29 May 2013

Review: Though My Heart is Torn by Joanne Bischof

I was a bit hesitant about requesting  Though My Heart Is Torn for review. While I read and (mostly) enjoyed the first book in the series, Be Still My Soul, I found Gideon’s immaturity and misplaced male pride very annoying. Then I see the blurb for this, the sequel. It seems that Gideon’s redemption has just taken a giant step backwards, as it appears he has unknowingly married two women. How does that happen? More importantly, can the author write her way out of this?

The beginning was confusing enough having read Be Still My Soul: I suspect it would be even more so if I hadn't. Again, i's Lonnie who is the victim. In Be Still My Soul, Lonnie's father forces her into marriage with an unwilling and immature Gideon at gunpoint. Now she finds the marriage she didn't want isn't even valid.

Though My Heart Is Torn gives Gideon another opportunity to show some backbone and moral fibre, to prove he really does love Lonnie as much as he claimed. It shows that becoming a Christian doesn’t ‘fix’ everything in our past, because those past mistakes have consequences that can still hurt those we love.

The story is told in third person from the points of view of Gideon, Lonnie ... and Cassie. I found Cassie's point of view difficult, partly because I sometimes mixed her up with Lonnie and then had to backtrack to work it out, and partly because I found it difficult to sympathise with her. It seemed like a betrayal of Lonnie to sympathise with Cassie. And even though Cassie was a viewpoint character, I never felt as though I had a chance to get to know her or understand her. I wonder if the book might have been better to focus only on Lonnie and Gideon.

The writing was strong, and Joanne Bischof carried off a bittersweet and potentially controversial plot with sympathy and grace, although it was less overtly Christian than I expected. I'll certainly be keen to read the final book in the series to discover what happens. Recommended, but read Be Still My Soul first.

Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah and BloggingforBooks for providing a free ebook for review.

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