Be Still My Soul (Book #1 of the Cadence of Grace series) by Joanne Bischof

Be Still My Soul (Book #1 of the Cadence of Grace series) by Joanne Bischof

This is the first book of the Cadence of Grace series. My review of the second book in this series, Though My Heart is Torn, can be read here and the review for the third book in the series, My Hope is Found, can be read here.Be Still My Soul

Lonnie Sawyer walks home after a local dance one night with talented mandolin player, Gideon O’Riley. Gideon was only doing her brother a favor, but when he tries to kiss the shy seventeen-year-old girl, her pa catches them and assumes the worst. The next day he forces Gideon to marry Lonnie. Gideon does not want to be married to her, so now Lonnie has gone from the fire, living with abusive “crazy Joel” Sawyer into the frying pan, living with a man who doesn’t love her, who does what he wants without regard to his responsibility as her husband, and has a mean temper to boot. Both can only see entrapment in their future.

Gideon decides to walk to Stuart, a growing town, to look for work. The only thing that keeps Lonnie sane during the arduous and punishing trek through the cold, the rain and the mud of the hills and valleys of the Appalachians, was her faith in God. Bringing to mind the Psalms she and her Aunt Sarah had read through together, she tried to keep up with Gideon’s rapid pace. They got turned around and in a temper, Gideon turned on Lonnie after she falls. Fortunately, the couple was rescued by an older man and taken to his home so that Lonnie could get some rest and food.

Joanne Bischof fleshes out each character so well that we feel the painful relationship the young couple is struggling with. When aging Jebediah and Elsie invite Lonnie and Gideon to stay with them in exchange for assistance with the homestead, Gideon reluctantly agrees although Lonnie is relieved. But Gideon feels the world and maybe even God is against him. He chafes at the injustice of it all. He resents the work Jebediah asks him to do on the farm. Eventually he leaves Lonnie, falls into temptation, and the reader wonders if any good can be salvaged in him in time to save their marriage.

I often felt as if I were there with Lonnie and Gideon, hurting with them, and sometimes wanting to reach in and give Gideon a good shake to snap him out of his funk. I felt with Lonnie when she decides not to become like her abused mother; she decides not to accept the mistreatment dished out to her. She struggles to decide when it’s time to forgive and when it’s time to stay strong. Many of us can identify with her efforts to find a balance she can live with.

Lord near broken hearted

If you like to read books with such powerful storytelling that you feel you have just stepped into the story yourself and are experiencing it, then I recommend this book and series to you. Great character development is what makes this book come alive.

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