The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof | My Review

via the author's Pinterest
When a novel leaves you speechless with tears in your eyes--you know it will forever remain a special kind of favorite. I have been aching to read this latest (and her first) full-length offering from one of my favorite authors, Joanne Bischof, for months ever since I had begun hearing bits and pieces about it. Historical romance, Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables, the circus world--all in turn of the century Virginia? Not only does that combination sound too good to be true--but incredibly unique. Hence my increasing excitement especially when I got my hands on it. I was not prepared for just how much God would touch my heart through the work of this gifted author. And I am so, so glad I did not rush through the story as I was tempted to. This is a story to be savored.


The Lady and the Lionheart takes the reader on a gypsy's journey into the circus world of Charlie Lionheart. A man with a loyal, steadfast heart that fits his name. He is also a man with quite a number of secrets, a shield over his heart--but a deep, abiding faith. Ella Beckley is a seemingly "plain and boring" heroine--not my words, the novel's! Read and you'll find out the context of such a description. But Ella bears her own scars not unlike Charlie's, except longer buried. Despite storms of doubt and fear assailing, Charlie and Ella are drawn together with a mutual love over a very special infant who needs a family--and a care only Ella, a nurse, can provide. Then, what follows is a God bigger than their scars and pain and pasts--and futures--turning their lives upside down and inside out, drawing them nearer to Himself, deeper into His love...crafting a divine romance for these two characters. 

Two characters who, when the novel ended, felt like dear friends I had watched traverse up and down mountains to get to where they ended up: rooted in the love of the Lord. I so hated to see it end--but what an ending. This novel was, for me, one of those true rarities where I tried hard not to rush through it. To take in every aspect of the Victorian traveling circus world, to pay attention to every little detail about Charlie and Ella...I can honestly say that I was utterly embraced and whisked away into the story thanks to the talented storyteller who wrote her heart into every line of this redemptive story. So much so that I did not want to see it end.
Written with a bright, homespun warmth and graceful finesse, Joanne Bischof's The Lady and the Lionheart is a powerful story of how God makes beautiful things out of the brokenness of His people by the power of Jesus' name--the ultimate LOVE.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Two worlds collide when the circus comes to Victorian-era Virginia.
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, country nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this ill 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 two-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. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. Website | Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Meghan M. Gorecki
Meghan M. Gorecki

Words, history, and grace color my days here in The Burgh where I seek out the perfect coffee and red lipstick.