added to the suspense of the novel. The story was intriguing and held my interest so well that I finished the novel in one sitting. The story was told in third person, but it still alternated between Gideon and Lonnie's point of views.
The characters of Be Still My Soul were definitely my favorite part of the novel. The characters had their strengths, but their flaws were clear and realistic. The couple that Gideon and Lonnie meet halfway through the novel were beautiful foils to the flaws that both Lonnie and Gideon had. The farmer, Jeremiah, was eccentric and craggy in temperament, but he was loyal and caring and taught Gideon new lessons about love and faithfulness. Jeremiah's wife helped soothe Lonnie's wounded heart and prepare her for being a loving yet confident wife. Lonnie was a sweet character who had been slightly mistreated by her father much of her life. She began to experience an expansion in her character in the novel, and she learned to trust in God and His faithfulness and peace even when Gideon was a selfish jerk. Gideon was my favorite character in the novel because of the incredible transformations that occurred in his life. I do not want to give too much away, but his growth as a man and husband were amazing to watch.
The themes in this novel were clear and convicting. Some the topic and themes the author explored included was the need for love and respect in marriage, trusting in God's love and faithfulness, a willingness to forgive, and the importance of unselfishness and turning to God for guidance.
I really enjoyed Joanne Bischof's first installment in her Cadence of Grace series, and I look forward to reading her other novels.
I received this novel for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Press in exchange for an honest review.  

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