Monday, July 30, 2018

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

After finding Joanne’s The Lady and the Lionheart novel interesting, I was curious to read her latest book. 

Let’s begin with the summary:

A Tale of Family, Brotherhood, and the Healing Power of Love

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.

And now, my review:

We get a taste of Norwegian culture in this novel, which is a nice spin on a novel set in nineteenth-century America. I love the element of Thor being a deaf mute, especially when he tries to overcome for Aven. He has to watch her mouth when she speaks in order to communicate with her, which is a wonderful element in this romance. The symbolism of Aven focusing on really “hearing” and truly seeing him was beautiful.

As with Joanne’s previous novel, her prose is a highlight of her writing. I loved Thor’s heart and his relationship with his brothers. They looked out for him, even though their relationships were complicated. Joanne offers us layered characters and a layered story world. 

Their lives are complicated by alcoholism and the violence of racism. The author doesn’t pull back on these tough topics, and we respect her for it. 

The story sweeps you up, and you care for these characters. Joanne’s attention to the detail of this deaf character was well done. She offers concepts for us to consider: like Thor being unaware of how loud his movements are. And she shows his other heightened senses in perfect ways.

A great book! I hope there are more novels to come in this series.

Highly recommended!