Be Still My Soul is the first book in the Cadence of Grace series. In this novel, set in the Appalachian Mountains in the late 1800s, Lonnie is forced by her father into marriage to a man she doesn't love. Gideon doesn't love Lonnie, but is afraid of her father if he doesn't follow his orders. It's the story of their struggles as they try to find a new home and make a new life for themselves. There are many ups and downs for them along the way. They begin to fall in love with each other, but their path to happily ever ever is fraught with guilt and distrust. After their hasty marriage Lonnie and Gideon go to live with his family. The cabin is already too full, so they set out on their own. They head to a town where Gideon can find a job to support his new family.
Being from the Appalachian region myself, I was anxious to read Ms. Bischof's portrayal of life here. I felt that she painted a good picture of the region and its' people without following the cliche that all mountain people are dirty, poor and uneducated. Lonnie was portrayed as a shy, pretty girl with a beautiful voice. Gideon is a handsome mandolin-player who has a way with the ladies. This story was unique and interesting from the beginning. I found Lonnie's character to be a little tiring. She prayed through the whole book that God would give her strength and that Gideon would love her and their child. But again and again she pushed him away and wouldn't let him make amends for his mistakes. She wouldn't trust him or give him a chance to explain himself. At one point she screamed at him to "get out and never come back." Although I found her attitude disappointing, it didn't ruin the story. The emotion was raw and felt very real.
I loved this story! It was a refreshing departure from many romance stories that I've read in the past. I have already checked it out on Amazon and found that the next book in the series will be published next year, and I will definitely be reading it when it does!