Gideon is a bit of a rebel with a reputation. Lonnie is a sweet, innocent and somewhat naïve girl. One simple misconception catapults both of them into a fate that neither wants: marriage to the other. In Be Still My Soul, Joanne Bischof cleverly weaves together a story of two polar opposites joining in marriage and learning to love one another and overcoming obstacles that life throws at them.
The story takes place around the turn of the 20th century. Gideon has a choice to either marry Lonnie or face the wrath of her alcoholic father. Lonnie, though excited to be free of her father’s care, is less than excited to be Gideon’s wife. The couple starts out their marriage with no money and a strong dislike of each other. At first Gideon allows his anger at the situation and his rebelliousness to control how he treats Lonnie, but after he finds out his child is on the way into the world, and with the help of Jebediah and Elsie who graciously take them into their care in exchange for help around the farm, his demeanor towards her slowly begins to change. Lonnie starts to see the changes, but wants to know it is fully a part of Gideon’s life by the time the baby arrives or else she has determined that he would not be part of their lives. One incident dating back to near the beginning of Lonnie and Gideon’s marriage comes back to haunt Gideon later on in the book, after he has determined to become a new man and show Lonnie how much he truly loves her, and almost causes their marriage to fail.
When I first started reading this book, I was not sure how much I was going to be able to get into it. The author is very descriptive of the scenery and while it gave me a clear mental image, I also felt somewhat overwhelmed by the plethora of detail and got lost and disinterested until the true plot of the book began to unfold late in chapter 2/early chapter 3. After the plot picks up, the book is very fascinating to read and had it not been for having a young child, I probably could have finished the book relatively quickly.
I enjoy novels that have a bit of a twist to them. Novels that can be read where I can predict the ending before I’m even a third of the way done with the book tend to bore me. I thought Joanne Bischof did a great job at providing a bit of a twist in the novel. Just when I was beginning to predict the ending she threw two incidents to Gideon in there and one to Lonnie that really threw off what I thought. I thought it was just going to be a neat little story about two characters learning to love each other and then happily ever after, then the incidents happened and it really made me start to wonder how happily ever after was going to come about.
The novel is quite interesting because the author creates characters that actually could be real. With a lot of Christian novels I have read, there are the characters that just don’t seem true to life because in life there are people who aren’t Christians, and in most Christian novels, it seems everybody is already a Christian. Even if they aren’t, most Christian novels don’t go into the details of characters getting drunk or showing other little imperfections that humans face at some point in their lives or another. Because she keeps the characters real, it makes the story that much more intriguing and relatable.
I would definitely recommend reading Be Still My Soul. Not only was the plot and how the characters came to the ending fascinating (which I’m not going to give away, sorry, you’ll actually have to read it!), but just the little details Joanne throws in to the story to make it seem real will pull you through the book and make it a very quick read. Just stick out the first few chapters, I was able to get past all the scenery description as well and I think anyone who reads it will too. A very good first novel by Joanne Bischof and I look forward to seeing what she will put out next, especially since this is “The Cadence of Grace Series, Book 1”. I think she is a good author with some potential to make future Christian book best seller’s lists. Hope you enjoy the book should you decide to read it!
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WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.