by Joanne Bischof
Release Date: Oct 2, 2012
Source: sent by publisher
My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Summary from goodreads.com:
Night’s chill tickled her skin. Lonnie pressed her hands together and glanced up. He was even more handsome up close. Having grown up the shy, awkward daughter of Joel Sawyer, she’d hardly spoken to any boy, let alone the one who had mothers whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns.
Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith. But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate.
Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.
Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life. What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?
Gideon only ever cared about himself. Now that Lonnie is his wife, will he ever be worthy of her heart?
This book was different from any other romance that I have read. The hero, Gideon, was absolutely horrible to Lonnie. I mean, the things he did to her were so absolutely despicable that I hardly even want to repeat all of them here. He attempted to rape her, which is why they were forced to marry, and he pushed and kicked her in the face (accidental? It's murky), among many other emotionally cold and abusive things. I was really in shock that this was the 'hero' of the story. There were a few things about the way the story was told that made it better, but it was still horrifying for the most part. First of all, the time period of the early 1900s and the setting of a poor community in Appalachia made Lonnie's decisions more clear. She couldn't go back to her family, who had forced her into the marriage. As a woman in that time and place, she literally had no options or anywhere else to go. I hope that readers realize this, and realize that as a woman NOW and in 2012, there are places to go and ways to get away from such a terrible husband and terrible situation. In this day and age, I do not believe that Gideon deserved the second, third, fourth, and fifth chances that he received then.
If it hadn't been for the appearance of Jedidiah and Elsie in the story, I don't think I could have finished the book. However, this beautiful couple came along about 1/3 of the way in, and took a pregnant Lonnie and Gideon into their home and hearts. This started as a way to protect Lonnie from her immature, selfish husband. With Jed and Elsie in her corner, Lonnie was able to stand up to Gideon a lot, and I was very proud of her. She locked him out, stopped speaking to him, and kicked him out. Yay, Lonnie!
The story itself had an elementary quality, everything was written in a super simplified way. Sometimes, scenes were left open-ended. I would turn the page, expecting a scene to continue, only to discover it had ended abruptly. I found myself doing this even the very last page of the book, thinking, "Where is the rest of the ending?" I finished the book because Jed and Elsie made me confident that Lonnie was going to be ok and cared about, and I had to know how Gideon would be able to redeem himself even a fraction.
Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Romance: I just can't give it a rating
Bottom Line: This really is an interesting book. I have never seen something like this done intentionally before. Hopefully readers know the difference between situations in the early 1900's and now, and realize there are options for women in 2012.