Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Blog Tour Review: Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

From the Back Cover:

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.

My Thoughts:

I was immediately drawn to the description of this book. A historical romance with strong themes of faith and forgiveness, the story centers on Aden, a young widow recently arrived from Norway, and Thor, the middle of the Norgaard brothers, apple farmers who make a very healthy living selling hard cider and wine. Set adrift and unsure where she belongs in the world, Aden begins to find a semblance of home on the mountain and finds her heart opening to Thor, but Thor's drinking brings up painful reminders of her marriage. While outwardly the brothers seem to have it all, old hurts and tensions run between them, particularly with the youngest, Haakon, and run-ins with their bitter neighbors and the Ku Klux Klan bring the threat of real danger.

From the very beginning I was drawn to the characters and their farm in southwest Virginia, but there is one in particular who captured my heart. Ah, Thor. A deep soul who often finds himself frustrated by the inability of others to understand him, with emotions so big and uninhibited that they can come out rather intensely. Numbing his pain and resentment with alcohol from the moment he wakes up every day. Never daring to hope that a woman would come along with the desire to see past his deafness, to make an effort to understand him and get to know him, to fall in love with him, to want to spend her life with him. Until Aden comes along, and what follows is a tender, emotional, angst-filled tale of love and overcoming addiction that really pulls at the heartstrings.

However, I ended up with mixed feelings about this book. I was absolutely in love with the love story and couldn't wait to see how it would play out, but I found the story often got bogged down by tedious details and description. Of course details and descriptions are vital in bringing the past to life, but it's easy to give too much and throw off the rhythm of the story, slow it down unnecessarily. And so I ended up skimming a bit. I also thought it had too many plot threads going on to do full justice to any of them. After finishing, I learned that this is first in a series and the author needed to set up several threads that will run through all of the books, but I still feel like these were complex themes--alcoholism, racism, superstition, grief, post-war hostility--that seemed sort of glossed over or rushed. And finally, Haakon sort of pulled a 180 and did some crazy things at the end that seemed to come out of nowhere. Turns out that was all a setup for the next book, but it just felt tacked on and contrived. I haven't decided yet if I'll read the next book because I don't really want to read about Haakon, but I probably will because, well . . .Thor.

If you're looking for something different in historical romance, this should definitely be on your radar. And it is a wonderful love story. Just be prepared for all of the other stuff that gets in the way.

My Rating:  3 Stars out of 5

Sons of Blackbird Mountain is on a blog tour!


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1 comment:

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