Daughters of Northern Shores

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

Once again the author allows us to take a journey across the land where we find ourselves in the late 1850s. We get to explore Blackbird Mountains again as we rekindle our love for the characters from the first book in the series. I am happy to continue this adventure and see what the author has in store for us. 

One of the things I liked was how the author handled a character who was deaf. Thor is very realistic and doesn't use his deafness as a handicap. He loves his family and is fiercely protective of them. I liked his strength and honesty which made him so endearing.  I held my breath as Thor faces a devastating illness. Even though he has conquered drinking, it may have caused his body damage. I was on the edge of my seat as the author unfolded his diagnosis and outcome. I am so impressed with how the author writes a story that comes alive before your eyes.

Aven is a caring woman who is worried about her husband Thor. Can she do anything to help him? She must think about the baby she is carrying and is torn what to do at times. Little does she know that someone is about to enter her life to turn everything upside down. The tension and drama in the book is incredible and keeps readers turning pages as fast as they can. 

Haakon returns home after being at sea for awhile. I didn't feel like he was welcomed with open arms. He has much to explain and hopefully make his family understand why he has been gone. There is some history between him and Aven and his hope is to receive forgiveness from her. Can he come to terms with their relationship? I can imagine how his heart must have been beating as he approached everyone. Haakon is seeking forgiveness and is wary of the outcome. I loved the emotions that spilled across the pages as the story develops.

The story is filled with redemption, second chances, forgiveness and danger. I loved how the story centered around a family who faced many obstacles but never gave up hope. I cried as characters hurt and rejoiced when joy came . There are a few twists that bring the story to a dramatic end. I will miss this series but the story will linger with me forever.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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This is a wonderful story and I do not want to put it down.  It is so interesting to read about someone who is deaf and to see how they handle things on a day to day basis.  Thor seems to handle being deaf fairly well on most days but the author shows how one can question why one is different.  The author also shows how the people around the deaf person might react at any given time to the deaf person.  I really enjoy all of the characters that were in this book and in the first of the series.  You will want to read the first book in this series so that you know all of the main characters in this one.  I received a copy of this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
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As excited as I was to read “Daughters of Northern Shores”, I had truly hoped to read its predecessor, “Sons of Blackbird Mountain”, first. However, review time came and I just hadn’t had a chance, so with some skepticism over whether I would be able to fully understand this sequel, I began reading. It turns out that I need not have worried. While the first book doubtless provides background on the characters and the plot, much of this is skillfully rehashed as “Daughters of Northern Shores” unfolds, and I had no trouble at all following along. In fact, I was utterly embroiled in the story from the prologue, and this has easily become one of my favorite books of the year. 

With “Daughters of Northern Shores”, Joanne Bischof forges a tale as bold as the Viking ancestors of the Norgaard men. A family saga, this story originates deep within the heart of the rugged hills of both rural Appalachia and Norway, and it comes full circle as families are reunited. This is not a suspense novel, yet I was glued to the pages and could not turn them quickly enough. No incident is insignificant, and I enjoyed making note of little seeds of details that later blossomed into fruit. At its bare bones, this is a simple story, but Bischof has a way of crafting each element into a poignant tapestry, placing the reader alongside the characters, first at sea with Haakon and then on Blackbird Mountain. Haakon Norgaard, the youngest brother, is a prodigal whose poor life choices and immorality shipwrecked his own life as well as that of Thor’s wife Aven in book one. Here we witness Haakon’s watershed experience, which throws into question not only his own loyalties but that of others on the Mountain. 

Family being a leading theme, the connections between them offer a cross-section of life thirty years after the end of the Civil War. Race relations contributed to the ongoing feud with the men of the neighboring clan, and the acceptance demonstrated by the Norgaards is uplifting. Their circle includes wives from European countries, former slaves who are friends and companions, and even a former Klansman. Thor and Aven Norgaard are among the major characters whose stories play out in these pages, and Thor’s deafness adds a further dimension to the narrative. I enjoyed how Bischof incorporated American Sign Language into the text, and how she offers Thor’s perspective and its impact on his personality and actions. Challenges abound, all while driving home the point that there are “[s]o many courageous hearts that had forged out families, carved together a living, and built a home where the spirit and heart were at peace.” Faith gently but firmly permeates the novel, shedding light on such relevant issues as addiction, vengeance, and forgiveness. Redemption is available for those who seek it, but it does not erase the consequences of past actions, the reverberations of which form the foundation of this novel. With its life lessons and sometimes heartrending prose, “Daughters of Northern Shores” is a book that I highly recommend, and the thoughtful discussion questions included make for excellent conversation starters about topics that continue to impact society.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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For months now, I’ve been hearing a certain name humming through the Avid Readers Facebook page. That name: Thor Norgaard. And, truthfully, I had no idea what the big deal was. The cover for Sons of Blackbird Mountain would pop up, and I’d think, yeah, I should read that someday.

Yeah, I should definitely read that someday. It’s even on my kindle, giving me the stink eye because I jumped at the chance to read Daughters of Northern Shores without going back to the beginning. I know, shame on me. I suppose I should get into the reason for the title of the post, yes?

5 reasons I recommend Daughters of Northern Shores

Thor Norgaard. Not even joking. I get it now. I understand what all the hype was about and I’m anxious to dive into book one. His struggle to overcome alcohol rings with such sincerity. I couldn’t get enough of Thor’s thoughts.

You don’t have to read book one in order to understand book two. Sometimes, this is a problem. You jump into a second novel and you’re lost like a feather in a whirlwind. Not so here. While I can’t tell you how much of book one is retold in book two, I can reassure you that you’ll get a solid grip on the characters from the get-go.


Character arc. I’m a sucker for a redemption story, and Haakon is rising from one of the lowest places I’ve seen written in Christian Fiction.

Foreshadowing. Probably the best use of foreshadowing I’ve seen in several years. At first, I thought it was a bit much, but then I recognized that my ten years of work experience gave me the inside scoop that most people won’t have.

Last but not least, the spirituality and forgiveness present in all the characters. Not just for Haakon’s sake, but for their own lives. Aven is a phenomenal woman, and her strength helps bind the story.

The Norgaard brothers are a force to be reckoned with, and the women who love them only add to the ferocity and loyalty of family.

I think you’ll be surprised by this novel. The plot and storyline sound familiar and you think you know what’s going to happen, but you don’t. The author takes you to a satisfying conclusion while driving you down a different path. Prepare to set sail on an adventure when you begin Daughters of Northern Shores.

I requested a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and was provided a copy via NetGalley. I was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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“While words were potent, a man’s caring ran through deeper waters. It dwelled right there in what he was willing to do.”

What an incredibly powerful book!  This is book 2 in the Blackbird Mountain series but it can definitely be enjoyed as a stand-alone since the most pertinent events and key elements from book 1 are recapped without interrupting the flow of this book’s storyline. The author’s trademark of lyrical and masterful storytelling will pull you into an apple orchard full of love, laughter, familial loyalty, regrets, and grace in Blackbird Mountain, Virginia in 1895 and the beautifully crafted characters of the Norgaard family will steal and keep your heart and mind long after the last page of the book is finished. The theme of the prodigal son, along with the gentle reminder for true repentance and forgiveness sprinkled with grace and mercy, is prominent and at the forefront of this story and it’s told with deeply layered emotions and thought processes from Haakon, the prodigal son, and from Thor, his older brother, and his wife Aven, whom Haakon had gravely wronged before fleeing from their shared home. In the midst of this spiritual awakening and growth within the characters, there are other sobering themes like the struggle with addiction as well as fascinating themes like epidemic jaundice and the world of the deaf.  There is quite a bit of suspense and action, too, as the Norgaard brothers defend their land and family from those who’d bring them harm. And, of course, there is heart-stuttering romance and steadfast love between Thor and Aven that will make you sigh every time they interact. 

Indeed this book is a tapestry of words woven so majestically together to leave you in awe. Savor every word and sentence!

I received a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
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Aven and Thor may just be my new favorite couple! Their story is one that is just so very sweet, they overcome obstacles and seem to understand each other in ways I hope everyone does with their spouse. Thor's brother Haakon is a great example of the prodigal son in a certain way. Haakon doesn’t always make good choices, but I will say he grew up well (Not giving anything away here). I believe that no matter what we do in life we can still change, ask forgiveness from those we have hurt and build life long relationships with those people. Joanna Bischof makes the idea that we can all be forgiven no matter what readily apparent and encouraged throughout the book either by main or secondary characters.
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Initial Reaction 
This is book two - and I haven't read book one. At chapter 4, I am comfortable enough with the backstory that I don't feel like I'm missing anything. There was no info-dump, but a sufficient set of flashbacks. 

I will admit that I am curious and will probably go read book one, but I don't feel totally lost, like I have in other books. 📚 

Without giving the plot away, there are several key characters that need to experience the unique and beautiful power of healing through forgiveness. 

Of course they don't realize that up front, and some never do figure out how healing and forgiveness go hand in hand. 

I love how everything is kept just messy enough to be believable, but still have all the elements we want in a sweet romantic drama. 

The deaf hero in this time period was so neat. Thor is impressive (not perfect, but inspiring) in his coping skills, courage and faith. His relationship with his brother is so real-life. (one of those healing through forgiveness situations) 

I found the medical history part of the story fascinating. The piecing together and discovery of facts that are common knowledge today was fun to read. 

Notes: There are guns and death, though not terribly graphic. Also it is discussed but not 'shown' that one character has a pattern of one-night stands. This isn't encouraged by any means. 

I would definitely recommend The Daughters of Northern Shores to anyone who enjoys history, fueds, and overcoming addictions and limitations.

📌 I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit and @NetGalley. I chose to review it here, all thoughts are my own.
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A fabulous look at what life was like in the 1890’s in the mountains of Virginia. Thor and Aven are awaiting the birth of their first child. Jorgan and family are growing and busy on the farm. Life continues on Blackbird Mountain, but without Haakon, who is out at sea harvesting ice for England’s upper class, his shame and guilt following him wherever he goes. Is forgiveness possible? The problems continue with the Sorrel men to the point of evolving into subterfuge from both sides. Will Thor survive their sneaky attack and will the need for revenge overshadow everything?

Even without reading book #1 in this series, I was able to understand the feelings of hurt, the betrayal of trust and the need to be forgiven. The spiritual growth and maturity shown in Haakon, Aven forgiving and learning to trust again and Thor accepting the immense changes in his brother brings the story full circle. 

Perchance Haakon’s prayer has been answered? ‘If God would but grant him another mercy. Should the outcome be dire, he prayed that God would welcome him to peace.’

I received an ARC through NetGalley and CelebrateLit. The impressions and opinions given are my own.
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The way that Sons of Blackbird Mountain ended had me eagerly anticipating Daughters of the Northern Shores. I needed to know if, how, when Haakon could find redemption, and I was insanely curious if he would meet a woman who could show him that he isn't irredeemable. Well that's not really what happens in Daughters of the Northern Shores, and to be honest, Joanne Bischof did a much better job with her story of Haakon's road to redemption than I pictured. That being said, it was just a really different road than I expected.

One thing I wasn't expecting was for Daughters of the Northern Shores to once again focus on Thor and Aven. I was almost disappointed to find this to be the case. I wanted to read about Haakon on a boat and finding himself and falling in love. Thor and Aven already had that. So I actually put off reading Daughters of the Northern Shores because it wasn't what I had imagined it to be. It took me about 30% to really begin to connect to the characters and the new story. Because it took me so long to connect, I felt the beginning was really slow and I kept falling asleep when I'd start reading.

I already mentioned earlier than Joanne Bischof's way of crafting the story was much better than I pictured it going. Haakon needed to find his redemption apart from falling in love or at the very least not have it be a woman who showed him he was worthy. I don't know. I guess that's too easy, too cliche. And I'm thankful that Haakon had a chance to work out his past mistakes (horrible mistakes) with his family before moving forward with any sort of romance.

On the other hand, the readers aren't involved or able to experience the romance at all. Joanne Bischof wrote in such a way that all of that is avoided. And maybe one could argue that there really wasn't much romance. There was a kindness extended to Haakon that he came to realize he could return. Yet maybe the romance hasn't really even begun yet. I don't know. Honestly, I don't even know if there will be more books in the series, but I hope there will. And I hope it focuses more on Haakon and Kjersti.

Favorite quotes: 
-...cultivating worries would do no good.

-The Lord knew what He was doing upon the knitting of each and every soul...

-"Unlike forgiveness, trust be a cost only he can pay."

Daughters of the Northern Shores was basically nothing like I expected it to be. In a lot of ways that turned out to be a good thing, but I also can't say that it didn't leave me with some disappointments. Haakon's road to redemption had more meaning the way Joanne Bischof wrote it than I pictured, but this book didn't have any new romance to read about which I missed and hope to see more of it there are more books in the series. Daughters of the Northern Shores gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read Daughters of the Northern Shores? What did you think? Let me know!
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This is a sequel I had waited anxiously for. The first book was probably my favorite read last year, with so much depth and strong character development. However, I felt as though this book rode the coat tails of the last, relying on all that happened before in order to make this story worth while.

The majority of the first quarter of this novel is dedicated to dredging up what happened in the last story, reminding the characters and perhaps informing new readers. As I had already read the first book, I found myself tempted to skip sections of this while also struggling with strong emotions over remembering what happened in the last book. A book that was SO GOOD. But my love of the last book could only carry my enjoyment of this one so far.

The first book dealt with a lot of things: overcoming addiction, finding love, the heartache of being deaf in a hearing world, the festering pain of childhood lose... and I could go on.  However, this story focuses on the reconciliation of Haakon with his family and the long time simmering hatred that the Sorrell Klansmen hold for Thor. While these are worthy things to be covered in the story, after the beauty of the first book I was left feeling that this book could have been so much more. Especially since the danger of the Klansman only really affects the end of this book despite being brought up through out.

I won't lie and say that there was never a moment that I was choked up or heartbroken over a portion of this story. But those moments were directly tied to the first book, and in between I waited for more to be happening. For the Sorrell's to be a greater threat or for side characters to be engaged in some other struggle rather than going about their lives as usual, waiting for the main characters to take care of all their problems.

I have provided an honest review after receiving a copy of the book through the publisher.
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Everything that I loved about the first book was present in the second, making for a delightful sequel. Thor is still one of my favorite heroes. I found it interesting to see the way he and his family handles everyday life with his hearing loss. For me, it was the little details, such as one of the brothers stomping on the floor to get his attention through the vibration, that just made it all the more realistic. 
Bischof does a wonderful job walking out redemption and grace through the youngest brother. I'm always a sucker for seeing the bad guy redeemed, so that was definitely a highlight of the story for me. 

Rating and Recommendation: I'm giving it 4 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy Historical Christian Fiction, fiction set in the Appalachian mountains, a great redemption story, or those looking for a story with a main character with a disability. 

~ I received a copy from the publisher through Net Galley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a favorable one.
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Joanne Bischof's deft historical pen has crafted another beautiful story of redemption and forgiveness in Daughters of Northern shores. I truly was not certain that Haakon's character could be convincingly altered after his destructive choices in the first book but I was well satisfied with the transformation. There is a reason why I recommend Joanne's books whenever I am asked about my favorite historical writers and I look forward to her next offering.
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This was book 2 in a series about three brothers and their relationships within their family. This book follows Hakan, the youngest brother. He carries the guilt of his mother dying upon giving birth to him. This boulder of guilt follows him through his young adulthood and onto his quest to escape it by serving as a sailor. The book begins once he finishes about 5 years at sea and has met a young widow woman in Scandinavia. Seeing her with her young children puts a longing in Hakan to return home and maybe set things right with his family. 

At home in Virginia, he has demons to deal with in his sick, oldest brother and a long-standing family feud between Hakan's family and the mountain neighbors. The feud is complicated and still hard to follow, even in book 2.

I was able to follow the story because I read book 1. I do not recommend this as a stand-alone book. There's too much background in the first book.
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Daughters for Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof is book 2 in the Blackbird Mountain series and I thought it was a great read that had intrigue, suspense, love, and challenges to hang on.  I enjoyed that there was a man who communicated by sign and I loved the Lord being all the nearer.  There is a powerful display of sin, unforgiveness, and regrets in a person's heart and the battle to lay it down for redemption and hope found in Jesus.  
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Also posted on CBD, B&N
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I received this book through NetGAlley.  My opinions are my own.   This was my first time reading this author and I was impressed.  The story was great!  I would recommend this book to my friends.
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I have to savor a Joanne Bischof book; I can’t blow through it fast. I have to read every detail in the wonderful prose that this author uses. It was wonderful to come to Aven and Thor’s lives and it was neat to see Haakon’s journey.  I was fascinated with the information about different jobs and shipping items that Haakon worked on across the seas. It feels a bit like coming home on the Norgaard farm, even though I have never been to that area. The ending was simply beautiful. There was hardship and headache before that though. I had a really tough time reading some of it because I was scared for these characters and my emotions didn’t want to deal with losing any of these beloved characters. You know a book is good when the characters are that “real” to you and not just characters in a book. Blackbird Mountain is a place that every reader should journey too, but you do need to read the first book first to get the most out of this book.
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I read this second book in the series because we read the first one in book club and then this one. I’m sorry to say that neither of these books grabbed me, but rather I felt like I had to plod through them.  Not everyone in our book club felt this way, of course. I did purchase both books for our church library.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
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I'm a huge fan of Joanne Bischof's novels. She has a way of making her characters so real and vibrant that I always feel I'm really part of the story. They often make me cry because she really delves into their feelings, being raw, passionate, tender, compassionate or fierce.
The Daughters of Northern Shore is an excellent sequel to The Sons of Blackbird Mountain, where I fell in ove with Thor and Aven. And I have to accept, Haakon had part of my heart too, so I was eager to know what would become of him in this book.
There's a lot of turmoil in this story and drama. Haakon escapes to Norway, where he hopes to forget Aven and finds his own adventures as well. But then a family feud with the neighboring farm strikes a war in Blackbird Mountain that threatens to destroy it all, and Haakon returns after four years, not knowing he may be the key to ending it all. And while at it, he may earn forgiveness, healing and redemption.
I truly enjoyed this book as well as the first one. I didn't think anyone would outshine Thor in my heart, but I found myself rooting for Haakon with all my heart in this one too!
I would have liked to see more of Thor and Aven, but I guess this was totally Haakon's story.
The end was epic and took my breath away!
I don't want to spoil this story. i just want to say that it's a must read, and that you should read The Sons of the Blackbird Mountain so you can truly understand what the characters are going through!
An epic story that you won't easily forget!
I'm eager to know if there will be a third story! I really hope so! I'm in love with this family!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This book picks up close to where book one, Sons of Blackbird Mountain, left off. I recommend you read book one first, though there is a lot of recap. (This slowed the plot of book two down. That’s a tough balance, and it’s difficult to know if readers will be confused or bored.) We get to catch up with Thor and his brothers. Once again, the author does a great job of bringing us into a Deaf (her capitalization preference) person’s world. I really enjoy reading about this element in a main character’s life. It’s rare in CBA fiction.

I like Joanne’s writing voice. Her historicals are rich with research and strong prose. She’s a wordsmith. One element I noticed this time that I didn’t in book one is the POV is distant. With all that lovely prose, I didn’t feel the characters’ emotions, most of the time. Their emotions are described, but not presented in a way that helps readers feel. I also found redundancies and stalled ruminations that didn’t advance the plot. 

This story is Aven’s, definitely, but it’s also Haaken’s. We follow this youngest brother throughout the book. He’s a wounded soul and therefore we’re engaged in his story, but at the same time there were believability issues. Without a redemption moment near the beginning of the story, we see him changing. The arc wasn’t believable without that element, and I always felt like something was missing for his characterization. Without a God-encounter near the story’s opening, it’s hard to believe he can be a deeply changed man—from lustful to redeemed and made new, walking in ongoing repentance (i.e. not returning to lust) though he’s back in his target’s life.

I was a little lost at times when characters made plans without letting the reader in on them. Without deep POV, we had the disadvantage of distance. Keeping some secrets is fine. That may keep us reading. But leaving us in the dark for whole chapters can be frustrating.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, which kept me returning to read more. Once finished, I missed the setting and the characters. At the end of the story, the author sets up book three. I can’t wait!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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The men are valiant and the women resilient. These are the lead characters in Daughters of the Northern Shore written by Joanne Bischof. It’s a plot that moves at a moderate pace at first, but finishes like a 50 yard dash. Initially you wonder how all the parts will weave together. We meet Northern European immigrants, a prodigal son, a deaf sibling, moonshiners, and a band of abusive and racist thugs. The action soon heats up to a feverish pitch. A strategy devised to end the thug’s tyranny is as good as any top-rated TV crime drama. Once it’s set to action, you’re right there with them in the smoke, confusion, and volley of ammunition. With the women safeguarded at a faraway location, you’ll root for the Norgaard Brothers and their allies, hoping they will emerge unscathed. No spoiler alert here. You’ll have to read the book to discover the outcome.
     The post Civil War setting is unique and draws quite a story line out of an often overlooked consequence of sending thousands into battle during a time when sanitation and medical procedures were primitive.
     Cora shares wisdom that soothes troubled souls. Eventually Haakon, the prodigal son, accepts the gift of forgiveness Cora describes and stops running from the consequences of his bad choices. At the conclusion, Haakon gains his heart’s desire.
     There are no straw characters here. Tate Kennedy, the Doctor, Mrs. Sorrel, and Sibby are secondary characters with power. They unveil mysteries and take action when called upon. This book is a sequel to Sons of Blackbird Mountain. I did not read the first book, but this in no way hindered my interest in the sequel. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and appreciated the author's remarkable word choice. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange of my honest review.
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