‘THOUGH MY HEART IS TORN,’ BY JOANNE BISCHOF. Reviewing the 2013 historical fiction novel by the Multnomah Books author. Text © Rissi JC

Despite being comfortable in the reading habits I have developed over these many years, I’m a girl who can appreciate discovering new books and their authors, but am also a reader who likes to read books that have a high chance of being favorite reads. Anything less and in forcing myself to read a book, the joy of reading vanishes. This particular novel has several attributes and despite my skepticism, it’s fair to say, because of those glowing qualities, I’ve learned that sometimes a risk pays off – in the quietest of ways. though my heart is torn


STORY: Lonnie O’Riley had a rough start to her marriage. It came about after a horrible misunderstanding and now she and her husband, Gideon have found happiness in their small home. Just as the two finally find each other, a summons brings them home again. Then Lonnie’s world shatters when she learns that Gideon is actually married to a girl he grew up with. Devastated not just for the loss of her marriage, but also for the sake of their young son, following an unceremonious annulment of their marriage, Lonnie packs up their son and in agreement with Gideon, she returns to the home they made sure that only her faith will give her the courage to build a new life for herself – without Gideon.

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Though My Heart is Torn, by Joanne Bischof | Book Review

Books that take familiar elements and throw out the “rules” are the stories that touch our heart, leaving in their wake a lingering touch that makes the narrative hard to forget. This is what Though My Heart is Torn is all about.

Even having the handicap of not reading book one didn’t put a damper on what this story has to say. Being the middle book also doesn’t drag down this series as the “curse” some middle books suffer (or can). Instead, in many ways I would even say, this is probably the strongest book in the trio because of its emotional punch. This is the kind of book any aspiring writer wishes they could accomplish. The poignancy and careful approach Joanne took with it is breathtaking. The characters have their emotions, hearts and dreams stripped bare, which is what in turn makes us fear for their futures. It’s in the heartbreak and the romance; it’s in the faith and the word building, it’s in everything; the love in its narrative breaks down barriers and opens up wounded characters for us to cry with. It’s the weaknesses that are the book’s strength.  

Unusual to some of the market, this has a goodness that isn’t always present in the Christian fiction historical genre and it literally takes me for a spin. But I respect the story all the more for it. Part of the reason I don’t get “into” this era as much in historical fiction is because I, regretfully, find it boring. Something about “prairie life” fiction just doesn’t pull me in no matter how much respect I have for ancestors or the author. When a book like this comes along that surprises me, needless to say, it’s good.

This novel by Joanne is an outstanding one that creates a new kind of theme within a common era just because she dares to write a book that isn’t “safe”. For this alone, I suspect this is one of the rare historical novels that won’t be giving up its place on my bookshelf in favor of something else anytime soon.

About the Book:

Author: Joanne Bischof
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2013
Find the Review elsewhere: Goodreads | Novel Crossing | WordPress
Add the Book: Goodreads
Series: Cadence of Grace, Book 2
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Inspirational
Rating: 5 out of 5

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this novel for INSPY consideration.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. Wonderful review! I read the last book in the series a little while ago and loved it. I agree — as well-written as they may be, I'm typically not a fan of the Christian historical prairie romances, but this series seems to be an exception. I've become a fan of Joanne and can't wait to read more of her books :)

    1. You worded it exactly as my sentiments are, Jillian. I used to love this era (Janette Oke), but I seemed to have "grown out" of it, which makes it all the more special when I run across a novel that touches all the right emotions. Joanne's novel did that. :)

    1. I agree, Rosie! I need to read book one post haste. In fact, I think I put the first novel on a Top Ten Tuesday coming in a few weeks (something about books I don't own but want to read… that applies!). Thanks for sharing – and I agree; this book is a beauty and Joanne is a lovely lady. :)

  2. Great review! I own the first book in this series. Historical fiction is actually my comfort zone in Christian fiction, anyway. :) The plot for the first book sounded interesting and I was definitely drawn in by the fact that the setting is sort-of local to me (at least compared to prairie/Western historical fiction). Plus, I'd heard such good things about it that I had to pick it up! :) I still haven't read it yet, though I hope to over the next few months, and if I like it, of course I'll read the rest of the series.

    1. That's awesome, Kristin! It's fun when a novel is set in a familiar place; for me, that hasn't happened (that I remember), but I get the allure of that. If you like historical fiction, you'll enjoy this one – or I sure hope you do, it's "familiar" yet the story isn't afraid to break its readers heart in the best sense. Or that's what I got out of it. :)

      Looking forward to your eventual thoughts.

    1. I know what you mean, Dawn. She certainly was anything but the typical "mean girl." I intend to read the whole series, which will hopefully expand the story even more than this one. :)

    1. Thanks, Bekah. Oh, my. *bites nails* Hope you enjoy if you ever read the series then. ;) I plan on reading the first book… someday.

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