…As I reflect on the beautiful land of Appalachia, and these beloved characters that first met readers within Sons of Blackbird Mountain, it’s my honor once again to tell an all new tale from this region: a place that’s rich in history and full of heart. It’s my prayer that this next novel will hold the same! It’s also my prayer that it will be a blessing to all of those who open the pages, meet the Norgaard family once again, and walk the rugged and redemptive path alongside them.
“Just know that this book is really good. . . . I may have cried a few times, but that’s a good sign that the author gets you emotionally invested in their story. Anxiously awaiting whatever Joanne Bischof brings us next!”
“This story is full, spiritual, and unique. . . Thor and Aven are memorable characters and their story will stay with you.
With themes of forgiveness and refinement, this story is sure to touch your heart and inspire you.”
“The “lyrical writing, complex characterizations, and an exquisite, I-want-to-sink-into-this-story atmosphere” I found in the first book are equally present in Daughters of Northern Shores, and I heartily enjoyed it from beginning to end; it was a pleasure to journey with the Norgaards. I highly recommend it to readers of historical fiction…”
… the Virginia sun like melted gold through the treetops, brightening everything in its warm haze and piercing through the branches of the great maple overhead. A dance of light and childhood charm where nestled within the leaves sat the treehouse that had sheltered many an adventure for the Norgaard brothers.
While Aven’s climbing days were at a standstill, if she were to scale the makeshift ladder and settle against the rough trunk, she would see the three carved names. Jorgan. Thor. Haakon. Whittled into the living wood as boys when time and distance hadn’t changed them so. ’Twas just as well that she was land bound with child. She had no desire to see Haakon’s name, nor anything that reminded her of the man who had once been her friend but had proved himself anything but.
“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!”
“This is a truly entrancing, at times poignant, saga. The brothers and the extended families is sure to “win one’s heart”. The story is told from shore to shore, yet smoothly flows and is easily followed by the reader.”
“Joanne Bischof has such an incredible ability to draw me right into her stories and feel as if I am actually there. All of my senses become alert and aware. It’s nuts. In the best of ways. Her characters feel solid, real. They pull on my emotions. . . . Haakon’s journey . . . . is a journey of healing, forgiving, proving and loving. . . . it was still so very good.”
“Daughters of Northern Shores is another outstanding epic by Joanne Bischof, one for my “best of the best” list, and impossible for me to adequately review with any words of mine. This novel is filled with exquisite romance, emotion, poignancy, suspense and adventure. Anything that Bischof writes is excellent, but for me, she shines best in Appalachian settings. . . . Very highly recommended.”
“Story after story, Bischof masterfully captures the work of the Maker’s hand in the essence of life’s fullness, depth, and frailty. . . . The Blackbird Mountain series is saturated with culture, knowledge, and awe-inspiring landscapes but it’s the heart of the stories that make these books unforgettable and precious. I cannot recommend these books highly enough.”
Titling a Novel
Whenever anyone mentions this book, I immediately reflect on how it was my most challenging novels to date. From the difficulties in penning the story, to trying to get a few of the characters to behave (I won’t mention any names [HAAKON!]) to coming up with just the right title – every phase was quite an adventure!…
“With a slow build focusing on the relationship dynamic amongst this group—from the brother’s to Thor and Aven to the friends surrounding them—the story is engaging . And that building leads to some intensity near the end of the book that keep it going. Bischof’s beautiful prose, immersing readers in the setting, conflicts, and suspense that draw me to her books time and again.”
“Just as touching and heartwarming as the first book, the reacquaintance of this sweet family is such an enjoyable read. . . . The setting and the characters are exceptional and you leave this book feeling as though you are leaving your friends.”
I have come to expect a story from the pen of Joanne Bischof to be one that slices straight to the heart with its truth and tenderness. Daughters of Northern Shores is no exception. With its return of beloved characters and a message of trust at its center, it is one I will cherish upon recalling (and REREADING!). . . . Daughters of Northern [S]hores is a novel to treasure and one to make you think of the impact just one person can have. It is an encouraging story that reminds the reader to hope when there is no clear path ahead. And, to hold family and friends dear, always extending grace.”
“I didn’t want Daughters of Northern Shores to ever end! . . . The characters in this book are some of my favorites ever, so I will absolutely go back to book one. They are so well-written that you miss them when you reach the end. I love the way that Joanne Bischof weaves themes of remorse, reconciliation and forgiveness throughout the story. Daughters of Northern Shores made me laugh, and it made me cry. Only the best books do that.”
From the Blackbird Mountain Kitchen: Apple Cider Soup
Within the Blackbird Mountain novels, the heart and soul of the Norgaard family home is Ida’s kitchen. A kitchen this former-slave now shares with her “daughters-in-law”, Fay and Aven. Fresh from the kitchen of these three women springs loaves of hot bread, jars of orchard-fresh apple butter, and hearty stews that the men help provide for from wild game in the surrounding woodlands….
“Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof engaged my attention immediately and my interest continued throughout reading the novel. The author’s flowing prose is beautiful and it carries this tale through much brokenness, struggle, and healing. As with it’s predecessor, the character development is heart-deep and avoids simplifying difficult issues. The relationships between the Norgaard brothers are complex and rich. The epilogue was stunning, a truly perfect ending.
I highly recommend Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof to anyone who loves deeply-layered fiction with complex issues and authentic characters.”
“Fans of Joanne Bischof’s Sons of Blackbird Mountain will not be disappointed in the return visit to the Norgaard family farm in Daughters of Northern Shores. . . . there is much, much more of the story left to told, and as always, Bischof does it with beautiful prose that sets the scene and reveals the fears, sorrows, hopes, and dreams of her characters. This book is another winner!”
“…this story held me in its thrall from beginning to end. If you’re looking for a compelling family saga with well-developed characters, lyrical storytelling, and a whole lot of heart, I have no hesitation in recommending this series.”
…Haakon didn’t keep a journal. If he did, he would write that they’d hoisted sail and caught a breeze from west-southwest. A gust that was shouldering them away from southern Norway. He’d try to find the words to described how hard it was to see that shoreline grow fainter. If they lingered, they’d watch the birches begin to open their leaves. He was yet to see Norway in the summer and had only heard of its splendor.
The practical side of him would note that there were eight hundred tons of crystal ice in the hold bound for London. That’s if they survived the North Sea. If so, they would land in England four days from now.
It would take great effort to cap the inkwell then, but if he lost the battle with himself, he would add that it was getting harder and harder not to think of home.
“The setting for this book is beautiful and the I loved the character development of Thor and Aven. . . . I really had no idea what was going to happen or how things would play out and I think that is what I loved about it most of all.
If you enjoy historical romance that is more than that you will enjoy this book.”
Setting Sail with the Prodigal Son
…At the very end of Sons of Blackbird Mountain, Haakon Norgaard sets sail on an all new adventure. One all his own. As the youngest of three brothers, it’s the first time he is ever outside of their shadow—a freedom he’s certain he’s ready for, yet many lessons and matters of the heart await him during Daughters of Northern Shores…
Aven watched him through the window as he stood there, speaking to Sigurd, who was helping. In this moment, she could see a trace of the kindness she’d once known was in him.
“It be trust he need to earn, and that’s what sin does. Forgiveness . . . it pure and good, but it just the start of it. Offering one don’t mean the other be remedied as well. When a person be hurt, there need be a minding to both hope and sense.”
While words were potent, a man’s caring ran through deeper waters. It dwelled right there in what he was willing to do. Haakon knew all too well that Peter had once taken a beating for Tess. A way to protect her from his own kin. If anyone was ready to face an uncertain future against Jed and Harlan, it was Peter.
Haakon belted his knife sheath around his hip. “Come an hour before dark.”
“I’ll be here.”
Peter ran a rough hand up and down his forearm, chafing at an old scar. “I also came to tell you that my sister . . . Sibby . . . She’s married.”
“I was so happy to be back at Blackbird Mountain. The setting, the characters, the plot lines – I could go on and on. Joanne Bischof has created a beautiful series here, with a lovely picture of forgiveness – something we could all learn from. Highly recommend reading this book, but make sure you read Sons of Blackbird Mountain first!”
The air inside was dim and stagnant. Ripe with the scent of musty wood. A fresh leak had blossomed in the far corner, and sunlight hadn’t been kind to the curtains hanging on the windows. Aven stepped to them and fingered a hem just as she’d done when Haakon had stood beside her. He’d raised the curtain rod into place, giving her that boyish smile as he did. Just before the back of his hand had touched her arm. A coaxing—a pleading—for her to choose him.
A would-be lover who had lost her to Thor, losing his own way in the aftermath.
With a shuddering breath, Aven set the map on a wobbly table and turned away. Not wanting to linger, she stepped out and bolted the door before pressing the key back from sight.
“…I was more intrigued with Haakon’s character. In the first book he was easily my least favorite character, but I appreciated seeing him mature more in this story and express genuine remorse for the actions in his past. . . . I still consider it worth the read.”
“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. . . . 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. . . . Highly recommend, and an absolute must read if you enjoyed Sons of Blackbird Mountain.”
“Daughters of Northern Shores is so well-written that the Norgaard’s Appalachian farm comes to life with beautiful descriptions the reader can see and smell vividly. Filled with the type of rich historical details, my history-loving, nerd girl heart was filled to the brim. The author’s beautiful prose sing like the melody of a well-written symphony and will leave you desperately wanting more from this writer and the story world she has created for us.”
“Daughters of the Northern Shores is a powerful story of forgiveness and grace. It is full of faith and inspiration. I know so many readers will relate to the characters and will find that it is okay to forgive yourself and move on.”
Pinterest Story Boards for a Historical Romance
One of my favorite aspects of the writing process is storyboarding. There’s something about an image that can bring a scene or character to life in my mind. For both Sons of Blackbird Mountain and Daughters of Northern Shores, I created two boards for each novel—one private and one public…
“Daughters of Northern Shores was a beautiful, captivating tale that, once again, reminded me of how much I love the characters from this series. . . . The author does such an amazing job of writing in a beautiful style that captures the pace of life on the mountain. I loved seeing what was happening in all of the brothers’ lives and witnessing again the deep love between Thor and Aven. This book left me feeling a deep happiness as I turned the last page.”
“This series is #unputdownable and is going to stay inside your heart long after you put down the pages you’ve just read. Her characters are as real as any of us and their story is such a realistic account of life being lived through grace and leant on faith it is a refreshing glimpse into the past with a bridge of hope for our futures.”
“Daughters of Northern Shores is a riveting continuation of the story of the Norgaard family of Blackbird Mountain that was difficult to put down. . . . I was again swept away as author Joanne Bischof poured out her heart on these pages with tender and hopeful melancholy. . . . Daughters of Northern Shores is a story of changed lives, of love of family, of good versus evil, and of forgiveness. Though I classify it as a romance, it is so much more…”
A Heroine and Her Home
Having grown up within a workhouse in Ireland in the late 1800’s, Aven Norgaard, one of the heroines of the Blackbird Mountain novels, has never known open spanses and freedom. Now, having voyaged to rural Virginia, she’s discovered a whole new world of wonders. While her days in this new and rugged land are far from easy, they’re rich with blessings that she savors with her whole heart. And now as the bride of one of the men of this mountain, a Deaf cider-maker by name of Thor Norgaard, she’s discovering all new facets of life only once dreamed of…
“With Daughters or Northern Shores, be prepared for heavy emotions, heavy thoughts, heavy situations, but know there’s a steadfast hope and quiet beauty in each one. I still feel as though I haven’t accurately captured this book with my words, but I’ve done the best I can, and I hope you’ll take the time to read it for yourself and find the beauty in it.”
“Daughters of the Northern Shores was everything I was hoping it would be and more. The characters were raw and real, the bond of brotherhood was inspiring, the themes of grace and forgiveness were beautiful, and the deep trust they all had in God through their trials is something I hope to have. . . . this book was absolutely amazing.”
Note: All excerpts referenced above were taken from “Daughters of Northern Shores” by Joanne Bischof. Copyright © 2019 by Joanne Bischof. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.
(Blackbird Mountain #2)
By Joanne Bischof
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages
March 12th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
“The Norgaard brothers and their families will steal your heart.” —Catherine West, author of Where Hope Begins
Heartache and regret, boldness and sacrifice. What will restoration cost the beloved Norgaard family?
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.
From Christy Award–winning author Joanne Bischof comes Daughters of Northern Shores: the highly anticipated sequel to her moving novel Sons of Blackbird Mountain.
(Blackbird Mountain #1)
By Joanne Bischof
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 339 Pages
July 3rd 2018 by Thomas Nelson
From the bestselling award-winning author of The Lady and the Lionheart
“Beloved author Joanne Bischof doesn’t disappoint with her latest beautifully written, heartrending tale . . . a quick favorite for historical romance readers.” —Elizabeth Byler Younts, author of The Solace of Water
A Tale of Family, Brotherhood, and the Healing Power of Love
After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of Nineteenth-Century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.
But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.
As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?
A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.
Praise for Sons of Blackbird Mountain:
“Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a quiet gem of a historical romance. Refreshingly real and honest in its depiction of flawed but lovable individuals, it introduces characters readers will want to meet again.” – CBA Market
“. . . the novel provides an interesting glimpse of the time period and some complex social issues among neighbors in an area still recovering from the Civil War.” – Historical Novels Review
“VERDICT Christy- and Carol Award-winning author Bischof (The Lady and the Lionheart) creates endearing characters and a heartwarming story line in this unforgettable novel about the power of family, love, and the true meaning of home. Fans of Kristy Cambron, Julie Klassen, and Susan Meissner will love this one.” – Library Journal