book, Book Review

Though my Heart is Torn by Joanne Bischof

About the Book:Cades Cove
Author: Joanne Bischof
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2013
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Series: Cadence of Grace, Book 2
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Inspirational
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review: Despite being comfortable in the reading habits I have developed over these many years, I’m a girl who can appreciate discovering new books and their authors, but am also a reader who likes to read books that have a high chance of being favorite reads. Anything less and in forcing myself to read a book, the joy of reading vanishes. This particular novel has several attributes and despite my skepticism, it’s fair to say, because of those glowing qualities, I’ve learned that sometimes a risk pays off – in the quietest of ways. Lonnie O’Riley had a rough start to her marriage. It came about after a horrible misunderstanding and now she and her husband, Gideon have found happiness in their small home. Just as the two have finally found each other, they are summoned home again, and Lonnie’s world is shattered when she is told that Gideon is actually married to a girl he grew up with, Cassie Allen. Devastated not just for the loss of her marriage, but also for the sake of their young son, following an unceremonious annulment of their marriage, Lonnie packs up their son and in agreement with Gideon, she returns to the home they made sure that only her faith will give her the courage to build a new life for herself – without Gideon.

Books that take familiar elements and throw out the “rules” are the stories that touch our heart, leaving in their wake a lingering touch that makes the narrative hard to forget. This is what Though My Heart is Torn is all about. Even having the handicap of not reading book one didn’t put a damper on what this story has to say. Being the middle book didn’t – or I cannot imagine it did – drag down this series as the “curse” some middle books suffer (or can) in so many readers estimation, and instead, in many ways, this is probably the strongest book in the trio because of its emotional punch. This is the kind of book any aspiring writer wishes they could accomplish. The poignancy and careful approach Joanne took with it is breathtaking. The characters have their emotions, hearts and dreams stripped bare, which is what in turn makes us fear for their futures. It’s in the heartbreak; it’s in the romance; it’s in the faith; it’s in the word building, it’s in everything; the love in its narrative breaks down barriers and opens up wounded characters for us to cry with. It’s the weaknesses that are the book’s strength.

Unusual to some of the market, there is a quality of goodness to the story that isn’t always found in the Christian fiction historical genre and it literally took me for a spin and I respected the story all the more for it. Part of the reason I don’t get “into” this era as much in historical fiction is because I, regretfully, find it boring. Something about the “prairie life” just doesn’t pull me in no matter how much respect I have for those who lived the life, so when a book like this comes along, I’m all the more astounded, pleased and surprised that it tugs at me. Joanne did an outstanding job creating a new kind of theme within a common era just because she dared to write a book that risked “safe,” and for that reason, I suspect this is one of the rare historical novels that won’t be giving up its place on my bookshelf in favor of something else anytime soon.

Synopsis: 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? – Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for INSPY consideration.

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2 thoughts on “Though my Heart is Torn by Joanne Bischof”

  1. I adored this series of books! If you get an opportunity to, I would suggest reading the first book (and of course the third). This series touched my heart in a way a lot of novels don’t. I think the emotions of the characters are so raw that I can feel what they feel.

    1. Hi, D.L. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

      I adored this middle book, so I expect to also enjoy the other two novels in the series. You put it beautifully – this book just has that “something” that touches its reader and the result is memorable.

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