About the Book
Book: Daughters of Northern Shores
Author: Joanne Bischof
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: March 12, 2019
Aven Norgaard understands courage. Orphaned within an Irish workhouse, then widowed at just nineteen, she voyaged to America where she was wooed and wed by Thor Norgaard, a Deaf man in rural Appalachia. That the Lord saw her along the winding journey and that Aven now carries Thor’s child are blessings beyond measure. Yet while Thor holds her heart, it is his younger brother and rival who haunts her memories. Haakon—whose selfish choices shattered her trust in him.
Having fled the Norgaard orchard after trying to take Aven as his own, Haakon sails on the North Atlantic ice trade, where his soul is plagued with regrets that distance cannot heal. Not even the beautiful Norwegian woman he’s pursued can ease the torment. When the winds bear him home after four years away, Haakon finds the family on the brink of tragedy. A decades-old feud with the neighboring farm has wrenched them into the fiercest confrontation on Blackbird Mountain since the Civil War. Haakon’s cunning and strength hold the power to seal many fates, including Thor’s—which is already imperiled due to a grave illness brought to him at the first prick of warfare.
Now Haakon faces the hardest choice of his life. One that shapes a battlefield where pride must be broken enough to be restored, and where a prodigal son may finally know the healing peace of surrender and the boundless gift of forgiveness. And when it comes to the woman he left behind in Norway, he just might discover that while his heart belongs to a daughter of the north, she’s been awaiting him on shores more distant than the land he’s fighting for.
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About the Author
More from Joanne
One of the questions I receive most often is “How do you get it all done?” As a single, homeschooling mom, I’ve long-since learned that there would be easier ways to have a day job than being an author, but God has been gracious in providing abundantly in so many areas. Here are four that I am most thankful for as I look back over the last few years, including this season of writing Sons of Blackbird Mountain and Daughters of Northern Shores.
As excited as I was to read “Daughters of Northern Shores”, I had truly hoped to read its predecessor, “Sons of Blackbird Mountain”, first. However, review time came and I just hadn’t had a chance, so with some skepticism over whether I would be able to fully understand this sequel, I began reading. It turns out that I need not have worried. While the first book doubtless provides background on the characters and the plot, much of this is skillfully rehashed as “Daughters of Northern Shores” unfolds, and I had no trouble at all following along. In fact, I was utterly embroiled in the story from the prologue, and this has easily become one of my favorite books of the year.
With “Daughters of Northern Shores”, Joanne Bischof forges a tale as bold as the Viking ancestors of the Norgaard men. A family saga, this story originates deep within the heart of the rugged hills of both rural Appalachia and Norway, and it comes full circle as families are reunited. This is not a suspense novel, yet I was glued to the pages and could not turn them quickly enough. No incident is insignificant, and I enjoyed making note of little seeds of details that later blossomed into fruit. At its bare bones, this is a simple story, but Bischof has a way of crafting each element into a poignant tapestry, placing the reader alongside the characters, first at sea with Haakon and then on Blackbird Mountain. Haakon Norgaard, the youngest brother, is a prodigal whose poor life choices and immorality shipwrecked his own life as well as that of Thor’s wife Aven in book one. Here we witness Haakon’s watershed experience, which throws into question not only his own loyalties but that of others on the Mountain.
Family being a leading theme, the connections between them offer a cross-section of life thirty years after the end of the Civil War. Race relations contributed to the ongoing feud with the men of the neighboring clan, and the acceptance demonstrated by the Norgaards is uplifting. Their circle includes wives from European countries, former slaves who are friends and companions, and even a former Klansman. Thor and Aven Norgaard are among the major characters whose stories play out in these pages, and Thor’s deafness adds a further dimension to the narrative. I enjoyed how Bischof incorporated American Sign Language into the text, and how she offers Thor’s perspective and its impact on his personality and actions. Challenges abound, all while driving home the point that there are “[s]o many courageous hearts that had forged out families, carved together a living, and built a home where the spirit and heart were at peace.” Faith gently but firmly permeates the novel, shedding light on such relevant issues as addiction, vengeance, and forgiveness. Redemption is available for those who seek it, but it does not erase the consequences of past actions, the reverberations of which form the foundation of this novel. With its life lessons and sometimes heartrending prose, “Daughters of Northern Shores” is a book that I highly recommend, and the thoughtful discussion questions included make for excellent conversation starters about topics that continue to impact society.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own
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