Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Review of Be Still My Soul

Here's a description of the book from the author's website:

"Gideon only ever cared about himself. Now that Lonnie is his wife, will he ever be worthy of her heart?

Night’s chill tickled her skin. Lonnie pressed her hands together and glanced up. He was even more handsome up close. Having grown up the shy, awkward daughter of Joel Sawyer, she’d hardly spoken to any boy, let alone the one who had mothers whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns. 

Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith. But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate.

Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.

Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life. What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?

Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia at the turn of the last century, Be Still My Soul weaves together the threads of yearning, hope, and redemption to form a tale that I hope will touch your heart, stir your senses, and evoke a greater understanding for the majestic God who created every hue and surface of the mountains I hold so dear."

My Rating

Spring/Summer

My Review

If you love a story with a mountain setting, romantic tension, and wonderful characterization, Be Still My Soul is a satisfying read! Gideon's and Lonnie's tale is one full of challenges and suffering - from costly mistakes, to arduous traveling, to the pain of giving second chances, as well as the humility required to accept them. But the end result of it all is full of hope.

While the Appalachian-mountains setting is enough to attract me (personally) to this book, the quality that sets it apart is the growth of its two main characters. It's beautiful, in an initially tragic way, to see them go from a terrible place to a place of tenderness and maturity. Certainly not an easy or quick journey!

Lonnie is a sweet, naive girl who clings to her faith and the love of her aunt and sister to get her through a difficult home life. Gideon is a boy who enjoys living in the moment - but his self-centered ways and his misconceptions about the realities of manhood are destined to get him into trouble. When these two young people are required to marry, the path before them is anything but smooth.

Lonnie and Gideon have no idea what it will take to walk together - both literally and figuratively - as a married couple. But when they reach the point where there seems to be no hope left, love and peace might just find them in unexpected and challenging ways. An inspiring story!

*With thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for providing me with an ARC of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Would you consider ranking my review? Thank you!
 

6 comments:

Amanda Stanley said...

Great review, Amber! It's always wonderful to hear your thoughts, as we usually have the same taste in literature :) This story sounds so interesting. Love the cover and the title. Hopefully I'll get to read this one eventually... once I can knock a few out in my TBR pile! ;)

Blessings,
Amanda

Miranda said...

Hi Amber!
Love the review! A book that teaches growth through struggles always leaves hope behind in your heart. This review tells me that this is one of such. I remember books that have changed my life or added value to me in a profound way. This review brings them to mind again. Definitely looking forward to reading it!

Noticed the 'Give Thanks' tag. Reminds me of that conversation on one of your blog posts. Do you remember it? I do!

Many thanks and blessings!

Miranda :):)

Joanne Bischof said...

Hi Amber! I loved reading your review of Be Still My Soul. I've been thinking about how you had it and am just thrilled to hear that you enjoyed it. Gideon and Lonnie's story wasn't an easy one to tell, particularly the scenes of Gid's POV. As gritty as he can be, I really wanted his character to be true to who he was, flaws and all. Working on the second book in the series right now and he is already giving me all sorts of trouble ;)

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

I enjoy hearing your thoughts, too - we definitely do seem to have similar taste, overall! :) I love the cover of this one, too. That setting just really draws me in!

I understand the toppling TBR pile, though... A problem, in some ways, but certainly a happy problem. ;)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Miranda,

Thank you so much! Love what you said here: "A book that teaches growth through struggles always leaves hope behind in your heart." That certainly describes this book for me!

And yes, I do remember that conversation. :) You reminded me of such an important principle - giving thanks for what we have shows us how very much we have to be thankful for!

God bless you, too!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Joanne,

Aww, I'm glad you loved reading the review! I loved reading the book! :) The setting, the cover, and the premise all intrigued me, and I wasn't disappointed.

That certainly must have been difficult to get into Gideon's mind, but seeing how much he learned and grew was sweet, indeed. :) Curious to hear more about book 2!

~Amber