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    Suspense, forgiveness and renewed trust

    A fabulous look at what life was like in the 1890’s in the mountains of Virginia. Thor and Aven are awaiting the birth of their first child. Jorgan and family are growing and busy on the farm. Life continues on Blackbird Mountain, but without Haakon, who is out at sea harvesting ice for England’s upper class, his shame and guilt following him wherever he goes. Is forgiveness possible? The problems continue with the Sorrel men to the point of evolving into subterfuge from both sides. Will Thor survive their sneaky attack and will the need for revenge overshadow everything? Even without reading book #1 in this series, I was able to understand the feelings of hurt, the betrayal of trust and the need to be forgiven. The spiritual growth and maturity shown in Haakon, Aven forgiving and learning to trust again and Thor accepting the immense changes in his brother brings the story full circle. Perchance Haakon’s prayer has been answered? ‘If God would but grant him another mercy. Should the outcome be dire, he prayed that God would welcome him to peace.’ I received an ARC through NetGalley and CelebrateLit. The impressions and opinions given are my own.
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    Captivating historical fiction

    Daughters of Northern Shores is the second in the Blackbird Mountain series by Joanne Bischof. I was so looking forward to reading it and was not in the least disappointed. Although one could read this as a stand-alone story as the author does a good job filling in the back story, I would suggest being sure to read Sons of Blackbird Mountain for a more full experience with these characters. Despite the past difficulties Aven and Thor are building their new life together, with a wee one on the way, when a debilitating disease threatens their happiness. How did it happen and what will be the outcome? Thor's brother, Haakon, who fled the mountain home four years prior has now made a difficult decision to return and 'face the music' so to speak. How will he be received? Has he really changed enough to be accepted back into the family fold? The characters are well-defined, well rounded with attributes and flaws and depicted with deep-set emotions as they learn to cope with the struggles that come their way in the story. And the struggles--retaliation from a neighbor bent on evil revenge, severe illness, forgiveness, and restoration--were very real and the author expertly dealt with these gritty subjects. The descriptive writing style, original use of language and imagery vividly paint a realistic portrait of life in the mountains of Virginia in the 1890s, as well as life at sea on a trading ship. Daughters of Northern Shores is a story that, although it comes to a satisfactory ending, sadly does end. I wish there were more to come in the story of the Norgaard family as they trust God to provide and to heal, physically, emotionally and relationally. Readers who love stories of redemption and second chances and historical fiction with a bit of romance will not want to miss this story. I received a complimentary copy of this book via CelebrateLit. A favorable review was not required and opinions are my own. This review is part of a CelebrateLit blog tour.
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    Loved it!

    I was so happy to return to Blackbird Mountain and the haven where Thor and Aven share such a tender and devoted love. Life isn't perfect there- it's full of peril with the Sorrels threatening trouble again and a mysterious sickness weakening Thor. I was glad that the story alternated to Haaken's point of view as well, seeing his journey of redemption as his regrets compel him to return home after four years to make amends. The writing is beautiful and evocative, not flowery, but gently and subtly painting a picture of the setting, relationships, and growing tension as the Norgaard's prepare again to fight for everything they hold dear. I loved seeing their family grow with the birth of Aven's first child and Haaken's unforgettable love. Highly recommend to fans of historical fiction and sweet romance! (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions expressed in this review are my own)
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    Evocative, Heartfelt

    Four years have past since Haakon Norgaard left Blackbird Mountain and set sail for the exotic coasts and frozen lands of his forefathers. But he can't shake the memories that haunt him, and the scars in need of forgiveness. Back home, the remaining Norgaard brothers have built a thriving business without their renown cider, focused on raising their families. But when a mysterious illness leaves Thor fighting for his life, and the Sorrels' return bring a darkness back to the mountain. Can a house divided band together to protect what they each hold dear? Picking up in the aftermath of the previous novel, Aven and Thor have made a beautiful life together, their marriage only deepening their bond. Haakon is a wandering and restless soul, he has travelled the world and still feels the call of home on Blackbird Mountain and the need to make things right, while on the other side of the world a woman lives who he can't seem to forget. In four years a lot has changed, yet many of the same ghosts still haunt the Norgaard family. Deftly and almost musically, the wild beauty, and stark danger of mountain living is brought to life through verdant descriptions, poetic and evocative. Ms. Bischof manages to always find the right words to elicit the heartaches and pain of the characters, painting a picture with words one of the best examples of showing rather than telling. I loved the way that she handled communication between the various characters, showing body language that speaks volumes, as well as the more abrupt structure of sign language. Though times have changed, old feuds and sins still haunt the brothers. Haakon is the star of this book, a prodigal son returned home with a less open-armed welcome than the biblical wayward son. he fights to show his loyalty to a family that has largely disowned him. But blood is thicker than water, and Haakon knows that they need him more than even they might know, he is determined to make amends. Well loved by the children, he still has his charm. I liked seeing how he had matured through years of labor at sea, in some ways worse and in some better. Daughters of Northern Shores is an appalachian epic of family, the bonds of blood, the ties of friendship, anchors of love, and the human condition. Peter is one of my favorite characters for how far he's come and how he has become so dear. Set in the years before the turn of the 20th century, we see the rumblings of life on the mountain beginning to change. Riveting and evocative, this was a gripping read for various reasons, that had me stealing moments to read amidst a busy day. Highly recommend, and an absolute must read if you enjoyed Sons of Blackbird Mountain. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in hopes that I would review it. All opinions are my own. I only recommend books that I personally enjoyed and believe would be enjoyed by my readers.
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    Incredible

    I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to read this book. I anticipated it like my favorite dessert; I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, but I also wanted to savor every moment. The depth of characters Bischof writes takes my breath away. I find myself thinking about them when I should be sleeping. They are absolutely some of my favorite characters ever written. Thor is one of a kind in every way. I first met him in Sons of Blackbird Mountain, and have been in love with him since. Aven has his heart though, so I guess I’ll have to share. His brothers Jorgan and Hakkan were also easy to love, though they each have their faults. Daughters of the Northern Shore took me on a journey from the frozen shores of Norway and back to an apple orchard on Blackbird mountain. I loved every moment. Bischof had me laughing, holding my breath, and crying. I can’t recommend this book enough. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers and Netgalley and was in no way forced to post a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
5

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