09 April 2013

Diana Flowers Reviews Be Still My Soul By Joanne Bischof

Be Still My Soul


Reviewed by Diana Flowers
~5 stars*****

Fabulous Debut Novel!

In her debut novel, Be Still My Soul, author Joanne Bischof, takes us on a compelling, emotionally stirring journey amongst the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian Mountains -- a vividly beautiful land yielding a wealth of resources, but surrounded by poverty and simplistic living.

Lonnie Sawyer is a shy, innocent young woman, who after being physically abused by her father for years, is yearning for the day she turns eighteen and can move in with her loving Aunt Sarah. It is through Aunt Sarah that she learns of God and the beautiful scriptures that bring comfort to her lonely life. After a night of friends and family singing and playing instruments in the woods, Lonnie finds herself pressured into being escorted home in the moonlight by handsome ladies' man, Gideon O'Riley. It is a decision and a night that changes her destiny forever, and one that Lonnie lives to regret many times over.

Gideon finds himself forced into a marriage he doesn't want and feels frustrated by the sudden responsibilities thrust upon him. Yearning for a fresh start, he forces Lonnie on a long and arduous journey away from her home and everything that she is familiar with. Lonnie is almost destroyed by Gideon's callousness, but is determined to hold onto her faith through it all. But when Gideon commits an unthinkable act, will her unwavering faith be enough to forgive him? Can a couple with naught but the clothes on their backs survive in the unforgiving Appalachian hills?

I am quite taken aback by Joanne Bischof's first novel! There is definitely nothing amateurish about it! It is amazingly well written and I finished it rather quickly because I simply could not put it down. The characters were well developed and realistic, and I love the way Gideon evolves throughout the book. I simply thought him intolerable at first, but had to realize that alot of young men forced into the same situation would have reacted the same way. With a truly moving, spiritual thread throughout and a strong, heartrending plot, this one will have you literally burning the midnight oil! Very nicely done, Joanne Bischof!

I received an ARC of this novel by Mulnomah Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion.

This book may be purchase through Amazon, CBD, and your local bookstores.
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GIVEAWAY: Your choice of one of Joanne's books! Answer the question and leave your email address to be entered in the contest.

QUESTION: Lonnie was forced to suffer serious repercussions because of an act she wasn't even guilty of committing. Has this ever happened to you?





64 comments:

  1. Great review Diana! I simply adore Joanne. Her books are soul-touching...and her characters become your best friends. Lonnie and Gideon's story pull on your heart strings and do not let go. I am anxiously awaiting Book 3 in the series.
    Obviously you do not need to enter me into the drawing. I just wanted to pop in and read your review. Hugs and God bless.

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    1. Thank you, DEBBIE! This is an awesome series so far and like you, I can hardly wait for the 3rd book! I couldn't help but think as I was reading this book...this is a debut author? Joanne writes as though she has been doing this forever. I love unpredictable books where the reader doesn't know what the outcome will be, and this is definitely one of those. SUPERB!

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  2. Yes. My Father is that type of person. I needn't say more. Loved the review. Blessings, Susan Fryman susanngarrylee@yahoo.com

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    1. Bless you, SUSAN. I know too well about that myself. I know you will enjoy JOANNE'S book! I felt as though Gideon was more of a louse than a total alcoholic. A handsome louse, however. ;)

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  3. yes many years ago when i was about 8 and was at my aunt's house her son pulled her tulips and blamed it on me and i got a spanking for it. Sharma Darby rdarby@roadrunner.com

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    1. The worst kind of punishment, SHARMA. When you KNOW you didn't do it. :( Hope you get a chance to read Joanne's novel ASAP!

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  4. It's not a question of IF I'll get this book DIANA, but WHEN!! A wonderful review which only serves to make me feel all the more desperate to get my hands on a copy ASAP!! :) And when I do it will be going to the top of the list to read. Thank you so much for taking the time to review this.

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    1. It is fabulous, NOELA! Thank you for your kind words!

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  5. Great Review! Would love to win! Maybe someday I will.
    Blessings
    joeym11@frontier.com

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    1. I hope today will be your day, DIANA!! Thanks for coming by and do you have an answer to the question I posed above by the way? <3

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  6. Yes right after i got married one of my sister in laws spread the word another sister in law was having a afair with hubbys brother. some how it got to them i started it, and when i told them it was told to me they wanted too know who told me but i wouldnt tell, so i have suffered that for many years,
    i would love to win one of your books thanks for the chance

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    1. Oh, SHIRLEY. I'm sorry about that. I have been blamed for something I never said before and that hurts. I pray God will give you healing in that situation.

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  7. DIANA once again you have made me want to read ANOTHER book!! I have read the first couple chapters of this one and I REALLY want to read the rest of it. :) Can't wait!!

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    1. Thanks so much, TERESA! You may not have to wait as long as you think. ;)

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  8. My mom and I were talking about Catherine Marshall's Christy novel on Sunday, and that got me to thinking that I hadn't heard of any recent novels set in the Appalachians. I'm glad to hear there's a new one.

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    1. VICKIE, it's so nice to see you here! I loved Christy -- the novel, the movie, and the tv series. You're right. There aren't many books set in the Appalachians, but Joanne's books will certainly take you there!

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    2. Catherine Marshall's Christy was one of my faves growing up, as well. I don't really remember doing it, but I gave a copy to a friend, and she remembered that years later.

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  9. Lonnie was forced to suffer serious repercussions because of an act she wasn't even guilty of committing. Has this ever happened to you?
    Yes, this has happened to me when I was working. I was blamed for something someone else did.

    Thanks for the chance to enter the contest.

    cindialtman(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Ouch, CINDI! I hope you weren't fired b/c of it! Those things are so difficult...even when you try to stand up for yourself it's usually just your word against theirs. I'm sorry that happened to you. :(

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  10. Great review, Diana. Q--yes, I was a corrections officer in Michigan and I had to fire on some escaping prisoners. Somehow, later, in a tower, there was found a bullet hole in the glass. I had been taken down after the incident because that was protocol but rumors circulated that I had fired across the inside yard (a no no.) I could have faced serious repercussions. One woman guard in particular was spreading the rumors. My commanding officer took me up to the tower, with the hole, on the day I was reassigned back to the tower. He left the intercom on. The other woman was up there in a different tower. He announced that unless bullets were now capable of going around corners (the entry point was on opposite side and away from any way I could have fired, that there was no way I had caused that. And the sad thing--the person who might have fired that shot was the woman who was spreading the rumors. So the C.O. basically cleared me and put her on notice that he was watching. But what a horrible thing to think I was being accused of something so serious that I hadn't done.

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    1. Oh my gosh, CARRIE! First of all I can't imagine you firing a gun at escaping prisoners...you are so kind and humble I can only imagine you saying, "Please come back." Or maybe that sounds like me, huh? lol Secondly, what a terrible thing to have happen and I'm so glad you were exonerated! Was the lady fired or just reprimanded?

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    2. Carrie, that is just crazy - and a horrible thing to be accused of! (I live in Michigan, so I'm kinda biased to it's awesomeness) ;)

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    3. I went back to graduate school shortly after that, Diana, but I think she kept on being a corrections officer. I felt kind of sorry for her because I think she was a single parent. And I don't know for a fact who or how that window got shot.

      SUSAN P. I keep wonder if you are one of my friends from the U.P. but since you haven't said so I am thinking not! My next story, that I am writing right now, is set in Michigan! I am so grateful to have been offered a contract to write a short story for a book for a large publisher.

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    4. LOL, oh Carrie, I'm sure I would love having you as a personal friend, but alas, we do not know each other outside of here! :) I haven't been blessed to go very far into the U.P. yet, only as far as Sault Ste. Marie. I will keep my eyes peeled for your Michigan story!! That is awesome! LOVE anything to do with here. :)

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  11. Another great review Diana.

    I really can't remember when I was fasely accused of something I didn't do. But I do remember my brother was constantly being sent to the principal's office only to find out there was another boy with the same first and last name that was actually causing the trouble.

    arieljo12(at)hotmail(dot)com

    -Janella

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    1. Awww...your poor brother! I think I know a little of how he must have felt, b/c I too went through a case of mistaken identity. I kept getting phone calls and credit card statements for another Diana Flowers who wasn't paying her bills. She was also married to a man with the same name as my hubby's. I finally told them to look at the birthdates and the middle name. Hers was Julia...mine is not, not to mention that I was 34 and she was 21. Why did I have to figure that out for them? Who knows?...but they never bothered me again.

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  13. At one point when there was trouble in my son's marriage, and false accusations of him, I was questioned about an action we had made, because we thought it was necessary, due to information passed to us by the accuser. When my son tried to come to my defense, an unknamed person said, "Well, you have to remember who that was coming from..." indicating that I could have lied about it. I was so upset by this and that is when we decided to leave our church home at the time, because both my husband & I felt we could not attend a church with a couple who thought this way about us, let alone be in leadership positions with/among them. It was a very hurtful time, that we had to work our way through with God. Thankfully, those relationships are now mostly rectified.
    Vicki OWG
    vmarney(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. I am thankful that they are rectified with you, VICKI! Church hurts and false accusations are the worst...I have been there and done that. I will never by the grace of God attend another gossipy church like the one I was in before. I mean there's always one in every church, but thankfully if there are any in ours, I don't know about it. :)

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  14. The sad part was that they were like family to us and I have always been a very honest person, so to have some accuse me of being untruthful was very hurting. I wouldn't necessarily say there was a forgive and forget--just more of a forget and go on...but sometimes that is just the best way to deal with it.
    I'm glad you are able to be in a healthy church now Diana--I know how hurtful the 'other one" was to you. Sometimes we just have to learn when to get out and move on...and God always has His ways of bring us to that point of understanding.
    Vicki

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    1. You're so right, VICKI! Our church is pretty small but numbers aren't what counts! We do have to forget and move on sometimes...and God enables us to do just that.

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  15. Can't say that I have an answer to the question, so I guess the answer is no. Nothing comes to mind!
    Sounds like a good book...

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. PATTY, thank you for coming by and good luck in the giveaway!

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  16. Well, sorta...this past January 2 I was arrested at the airport for having brass knuckles in my backpack. My policeman son in law had put them in there - worried about when we're in Mexico and Nicaragua - forgetting to tell me. I had no idea & so looked like a liar. I was handcuffed & shackled & spent 1/2 the day at the police station & then transferred to the county jail which is as big as a prison! We live 4 miles from the Mexican border & they call McAllen, TX...northern Mexico. The Lord allowed me to 'bloom' to my other cellies, still have court - someday, pray the judge see's I just made a stupid error by not knowing what was in my backpack. Getting all kinds of laughs out of this one!

    missionwife@hotmail.com

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    1. MELODY, that sounds like a great one to tell about in your next book! Only I wouldn't be laughing about it if it had been me. I'm such a sissy and jail would just be devastating to me. Glad you are safely out of there and on OWG!

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    2. MELODY, you and CARRIE make a good pair. Her with her gun as she mentioned above, and you with your brass knuckles. Ain't nobody gonna mess with y'all! LOL

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    3. I've already written the story!

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    4. You're a hoot, MELODY! I'm sure it will make for an interesting book!

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  17. Diana,

    Thank you so much for the beautiful review of Be Still My Soul. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!! It's such a pleasure to see all these smiling faces here! I think it can be so hard in life when we suffer consequences because of the choice of another and even in those moments, God can use that experience to grow us in ways we may have never had the opportunity to do so. I've been thinking of James 1 recently, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." Such an encouraging verse!

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    1. You're more than welcome, JOANNE! I love that scripture, too, but sometimes I lack the "counting it all joy part." Especially when the testing of my faith seems to last a long, long time! ;)

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  18. I am praying I win the book. I love God, I love reading, and I love an inspiring love story. I just love how she add the three together and made a perfect book. My email: elizabethcuster5@gmail.com

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    1. ELIZABETH, you said it right! This certainly is the perfect book!

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  19. I have been associated to breaking something very important of my mothers from childhood but I never did do it.

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    1. :( I'm so sorry, ELIZABETH. Not a good feeling at all.

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  20. Yes I have. I was very young and the repercussions weren't very dire, but I was accused of saying something very hurtful abot someone that I never said. Like I said it wasn't that bad, and the truth did come out, but in that moment it was up setting :/

    Amada

    amada_chavez{AT}yahoo{DOT}com :)

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    1. To be accused of something we didn't do is very upsetting, AMADA! Even if we didn't suffer dire repercussions...it's so hurtful -- as a child or an adult. I tried never to accuse my children of doing something unless I was sure they did it. Their sibling did a good enough job of that. lol

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  21. I don't think I've ever suffered serious repercussions because of an act I didn't commit. Unfortunately, I've usually played at least a small part in what's happened to me, even those times when it's hard to admit I was at least somewhat at fault as well as the other person.
    Thanks for your review of Joanne's book. I'm really looking forward to reading this series and would love to win a copy of book two.

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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    1. PAM, I had to smile at your brutal honesty about yourself! I have to admit to being at least part of the blame, too, at times! lol

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  22. I have on two separate accounts that I can still remember. *sigh* Such is life in a human world. I feel better that I'm not alone! But they certainly don't amount to poor Carrie and Melody's stories!

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    1. Oh and (farmygirl at hotmail dot com) :)

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    2. CARRIE'S and MELODY'S accounts definitely take the cake, SUSAN! They would be funny if they weren't so serious!

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  23. BE STILL MY SOUL is going to be such a wonderful read.

    I have suffered painful and hurtful repercussions, over the actions of others, rather than serious.


    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. It is a wonderful read, MARY! I fell so in love with these first two books in the series! I'm sorry for any pain others' selfishness may have caused you. :(

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  24. I've had this book in my Amazon wishlist since the book came out. As for being accused of doing something that I hadn't done, it has been several times in my 29 year career as a teacher when either a parent or child has said something that I did or said that was completely untrue. It hurts badly and doesn't go away! I have always gone beyond the call of duty to help my students succeed. I don't even like to think about those times! Of course, some have come back to apologize, but by then, the damage (to oneself) has already been done!
    Susan in NC
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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    1. Unfortunately, words once they are out, can't be taken back...only apologized for. I pray healing balm over your heart and soul over these painful situations, SUSAN. God knows the effort you have put forth with your students and He will recompense you for that.

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  25. I can't think of a time when this has happened to me, I guess I am lucky. Thank you for the chance to win.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

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    1. ANGELA, you are either very lucky or very young. :) B/C invariably this happens to all of us at one time or another in our lives.

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  26. Good job Diana. I'm really wanting to have this book. Have entered lots of times tho with no luck yet. As to the question, I am thankful to be able to answer with a NO. Please enter my name. You girls of OWG are loved by me. Love this site. Maxie

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    1. We love you, too, MAXIE! Maybe tonight will be your lucky night. I sure hope so. :)

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  27. can't say I know of anyting I've had to suffer because of someone else/.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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    1. Bless you, APPLEBLOSSOM! I have you entered in the drawing!

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  28. As a public school, high school teacher, I was accused of things I did not do. One parent even came after me at school and had to be taken away by the sheriff. I'm so thankful that in those days it hadn't occurred to mentally unstable people to bring a gun to school. If so, I'm sure I wouldn't be here today and other innocent people might have also died. Life is interesting!
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    1. School teachers have such a rough job. I'm sure you were a wonderful teacher, KAY! You had to be, to put up with that junk all the time!

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  29. When does the contest end and we find out who won?

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