Monday, July 8, 2019

Daughters of the Northern Shores - Review

Daughters of Northern Shores (Blackbird Mountain, # 2)

By: Joanne Bischof

Publication: March 12th 2019 by Thomas Nelson

368 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

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Goodreads description--Aven Norgaard understands courage. Orphaned within an Irish workhouse, then widowed at just nineteen, she voyaged to America where she was wooed and wed by Thor Norgaard, a Deaf man in rural Appalachia. That the Lord saw her along the winding journey and that Aven now carries Thor’s child are blessings beyond measure. Yet while Thor holds her heart, it is his younger brother and rival who haunts her memories. Haakon—whose selfish choices shattered her trust in him.

Having fled the farm after trying to take Aven as his own, Haakon sails on the North Atlantic ice trade where his soul is plagued with regrets that distance cannot heal. Not even the beautiful Norwegian woman he’s pursued can ease the torment. When the winds bear him home after four years away, Haakon finds the family on the brink of tragedy. A decades-old feud with the neighboring farm has wrenched them into the fiercest confrontation on Blackbird Mountain since the Civil War. Haakon’s cunning and strength hold the power to seal many fates, including Thor’s which is already at stake through a grave illness brought to him as the first prick of warfare.

Now Haakon faces the hardest choice of his life. One that shapes a battlefield where pride must be broken enough to be restored, and where a prodigal son may finally know the healing peace of surrender and the boundless gift of forgiveness. And when it comes to the woman he left behind in Norway, he just might discover that while his heart belongs to a daughter of the north, she’s been awaiting him on shores more distant than the land he’s fighting for.

The way that Sons of Blackbird Mountain ended had me eagerly anticipating Daughters of the Northern Shores. I needed to know if, how, when Haakon could find redemption, and I was insanely curious if he would meet a woman who could show him that he isn't irredeemable. Well that's not really what happens in Daughters of the Northern Shores, and to be honest, Joanne Bischof did a much better job with her story of Haakon's road to redemption than I pictured. That being said, it was just a really different road than I expected.

One thing I wasn't expecting was for Daughters of the Northern Shores to once again focus on Thor and Aven. I was almost disappointed to find this to be the case. I wanted to read about Haakon on a boat and finding himself and falling in love. Thor and Aven already had that. So I actually put off reading Daughters of the Northern Shores because it wasn't what I had imagined it to be. It took me about 30% to really begin to connect to the characters and the new story. Because it took me so long to connect, I felt the beginning was really slow and I kept falling asleep when I'd start reading.

I already mentioned earlier than Joanne Bischof's way of crafting the story was much better than I pictured it going. Haakon needed to find his redemption apart from falling in love or at the very least not have it be a woman who showed him he was worthy. I don't know. I guess that's too easy, too cliche. And I'm thankful that Haakon had a chance to work out his past mistakes (horrible mistakes) with his family before moving forward with any sort of romance.

On the other hand, the readers aren't involved or able to experience the romance at all. Joanne Bischof wrote in such a way that all of that is avoided. And maybe one could argue that there really wasn't much romance. There was a kindness extended to Haakon that he came to realize he could return. Yet maybe the romance hasn't really even begun yet. I don't know. Honestly, I don't even know if there will be more books in the series, but I hope there will. And I hope it focuses more on Haakon and Kjersti.

Favorite quotes:

-...cultivating worries would do no good.

-The Lord knew what He was doing upon the knitting of each and every soul...

-"Unlike forgiveness, trust be a cost only he can pay."

Daughters of the Northern Shores was basically nothing like I expected it to be. In a lot of ways that turned out to be a good thing, but I also can't say that it didn't leave me with some disappointments. Haakon's road to redemption had more meaning the way Joanne Bischof wrote it than I pictured, but this book didn't have any new romance to read about which I missed and hope to see more of it there are more books in the series. Daughters of the Northern Shores gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read Daughters of the Northern Shores? What did you think? Let me know!

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