Sunday, April 14, 2013

Though My Heart is Torn - by Joanne Bischof

Though My Heart is Torn is the second book in The Cadence of Grace series, the continuation of the story of Lonnie and Gideon.  In this installment of their story, we learn that Gideon was not free to marry Lonnie and live the life they've worked so hard to build together, but instead, that he is still legally married to Cassie Allan, a fact that her brothers and father intend to hold him to.  Irregardless of Lonnie and Gideon's love, or even their child together, in the eyes of the church and the law, Gideon is legally bound to Cassie.  Is there any way out of this mess?  Are the consequences of Gideon's past still haunting him and his new family, the family that has convinced him to finally step away from his selfish life and live for something greater than himself?  What will become of Lonnie and Jacob if this mess can't be fixed?

Wow.  I was so excited to be given the chance to review this book, given how much I loved the author's first installment, Be Still My Soul. This book didn't disappoint.  The characters were so rich and their struggles so engaging, that Though My Heart is Torn was an apt title for both the characters within and me, as a reader, on the outside.  My heart was torn with Gideon as he struggled to know what was right; the desperate need to be who he was now - the man who tried to live for God and others, even when the consequences of his selfish past choices could be pulling him away from the very people who changed him for the better.  My heart was torn with Lonnie as she was the one most affected by this past choice that she had no part in and yet because of it was about to lose the man, whom against her better judgement, she had come to love so deeply.  Perhaps the most surprising twist, however, was that my heart was even torn for Cassie - the woman who was coming between Lonnie and Gideon's love.  Even though Cassie was as much a part of the problem as Gideon, she was a real woman who had her own hurts and desires, and just wanted to be loved and accepted.  My heart was so torn that I didn't even know how I wanted the story to go.  Did I want Cassie to "conveniently" die so that the problem could be "solved" and Lonnie and Gideon could be back together?  Sometimes, but that would have done a great injustice to these characters and their depth.  Did I want Gideon to accept that Cassie was his true wife and love her as such?  Sometimes, but then I felt so hurt for Lonnie that I wasn't sure that would be a good answer either.  Did I want Lonnie to move on and find new love and be loved as she should?  Sometimes, but then that did a disservice to the love and growth and struggles that she and Gideon had come through.  Like I said, my own heart was torn throughout this book.

There were so many strengths in this novel that made me enjoy it.  It was a very strong sequel, standing alone as a complete and engaging story - I can't wait for the conclusion in Book 3, but it didn't leave me feeling incomplete.  (However!  I do HIGHLY recommend reading Book 1 before reading Book 2 - you really do need to get to know Lonnie and Gideon from the beginning)  Mostly, I enjoyed that Gideon's journey wasn't over.  Just because he changed in Book 1, and was getting to know who God is, didn't mean that he had it all together now, or that his faith was full.  He, very clearly, was still learning, as he still called God "that God of yours" to Lonnie, and was still trying to figure out what this faith thing looked like.  Having to deal with the actions of his past, the "old" Gideon, was such a compelling part of who he is now - turning to God didn't magically erase who he used to be, but it did greatly affect how he dealt with the consequences.

I highly recommend this series.  It is so atypical from much of the Christian fiction available; there is so much depth, and the author doesn't shy away from the hard things in life, yet deals with them honestly and sensitively.  I gladly give this book 4 stars, and can't wait to see what happens with the rest of the story!

You can find the author's website HERE.  (She is so down-to-earth and easy to relate to - and she responds personally to comments on her blog!)
There is more info about Though My Heart is Torn HERE.
And you can read the first chapter HERE.

I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah, in exchange for my honest review.

Please consider ranking my review so that I can continue to receive great books to review!

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