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by Joanne Bischof
From the back cover:
Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet–freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.
As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl–boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.
About the author:
A Carol Award and three-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. That same year, her historical novella, This Quiet Sky, broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. To Get to You, her 2015 release, was the second. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from Romantic Times Book Reviews among other critical acclaim. She is represented by Sandra Bishop of Transatlantic Literary Agency.
Oh. My. Goodness! It’s been a long time since I read an entire book in one day. That’s partly due to a busy schedule, but The Lady and the Lionheart will pull you in and not let go!
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a circus setting, to be honest. Taking a chance on a new author can be worrisome, too. I now know this is one author absolutely worth the chance!
The Lady and the Lionheart is not only filled with memorable characters, but the sweetest themes of love, self-sacrifice, and redemption. We’ve likely all been damaged in some way by our past, but our God is bigger. We don’t have to be defined by the past.
This is an amazingly well-told story you won’t want to miss! (You might want to grab a box of tissues… It’s so good!)
(This post was shared on the Booknificent Link-up, where you’ll find a collection of posts about books, reading, and literacy!)