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4.6 out of 5 stars
Be Still My Soul: The Cadence of Grace, Book 1
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
I've heard of shot-gun weddings before, but never read a book about one! Be Still My Soul, by Joanne Bischof, is an excellent read. I could barely put this book down!

Through a misunderstanding, two young people from the Appalachian hills, Lonnie and Gideon, are forced into a shot-gun wedding. Lonnie is a sweet, innocent 17-year old, while 22-year old Gideon is a ladies' man who doesn't want to be attached to anyone, let alone a young woman he doesn't care for. The story highlights the rocky start to their relationship, the struggles and blessings that ensue in their unwanted marriage, and how their love for each other eventually grows, despite many trials along the way. Throughout the book, you can see how Lonnie and Gideon's faith and trust in God grows.

I'm used to lots of romance in most Christian fiction, but this book was definitely different with a storyline of basically an arranged marriage in 19th century Appalachia. I personally really enjoyed reading a different kind of Christian historical novel, because it wasn't as predictable as some of the others I've read. This is Joanne Bischof's debut novel, and I was quite impressed at how well it was written. Be Still My Soul is the first book in Bischof's The Cadence of Grace Series. The next book Though My Heart is Torn will be released in 2013!

I'd highly recommend Be Still My Soul to anyone who enjoys a good romantic Christian novel.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Be Still My Soul, not only kept me up late at night when I wanted to read "just one more chapter" but also brought tears to my eyes throughout the last chapters. I owe that to the amazing storytelling abilities of Joanne Bischof and her keen sense of details and her character's emotions.

Be Still My Soul is the story of Lonnie and Gideon, two young residents of the Appalachian hills in the early 1900's. Brought together by a first kiss and an unplanned and unwanted marriage, the two begin a life together. Their marriage is one that is filled with uncertainty by Lonnie, anger by Gideon and the lack of love by both. But as Gideon determines to find a fresh start, they journey far away from home, only to discover an older couple who sees in them what no one else could. Only time will tell if Lonnie's faith and Gideon's fresh start can bring their hearts together as one.

Be Still My Soul truly is a story of forgiveness and redemption. The trials and joys that Lonnie and Gideon face are very realistic and their reactions to what life throws in their paths are what makes this book such a page-turner. Joanne doesn't mince words and shows exactly how cruel and harsh the world can be, but at the same time also shows how the hard times help us grow and mature and come to a fuller understanding and appreciation of the good that happens in life as well.

I can't wait for the next chapter in Lonnie and Gideon's life, and luckily I won't have to wait for long. The next book in the Cadence of Grace Series, Though My Heart is Torn, will be released this spring.

I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing for my honest opinion. The above is my own thoughts.

[...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
Joanne Bischof in her new book, "Be Still My Soul" Book One in The Cadence Of Grace series published by Multnomah Books brings us into the lives of Lonnie Sawyer and Gideon O'Riley.

From the back cover: 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 can't believe there is anything worse than a forced marriage. Neither Lonnie nor Gideon love each other. All Gideon did was steal a kiss and now he is paying a very high price for that one moment. Lonnie's heart is broken and it seems her future is shattered. Now these two wounded individuals have to learn how to make their future together work out in some kind of unity and harmony. Ms. Bischof has done an outstanding job of giving us characters that, for the first time, really don't love each other. "Be Still My Soul" is an exploration of marriage and how this journey will be so deeply spiritual and emotional. Ms. Bischof has begun this series with a bang and I am so looking forward to seeing where this very talented author is going to take us in the next book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Multnomah Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
I had seen Be Still My Soul and Though My Heart is Torn reviews on a few of my friend's blogs. After their rave reviews, I knew I needed to check these books out myself. And wow, am I glad I did! Be Still My Soul exceeded my expectations and stole my heart! You'll definitely want to add this to your to-read lists!

One night while Gideon was walking Lonnie home, he stole a kiss. When her father finds out, he immediately thinks Gideon has spoiled her reputation and forces them into a hasty marriage. After suffering an abusive father in her own home, Lonnie believes she is stuck in a marriage where she will never be happy.
Gideon and Lonnie are both not satisfied with the arrangement. Being bitter about the arrangement, Gideon gathers up all he owns and sets off with Lonnie to live away from their families. Gideon acts very immature at some points and it is obvious that he has a lot of growing up to do. But with the help of an elderly couple, Gideon and Lonnie both learn to accept the position they are in. Will their acceptance of their situation lead to love?
Throughout the book God is at work in both of their lives, willing them to rely on him above all else. My heart broke for Lonnie throughout the book. I felt the pain she was in and sympathized with her throughout each page. Even through all the pain that Lonnie was put through, she never wavered in her faith. She continued to look to God for strength and he granted her the strength she needed. Though this book is full of heartache and sadness, I am happy to say that the ending will leave you satisfied.

If you're willing to have your heart strings pulled, I definitely recommend picking this book up. Be Still My Soul is a wonderful story about God's promise that he will never leave us and that he is always there to help you overcome your hurt.
And the best part? Gideon and Lonnie's story doesn't end here. We find their continuing story in Though My Heart is Torn.

I got this book from my library and was not required to write a review. All opinions stated are my own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
Have you ever read a book that was just so good that you hesitate to start another, because you know that the next has a high bar to meet? Well, that's how I feel after reading Joanne Bischof's Be Still My Soul.

Lonnie Sawyer is a quiet girl, raised in the mountains. When her father sees her with Gideon O'Riley he forces them to marry, though that is that last thing that either of them wants. Gideon resents Lonnie for putting him in this tough spot. Can God mend the seams of a relationship broken from the start?

Ms. Bischof has a beautiful writing style that has a sort of lilting smoothness to it, that breathes life into her storytelling. What I loved about this tale was how it was gritty and realistic, set in the Appalachian Mountains. Lonnie and Gideon's lot is hard, and they are both tested by how they choose to deal with the situation they were thrown into.

What was interesting was how from the first I strongly disliked Gideon, he was far from the kind of hero that you usually read about. Yet he grew throughout the course of the book, and by some miracle I went from despising him to cheering for him. I just loved the characters of Elsie and Jebediah, especially Jeb, who was a strong father figure and stood up for what was right. All of the characters were so strong.

This tale is one of heartache and pain, and about hope coming when it seems like all hope is lost. Yet it was a sort of coming of age tale too.

Overall all this book is engaging, and paced steadily to keep the pages flying by. As I said above, I just loved Ms. Bischof's writing style, and her descriptions that took me there. Be Still My Soul is a beautiful, heartfelt tale of forgiveness and starting over, with deep characters and a stunning mountain setting.

Much thanks to Joanne Bischof and Multnomah Publishers for providing me with a complimentary review copy of this book :) Thank you!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A wonderful new book with a "Married Love" theme - yes! Be Still My Soul is the story of a girl and a boy and a shotgun wedding...and the ensuing aftermath of two strangers reluctantly joining forces to face the unknown future into which they've been thrust.

Gideon O'Riley is a player - both of the mandolin, and of female hearts. When he crosses a line with the naïve and innocent Lonnie Sawyer, he's called to make an accounting by her father, and the resistant, angry groom becomes a resistant, angry husband. Lonnie, trusting, ever hopeful, prays these words often, "Let it be so, Lord." She knows in her heart that only Christ can salvage the mess that she and Gideon have made, but her new husband wants none of it. Through harrowing experiences that bring out the very worst...and eventually, the very best...in each of them, Gideon and Lonnie learn that there is only victory in stillness, in surrender.

Joanne spins a terrible, beautiful tale of redemption in this Appalachian love story about a woman who longs to be loved, and a man who doesn't know what it means to be a man, and the people who come in and out of their lives, for better or worse. It's a love story that clings to you like a sweet fragrance, long after you close the last page of the book.

I highly recommend this book to my readers - you'll be swept away. But keep the tissues handy....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Lonnie Sawyer is young and naive. She doesn't even understand the implications involved when she allows Gideon to walk her home one night. As much as she wants to get out from under her father's roof, the only way out isn't one she wants to take.

When she is forced into a marriage she doesn't want, Lonnie's faith is tested more than she ever thought possible.

I have never read any books by Joanne Bischof before, and I found that I really enjoyed this one. One of my favorite things about this book is that is was NOT predictable. One of the most frustrating things about Christian fiction is how predictable it is. You know who is going to end up with who and what mistakes they are going to make before chapter two. In this book, that was not the case. I found myself taken off guard multiple times by the way the book went.

I was encouraged by Lonnie's faith and how she continued to trust God, even when it seemed like the world was against her.

This was a sweet read, I recommend it.

4.5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
Be Still My Soul
by Joanne Bischof

I cannot believe this is the first book Joanne has written !!!
I fell right into the story as soon as I started reading it ! What a sweet and loving story about this innocent young lady just wanting what we all want...to be truly loved ! As you follow Lonnie in her sorrows and joys, you feel as though you know her as a friend.
I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so this book made me feel like I was home with all of the characters.

One of the best blessings was Lonnie and her faith in God our Father. No matter what comes her way she trusts HIM.

This is the first book in Joanne's new series "Cadence of Grace"

This is a keeper and will be read again !!!
I HIGHLY recommend this book for tweens and up !!!

May the LORD GOD continue to bless you and use you through your writing for HIS Glory, Honor and Praise. In Jesus Name Amen

Buy This Book Here : Amazon

Read first chapter here: Facebook

Please visit Joanne here : Joanne Bischof
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Be Still My Soul
By: Joanne Bischof

Be Still My Soul is Joanne Bischof's debut novel. You'd never know it by reading this story! From page one, I was hooked and couldn't put this book down until I finished it.

Lonnie Sawyer and Gideon O'Riley are forced to marry. This is 19th century Appalachia and Gideon did steal a kiss. Even though they don't love each other and Gideon doesn't want to be married, Lonnie must learn to trust Gideon and Gideon must learn to love Lonnie. But, can Lonnie's faith help Gideon come to terms with his new life and added responsibility? Not if Gideon's old life keeps coming back to haunt him! Just when Lonnie thinks she can trust Gideon, something happens to push Gideon right back where he was.

Read this truly amazing tale of two very different people and how they learn to trust in each other, God, and along the way, fall in love. Lonnie must have peace in her soul while Gideon fights his demons; however, Gideon needs peace to realize what he has before he loses it all. But, will it be a happily ever after or a never after? Be Still My Soul continues on in the second book of the series, Though My Heart Is Torn.

If you love a great romantic tale of a hastily arranged marriage by the bride's father that follows all the ups and downs of making that marriage work, you will love this story. You will be captured on page one and not turned lose till you finish. All the surprise twists will have you turning the pages, crying and laughing at the antics of these two characters. This is the love story to equal Scarlett and Rhett in Gone With the Wind. You won't be disappointed! I cannot wait to read more by this debut author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I felt like I was transported to the Ozarks, this author's descriptions and details are so well researched they bring to life the people, their faith, and hard scrabble lives. Because of Bischof's lyrical prose, her compelling characters, and intriguing plot twist, I predict this series will become a classic akin to "Christy."
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