Author: Joanne Bischof
Publisher: Mason Jar Books
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2016
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Genre: Fiction; Historical, Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5
REVIEW | Sometimes a novel comes along that delights, enchants and entertains. Sometimes a novel comes along that disappoints and ends in disaster. And then, sometimes, a book comes along that couples only good things and leaves its readers speechless. One such novel is The Lady and the Lionheart. This is the kind of novel that left me nervous to attempt a review because it’s that good. But as I sit down to write out my thoughts in what I hope is a coherent manner, I am again flooded with memories (these few days later) of how memorable this story is.
Inside its pages we meet Ella Beckley, a young nurse caring for everyone save for the wounds scarring her own past. Into her life, the bigger-than-life Charlie Lionheart walks. Guarding not only secrets of his own – and eventually, his heart against Ella, Charlie has more than himself to protect against the threat physically scarring his life. Having traveled with the Big Top for as long as he can remember, meeting Ella opens Charlie’s eyes to their being more to life. But with their bruised hearts, first they have to discover healing and hope before each other.
She swallowed the burn of tears, consumed with her love for him and the way it mixed with the heaviness of loss. Of shock and broken hopes. – Joanne Bischof
Each of the novels I have been privileged to read by Joanne has been like an intricate step into yesteryear. She has a beautiful way of spinning a tale that isn’t just about the narration it’s about telling a story. Believe me, there’s a difference. The Lady and the Lionheart is brimming with greater complexity than I anticipated probably because I didn’t read a description before I opened my Kindle app and simply began reading. The journey is all the more rewarding because of this. We’re not only invited into Ella and Charlie’s story but are beckoned inside their world which is full of wonder and mythical things. Set in the circus scene circa 1890, the enchantment of the setting is only the beginning.
Within the author’s rich tapestry, a stage is set that gently prods out the best (and worst) of these characters. The result of this is always beautiful. Fairytale enthusiasts will also be pleased to discover this is, at its heart, a romance that looks deeper and in many ways revisions the beloved Beauty and the Beast. Ella and Charlie’s journey is not only about the romance of their growing feelings, it’s about them becoming whole people as individuals, and seeking healing. Ella is searching for forgiveness she didn’t know she needed to give, and Charlie is searching for redemption he shouldn’t have to seek.
If you like historical fiction, they don’t come any more sincere or genuine than those penned by Joanne Bischof. The Lady and the Lionheart is a superb example of what it means to artfully craft fiction. It’s messy in its imperfections and allows its characters to breathe before they are reunited. Believe me, this heartbreak is worth it. Not only does this novel reward its characters, it rewards its readers, which is the greatest gift we can ask for. ❤
Synopsis: Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.
As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own. – Goodreads
Coming Next from Joanne Bischof, A Boy and Wild Horses: With his black and white landscapes celebrated beside those of the famous Ansel Adams, 21-year-old Ramsey Moss has more professional drive than most of his college classmates. Faring better behind the lens than in relationships, the west coaster believes it’s easier to capture the still earth than living things. But when a New York editor wants to contract him for a book of Southwest images—including the elusive wild mustang—Ramsey signs on the dotted line.
Having only spring break to complete the project, Ramsey is in over his head. Enter Sienna Walsh. The teen conservationist who skips prom to write articles on wildlife. With stage one Cerebral Palsy, exploring the California desert with the adventurer places Sienna face to face with her greatest limits. Yet it’s the very place she finds strength…and through that strength, Ramsey will discover a horizon he would have otherwise missed. – 2017
Sincere thanks to the author for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.
Review text is © Rissi JC and first appeared on Finding Wonderland (Dreaming Under the Same Moon), RissiWrites.com