Sunday, May 19, 2013

THE "CADENCE OF GRACE" SERIES FROM AUTHOR JOANNE BISCHOF--a spiritual journey for two hearts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia at the beginning of the twentieth century

Though My Heart Is Torn (The Cadence of Grace #2)
Gideon O’Riley has two wives—but he doesn’t know it.
Settling into a simple life in the majestic Blue Ridge mountains, Lonnie and Gideon O’Riley have finally found happiness after the rocky start to their marriage. The roguish bluegrass musician has fallen in love with his gentle wife and the God she serves, and Lonnie rests secure in his tenderness for her and their young son. A heartless ruse interrupts their peace, bringing them back to Rocky Knob—and forces them to face the claims of Cassie Allan, a woman who says she is Gideon’s rightful wife.

As Gideon wades into the depths of his past choices, Lonnie is stunned by the revelations. She has no choice but to navigate this new path, knowing that surviving the devastating blow will take every ounce of strength  she has.

While Gideon’s guilt  and his bitterness towards Cassie threatens to burn up his fledgling faith, Lonnie wrestles to find the courage to trust the God who brought them together in the first place. Will their hard-earned love be able to conquer all?

Lonnie only wanted her husband’s love. Now that he belongs to another, can she surrender Gideon to a God with a bigger plan?
Our lives here on Earth are an ongoing work in progress, as we face many trials and tribulations which test our faith. With the first book in her "Cadence of Grace" series, "Be Still My Soul", author Joanne Bischof introduced us to Lonnie Sawyer and Gideon O'Riley, who live in the rural poverty of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia at the beginning of the twentieth century. Lonnie is a shy young woman, blessed with a beautiful singing voice like her mother's. She and her siblings, along with their mother, live under the rule of her abusive father. Gideon is a young, handsome musician who would rather play music and pursue all-too-willing pretty young things than work for a living. A talented wood crafter, he chafes at other responsibilities. Due to a misunderstanding, Lonnie and Gideon are forced into marriage. Their journey to eventual happiness is filled with emotional strife, physical hardship, and spiritual searching. With book two in the series, "Though My Heart is Torn", Lonnie and Gideon look forward to a life of joy with their baby son Jacob, only to have a startling secret from Gideon's past shatter their carefully guarded hopes. Gideon never told Lonnie that his intimate relationship with Cassie Allan, a girl whom he knew before Lonnie, had led to a brief marriage. Later, Gideon and Cassie had signed divorce papers, and he did not know that she never filed the papers. Now, Cassie has come forward, claiming that she is still Gideon's wife, and she does not want a divorce. Through the decisions of the local clergy, the laws of the state, and the physical threats of Cassie's brothers, Gideon is forced to annul his marriage to Lonnie and renew his vows to Cassie. Heartbroken, Lonnie leaves Gideon behind and returns to the home they had found with an older couple on their farm. While Lonnie and Gideon long to be reunited, each must deal with the pain of their separation and the reasons why they are no longer together. Gideon's new and hard-won faith is greatly tested, and Lonnie, who has a deep, lifelong faith is emotionally battered. Will Gideon ever be free to return to Lonnie and Jacob? Author Joanne Bischof is an intriguing and compelling storyteller. Her works are exquisitely-wrought, heartrending, and surprising. At the core of her work is a great and abiding faith which ever reminds the reader that the Lord does not promise us that we will not suffer in life. He does promise that after we leave this world, those who believe in him will be given an everlasting life free of pain and suffering. I highly recommend the "Cadence of Grace" series, and I greatly look forward to book three, "My Hope is Found".

Review Copy Gratis Multnomah Books
Be Still My Soul (The Cadence of Grace #1)
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?
I was born and raised, and still reside, in the beautiful mountains of Virginia. This is a timeless place--as much as things change, they remain the same. The constancy of the mountains is comforting and immovable. Author Joanne Bischof offers a look at life in rural Appalachia in "Be Still My Soul". Lonnie Sawyer and her mother and siblings live under the rule of Lonnie's abusive alcoholic father. Lonnie's refuge is her Aunt Sarah, who offers brief respites from family troubles with readings from the Bible in her home. Lonnie and her mother are both blessed with beautiful singing voices, and at one local musical get-together, her father's pushes her up on stage. When handsome mandolin player Gideon O'Riley walks her home and asks for a kiss, both of their lives are forever changed. At first reluctant, Lonnie agrees to a kiss, but ladies man Gideon wants much more. Ashamed, Lonnie breaks away and runs back to her house before Gideon can have his way. The next day, to her horror, she discovers that her father witnessed the kiss, and he assumes the worst. Lonnie and Gideon are forced by both their fathers into a quick marriage ceremony. Taken away from her family and home, and now married to a resentful man whom she barely knows, Lonnie struggles for emotional survival. Her faith is as indelible as the mountains themselves, but can she endure what awaits? Gideon grew up in a different atmosphere from Lonnie. He was not abused, but he felt trapped by the lifestyle of the generations which had come before him. His music and woodworking skill were his refuge. He was attractive to women, and he went from one to another without a care. Now he was married, and he no longer could drift along through life. Goaded by his friends and emboldened by moonshine liquor, Gideon does have his way with Lonnie, which they both regret. Gideon is not kind to Lonnie, leaving her no choice but to follow him as they walk away from their home area toward a town which may offer work. With no money, and no transportation, they walk and walk, day after day. They find shelter with a kind older couple, Jebediah and Elsie, who have a nice homestead. Having witnessed Gideon's less than kind treatment of Lonnie, Jeb is a stern taskmaster, and Gideon works harder than he ever has in his life. Lonnie discovers that she is expecting a baby, adding to the chains of responsibility which weigh heavily on Gideon. At times, "Be Still My Soul" is tough to read. The poverty, abuse, alcoholism, and lack of education are all part of a continuing cycle. Yet, there is beauty to be found, as faith shines through, and hearts grow together as life goes on. While some never escape from the bleakness of an impoverished existence, others find riches beyond compare in an abiding faith. Gideon and Lonnie endure much, each having to find their own path before they meet as one heart. Highly recommended.

Review Copy Gratis Multnomah Books

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