I fell in love with Joanne Bischof’s writing with The Sons of Blackbird Mountain, and she’s not disappointed me yet. Seriously, why do I wait to read her books? What’s WRONG with me? Maybe I just love them so much that I save them until I can’t stand to wait another second–you know, like the last of the Christmas chocolate or something. Whatever the reason, I bought this book last year and I’ve finally read it and have I got things to say!
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What Treasure Will You Unearth from The Gold in These Hills?
The best kind there is. Trust me.
Every now and again a book appears, and you know by the synopsis and the author’s name that you’ll love it. Rarely are those initial impressions wrong, in my experience. However, you don’t always realize just how deeply they will bore into your soul and lodge there. Climbing holds screwed deep into rock to keep you anchored.
Or as in this book, deep into The Rock.
I’ll be honest, while I knew I would love the story, after the first couple of chapters, the first person/present tense writing jarred me often. It rarely works well with historical for me, and not liking it in the first place doesn’t help. While Joanne Bischof did a fabulous job of working out the excessive uses of “I” in those first couple of chapters, eventually they really did grate on me.
Why am I telling you this?
Because despite all that, despite something that I truly don’t enjoy, despite wishing it had been written in some other way, I guarantee this will be an annual or semi-annual re-read for me. The book is that good.
Rich in history, culture, and the raw harshness of another time that feels like another world, The Gold in These Hills has so many metaphoric layers that I doubt I’ll unearth them all for a very long time.
Characters? You’ll love them all. Your heart will ache for men who love their families enough to do hard things for them. Men who love the Lord enough to say hard things when the time is right. You’ll ache for men who just want a chance to have that life… or to have it again.
You’ll root for women who have much to hope for, much to fear, much to forgive. Those women’s strength in the midst of deprivation, questions, abandonment, and loss will inspire you the next time life tries to sucker-punch you.
And the faith shown on every page, in times of doubt, triumph, hoplessness, and grief… the faith that survives more than most of us ever endure in a lifetime will remind you the He will never leave you or forsake you. It will comfort you in ways you didn’t know you needed to be comforted.
And like those in the story, you’ll be reminded that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be, also.”
Recommended for lovers of split-time novels, for those who love good historical fiction, and for those who want more than a typical romance. Not recommended for… hmm… who? Who wouldn’t love this book? Um, people who only read rom-coms. You won’t like it. Or… maybe you would.
Books like The Gold in These Hills are why I’m drawn to Christian fiction.
One wild and mysterious ghost town. Two second-chance love stories. And the century-old legacy that binds them together.
Upon arriving in Kenworthy, California, mail-order bride Juniper Cohen is met by the pounding of the gold mine, an untamable landscape, and her greatest surprise of all: the kind and loving man who awaits her. But when the mine proves empty of profit, and when Juniper’s husband, John, vanishes, Juniper is left to fend for herself and her young daughter in the dwindling boomtown that is now her home.
Juniper pens letters to her husband but fears she is waiting on a ghost. Perhaps worse, rumors abound claiming the man she loves could be an outlaw. Surviving in a ghost town requires trusting the kindness of a few remaining souls, including the one who can unlock the mystery of her husband’s disappearance – and Juniper’s survival depends not only upon these friends but also the strength of heart she must fight to maintain.
Present day. Trying to escape the heartache of his failed marriage, Johnny Sutherland throws himself into raising his children and restoring a hundred-year-old abandoned farmhouse in what was once known as Kenworthy, California, in the San Jacinto Mountains. While exploring its secrets he uncovers Juniper’s letters and is moved by the handwritten accounts that bear his name – and as a love story from the past touches his own world, Johnny might discover yet that hope and resilience go hand in hand.
With The Gold in These Hills, acclaimed and beloved author Joanne Bischof returns with an absorbing masterpiece of faith, perseverance, and love that changes the course of history.