When you cut your finger it’s difficult to write out a review–even of a book as great as Daughters of Northern Shores. It’s also difficult to write out a review when you can’t keep your eyes open. When you stayed up reading a book after not sleeping at all the night before. Not that that ever happened to me or anything. Ahem.
I bought Daughters of Northern Shores the day it went on pre-order. That’s how much I liked the first book in the series, Sons of Blackbird Mountain. I got the book in the mail just as I was leaving for a women’s retreat back in March. Like any godly woman, eager to spend a weekend studying the Word and fellowshipping with other Christian women, I brought the book with me. Double ahem.
So, amid the beautiful (and very stinky) hot springs of Murrieta, Calfornia I cracked open the first pages of Daughters of Northern Shores and read. Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish before I had to leave. Other work got in the way, leaving the book languishing in my TBR pile, but I wasn’t concerned because I had already signed up to review it with Celebrate Lit.
Making sure you have to do what you want to do is a totally valid form of self-preservation. Just saying.
And sometimes it’s not a matter of if you like a book but why.
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Love at First Sight? Why This Author Is a Favorite
Aaah… insta-love. No, not the characters, me! The book. All the wonderfulness.
I’d never read anything by Joanne Bischof before I read Sons of Blackbird Mountain. That book went to the top of my 2018 favorite reads and stayed there. I expected no less of Daughters of Northern Shores.
I wasn’t disappointed.
In fact, after a four-month break in the middle of reading the book, I wasn’t sorry to have to start over to make sure I “didn’t forget anything.” The book wasn’t what I’d assumed it would be, and yet, it was everything I expected.
Beloved characters did what they do best. They wormed their way back into my heart and settled there And I doubt anything will be able to push them out again. The Norgaard family has a way of teaching you lessons you didn’t know you needed to learn. And Joanne Bischof knows how to teach you without you realizing she has stepped in as mentor, instructor, and friend.
With careful attention to detail, precise wording, and piercing to the heart of all she wants to say, Bischof writes with a flowing and beautiful pen that never once feels overloaded or showy. No detail is left unturned, and yet the pages of this book are not cluttered like a curio shop or a junky antique store. It takes serious writing skills to feel as if you are right there without being smothered by all the detail.
Joanne Bischoff has that mastered.
Emotion pours from every page without being heavy, sappy, or melodramatic. Rather, the emotion is tender, strong, even fierce sometimes. It’s always there beneath every word—almost a living subtext to the rest of the story.
Even better, Bischof weaves the faith, and the lack thereof, of her characters so naturally you almost forget the deep and abiding spiritual lessons that are also woven among the pages. Well, until that moment you need to see them. Then they shine with all their intended glory.
Recommended for lovers of Sons of Blackbird Mountain, lovers of strong historical fiction, and for anyone who understands that mankind has fallen, but with God, there is always redemption.
Oh, and yes… it landed solidly on the 2019 favorites list.
About the Book
Author: Joanne Bischof
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: March 12, 2019
Aven Norgaard understands courage. Orphaned within an Irish workhouse, then widowed at just nineteen, she voyaged to America where she was wooed and wed by Thor Norgaard, a Deaf man in rural Appalachia. That the Lord saw her along the winding journey and that Aven now carries Thor’s child are blessings beyond measure.
Yet while Thor holds her heart, it is his younger brother and rival who haunts her memories. Haakon—whose selfish choices shattered her trust in him.
Having fled the Norgaard orchard after trying to take Aven as his own, Haakon sails on the North Atlantic ice trade, where his soul is plagued with regrets that distance cannot heal. Not even the beautiful Norwegian woman he’s pursued can ease the torment.
When the winds bear him home after four years away, Haakon finds the family on the brink of tragedy. A decades-old feud with the neighboring farm has wrenched them into the fiercest confrontation on Blackbird Mountain since the Civil War. Haakon’s cunning and strength hold the power to seal many fates, including Thor’s—which is already imperiled due to a grave illness brought to him at the first prick of warfare.
Now Haakon faces the hardest choice of his life. One that shapes a battlefield where pride must be broken enough to be restored, and where a prodigal son may finally know the healing peace of surrender and the boundless gift of forgiveness. And when it comes to the woman he left behind in Norway, he just might discover that while his heart belongs to a daughter of the north, she’s been awaiting him on shores more distant than the land he’s fighting for.