I must admit up front that I'm not always the biggest fan of romance novels, which definitely made me a bit hesitant to read BE STILL MY SOUL when I first had the opportunity to review the novel. Even so, I was drawn in by the beautiful cover and the refreshing description of the story, so I decided to just dive in and give this one a chance.
It was certainly a good decision because I was not disappointed by the sweet, pure vibe that illuminated from this work, making me reminiscent of historical childhood favorites like Little House on the Prairie. There's something so uniquely fascinating about a wholesome tale of a more simple, intimate life revolving around family, hard work, and the home life. It makes me want to go camping or tell stories around a campfire with friends and family or travel back in time to a idealized time and place that feels more simplistic and peaceful in my imagination.
In this charming novel, we first have the pleasure of meeting Lonnie, an innocent young woman who struggles with a disruptive home life primarily run by her overbearing, abusive family. One night, Lonnie's father finds her alone with Gideon, a man known for his reputation as a raging womanizer. Lonnie's father immediately assumes that his daughter has been made impure and he banishes from the home, forcing her to marry Gideon despite the fact that the two share no feelings of love or understanding.
The young marriage is rocky, to say the least, and Lonnie soon finds herself pregnant and afraid. It doesn't take long for Lonnie to realize that she's replicated her terrible upbringing with her new family life, trading one abusive man in her life for another. One day she is rescued by an elderly couple who takes her into their home, allowing Gideon to stay as long as he is willing to work hard and earn his keep. Despite the fact that Gideon is the father of her precious baby, Lonnie is determined that she will not forgive this man or allow him to hurt her again.
BE STILL MY SOUL brings the readers along the ride as the young couple struggles to survive and thrive despite the forces that work against them. Although Lonnie believes in God, love, and forgiveness, can she find herself open to putting her faith in action, forgiving the man who has betrayed her more than any other? And can young, rambunctious Gideon learn to embrace this marriage of convenience, honoring the wife he never expected and becoming the man she desperately needs him to be?
Author Bischof does a remarkable job creating two thoughtful, relateable characters that are memorable and interesting to the readers, making their struggles and trials feel that much more inspirational. The relationship is neither overly simplistic nor instantly resolved, allowing the "romance" to feel respectable and true. The setting feels warm and inviting, making me want to take a trip to the Appalachian mountains of Virgina myself, hoping I can recreate the tender innocence conveyed throughout the descriptions of the story.
I would recomend BE STILL MY SOUL to anyone who enjoys a nice wholesome historical Christian romance, and I'm very interested to see how Bischoff expands these characters and their story in the rest of the series.
~~ Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers provided me an electronic copy of this novel for the purposes of providing an honest opinion. All thoughts are my own and are uninfluenced by the manner in which I obtained the book. ~~