Monday, August 16, 2010

CRY OF MY HEART by Joanne Bischof

Cry of My Heart is a tender, thoughtful novel of faith and fate, love and loss, and the folly of youth matured by the wisdom of age. Ms. Bischof has crafted a unique story that will have you gritting your teeth on one page and then smiling and shaking your head on the next.

Ms. Bischof transports you – she really transports you – into the thick forests, craggy ravines, and rushing waters of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia through the lives of young Gideon and Lonnie O'Riley. Even if this book didn't have the magnificent cover that it does, by the time you've finished reading the story, this very picture would be firmly implanted in your mind's eye. You'll hear the crunch of autumn leaves underfoot and feel winter's snow soak through your leggin's as the couple strikes out through the wilds in search of a place they can call their own.

Gideon's faltering leadership lays his family bare to the perils of an unforgiving wilderness and the wiles of unscrupulous backwoodsmen, both of whom threaten the couple's relationship and very lives. Saved in the nick of time by the elderly Jebediah and Elsie Bennett, who take them in to help with the upkeep of their farm, Gideon and Lonnie learn through experience and example what it means to become a family – yes, the rewards, but especially the cost.

Carefully researched and lovingly portrayed, Cry of My Heart saturates every page with the ambiance of The Blue Ridge mountain culture and personality. Ms. Bischof's vivid descriptions of every aspect of the milieu, from the lay of the land to the spread on the kitchen table, paints a glorious picture. I mean, how can you read "A plate of pancakes was busy melting a pad of butter....She grabbed a chunk of pork sausage and popped it in her mouth" and not start salivating like the most compliant of Pavlov's dogs?

Finally, consider the title. Cry of My Heart – along with the cover – was what caught my eye and interested me in the story in the first place, but I love its poignancy now even more having read the book. There will indeed be a crying of the heart. You will feel it; you will share it.

Oh, one last thing: prepare to love Lonnie. You really just can't help yourself.
—Bruce Judisch

Product Details:
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: OakTara
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1-60-290084-4

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