SERIES: Blackbird Mountain #1
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance
PUBLISHER: Thomas Nelson
RELEASE DATE: July 3, 2018
After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of Nineteenth-Century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.
But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.
As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?
A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.
Other Books In This Series
“Spend but ten minutes gettin’ to know Thor Norgaard and you’ll forget he silent.
You’ll learn and hear things that most men don’t even know how to speak.”
Y’all. I didn’t think anything could top Bischof’s The Lady & The Lionheart for me. That book absolutely undid me. But I have to say that Sons of Blackbird Mountain undid me even more. And while Thor didn’t topple Charlie from his spot on my fave book boyfriends he does stand right alongside him, giving him a solid run for his money. I already know my review will be woefully lacking to adequately describe how touching and beautiful this book really is.
There is so much depth to this gorgeous story – even (especially) in the gentle subtleties that Bischof tucks inside her writing, from the way the Norgaard brothers each represent a different facet of the Viking spirit to the way the variety of apples in the orchard itself reminded me of the different dimensions to the story. As tenderly as possible, the author weaves in layers of sibling rivalry, domestic abuse, alcoholism, racism, and greed with even more tenderly drawn layers of hope, healing and courage. This is a story that does not shy away from the harshness of life or sin. But it’s also a story that boldly proclaims freedom for the captive and beauty from the ashes.
The cast of engaging characters are authentically imperfect and will break your heart a little before they heal it too. Especially Thor – oh my heart. His lovable giant self, made all the more endearing by the ways he compensates for the fact that he can’t speak (or hear), won me over in the first few pages when he observes what no one else does & brings Aven a glass of water before giving it a nudge toward her when she makes no move to pick it up. I don’t know why that nudge made me fall in love with him so quickly, but it did.
In Thor’s case, the absence of speech or sound does not mean the absence of conversation or emotion and the way the author has so lovingly crafted his character speaks louder than any voice could. Even down to subtle details such as the cadence of his sign language, the way he doesn’t realize how loud his movements are, his breathing patterns, etc., his characterization is spot-on and we get a clearer picture of his heart in a way that we might not otherwise. Bischof’s portrayal of Thor as not only Deaf & mute but also an alcoholic sets aside everything we’ve come to expect in our heroes – and I LOVE IT. The depth of his story is all-encompassing, wrapping around you until you can barely breathe from the exquisite beauty of Grace and redemption.
I could seriously go on and on and on. I haven’t even talked yet about Aven and her relationship with Thor. I haven’t mentioned Ida or Cora or Jorgen or Haaken or Peter. These characters all captured me in one way or the other, and their combined stories touched me soul-deep.
(special thanks to Bookworm Mama for letting me use her gorgeous quote graphic)
Bottom Line: I called The Lady and the Lionheart “heartachingly beautiful”, and it is. But I honestly think that Sons of Blackbird Mountain is even more so. These characters, their struggles, and their healing burrow into the heart and refuse to let go. Bischof’s mastery of language, her skill in setting, and her incomparable talent in subtle symbolism are refreshing and poetic. I of course want you to read all the books, but if you can only read one book this year, make it this one!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 5+ stars (If I could give 10 stars, i would)
KissingBook Level: 4+ (Might need a freezer before all is said and done)
JOANNE BISCHOF is an ACFW Carol Award and ECPA Christy Award-winning author. She writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the heartstrings. She was honored to receive the San Diego Christian Writers Guild Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon conference. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from RT Book Reviews, among other critical acclaim. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children.
To celebrate her tour, Joanne is giving away
Grand prize of a country crate, a jar of apple butter, a bag of gummy berries, journal, bath salts, honey spoons, copper earrings, and a blackbird sign!!
Click below to enter.
This giveaway is hosted by Celebrate Lit, not RimSP
Follow along with the tour for more chances to win!