Though my Heart is Torn by Joanne Bischof

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

About the Book:
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2013
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Find the Book Elsewhere:
Series: Cadence of Grace, Book 2
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Inspirational
Rating: 5 out of 5

Despite being comfortable in the reading habits I have developed over these many years, I’m a girl who can appreciate discovering new books and their authors, but am also a reader who likes to read books that have a high chance of being favorite reads. Anything less and in forcing myself to read a book, the joy of reading vanishes. This particular novel has several attributes and despite my skepticism, it’s fair to say, because of those glowing qualities, I’ve learned that sometimes a risk pays off – in the quietest of ways. Lonnie O’Riley had a rough start to her marriage. It came about after a horrible misunderstanding and now she and her husband, Gideon have found happiness in their small home. Just as the two have finally found each other, they are summoned home again, and Lonnie’s world is shattered when she is told that Gideon is actually married to a girl he grew up with, Cassie Allen. Devastated not just for the loss of her marriage, but also for the sake of their young son, following an unceremonious annulment of their marriage, Lonnie packs up their son and in agreement with Gideon, she returns to the home they made sure that only her faith will give her the courage to build a new life for herself – without Gideon.

Books that take familiar elements and throw out the “rules” are the stories that touch our heart, leaving in their wake a lingering touch that makes the narrative hard to forget. This is what Though My Heart is Torn is all about. Even having the handicap of not reading book one didn’t put a damper on what this story has to say. Being the middle book didn’t – or I cannot imagine it did – drag down this series as the “curse” some middle books suffer (or can) in so many readers estimation, and instead, in many ways, this is probably the strongest book in the trio because of its emotional punch. This is the kind of book any aspiring writer wishes they could accomplish. The poignancy and careful approach Joanne took with it is breathtaking. The characters have their emotions, hearts and dreams stripped bare, which is what in turn makes us fear for their futures. It’s in the heartbreak; it’s in the romance; it’s in the faith; it’s in the word building, it’s in everything; the love in its narrative breaks down barriers and opens up wounded characters for us to cry with. It’s the weaknesses that are the book’s strength.  

Unusual to some of the market, there is a quality of goodness to the story that isn’t always found in the Christian fiction historical genre and it literally took me for a spin and I respected the story all the more for it. Part of the reason I don’t get “into” this era as much in historical fiction is because I, regretfully, find it boring. Something about the “prairie life” just doesn’t pull me in no matter how much respect I have for those who lived the life, so when a book like this comes along, I’m all the more astounded, pleased and surprised that it tugs at me. Joanne did an outstanding job creating a new kind of theme within a common era just because she dared to write a book that risked “safe,” and for that reason, I suspect this is one of the rare historical novels that won’t be giving up its place on my bookshelf in favor of something else anytime soon.

Synopsis: Gideon O’Riley has two wives—but he doesn’t know it.

Settling into a simple life in the majestic Blue Ridge mountains, Lonnie and Gideon O’Riley have finally found happiness after the rocky start to their marriage. The roguish bluegrass musician has fallen in love with his gentle wife and the God she serves, and Lonnie rests secure in his tenderness for her and their young son. A heartless ruse interrupts their peace, bringing them back to Rocky Knob—and forces them to face the claims of Cassie Allan, a woman who says she is Gideon’s rightful wife.

As Gideon wades into the depths of his past choices, Lonnie is stunned by the revelations. She has no choice but to navigate this new path, knowing that surviving the devastating blow will take every ounce of strength she has.

While Gideon’s guilt  and his bitterness towards Cassie threatens to burn up his fledgling faith, Lonnie wrestles to find the courage to trust the God who brought them together in the first place. Will their hard-earned love be able to conquer all?

Lonnie only wanted her husband’s love. Now that he belongs to another, can she surrender Gideon to a God with a bigger plan? - Goodreads
Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for INSPY consideration.


  1. Wonderful review! I read the last book in the series a little while ago and loved it. I agree -- as well-written as they may be, I'm typically not a fan of the Christian historical prairie romances, but this series seems to be an exception. I've become a fan of Joanne and can't wait to read more of her books :)

    1. You worded it exactly as my sentiments are, Jillian. I used to love this era (Janette Oke), but I seemed to have "grown out" of it, which makes it all the more special when I run across a novel that touches all the right emotions. Joanne's novel did that. :)

  2. So glad you liked this one!! Now you really ought to read the first, my friend. I'm such a huge fan of this series and its author. :D

    1. I agree, Rosie! I need to read book one post haste. In fact, I think I put the first novel on a Top Ten Tuesday coming in a few weeks (something about books I don't own but want to read... that applies!). Thanks for sharing - and I agree; this book is a beauty and Joanne is a lovely lady. :)

  3. Great review! I own the first book in this series. Historical fiction is actually my comfort zone in Christian fiction, anyway. :) The plot for the first book sounded interesting and I was definitely drawn in by the fact that the setting is sort-of local to me (at least compared to prairie/Western historical fiction). Plus, I'd heard such good things about it that I had to pick it up! :) I still haven't read it yet, though I hope to over the next few months, and if I like it, of course I'll read the rest of the series.

    1. That's awesome, Kristin! It's fun when a novel is set in a familiar place; for me, that hasn't happened (that I remember), but I get the allure of that. If you like historical fiction, you'll enjoy this one - or I sure hope you do, it's "familiar" yet the story isn't afraid to break its readers heart in the best sense. Or that's what I got out of it. :)

      Looking forward to your eventual thoughts.

  4. When I read this book, I really really wanted to dislike Cassie, but I found I couldn't. I LOVE this series!

    1. I know what you mean, Dawn. She certainly was anything but the typical "mean girl." I intend to read the whole series, which will hopefully expand the story even more than this one. :)

  5. Wow, what an amazing review Rissi! You definitely have me convinced I need to try this series. :)

    1. Thanks, Bekah. Oh, my. *bites nails* Hope you enjoy if you ever read the series then. ;) I plan on reading the first book... someday.


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