Be Still My Soul

Written by Joanne Bischof
Review by Nancy J. Attwell

When a stolen kiss leads to a shotgun wedding, 17-year-old Lonnie Sawyer trades an abusive father for an angry husband. Gideon O’Riley, a handsome, swaggering, bluegrass musician with an eye for the girls and fists ever ready for a fight, is stunned by his sudden marriage to a shy and unappealing girl he scarcely knows. Gideon soon decides that he and Lonnie must leave their home in Rocky Knob, Virginia, and seek a new life in the town of Stuart. As the two teenagers struggle to come to terms with a marriage that neither of them wants, they both fall back on destructive habits that drive them further apart.

Set in the Appalachian Mountains at the turn of the 20th century, it is not surprising that craggy scenery, moonshine, and homespun faith all play an important part in the plot. The unusual twist is that the hero is sullen, angry, and prone to violence, yet still likeable enough that the reader roots for him to repent and leave his past behind. Interesting and well-written, this debut novel solidly launches Bischof into the inspirational fiction market.