Cover Image: The Gold in These Hills

The Gold in These Hills

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Member Reviews

Joanne’s strong prose hooks readers from the first line: It’s paramount that my daughter and I survive the coming winter, yet ghost towns are not for the living. Epic, right? I loved that we’re in first person, my favorite narrative choice.

This split-time novel is unpredictable and inventive, elements I liked.

The historical heroine’s life is a challenge for survival, and she’s raising her daughter alone, suddenly, which raises the stakes.

One of the themes, as the MC (main character) fights with her community to keep her townspeople alive, is that of restoration. Some towns just die. Will hers?

We bounce back and forth between the past and the present. In the past we’re in the heroine’s POV, fighting to carry on. In the present, in a very strong male POV voice, we’re doing a bit of the same while restoring a farmhouse. He’s a contractor, who also must overcome and raise his children. Each MC is sympathetic and likable.

Another theme was that unknowns can paralyze us in place, but there can be treasures in the darkness. We have to go through the challenges to find those riches. The characters have to face the pain of love and loss, the deserts of life. There's a choice to hope, or not. Very relatable.

Unfortunately the story lost me near the end. I ended up skimming. Perhaps it was the season of the pandemic, but life was already heavy enough and I gave up on this story. I felt there was a lot of potential, but it didn’t play out the way I’d hoped.

Still, I wish the author and publisher all the best. I will definitely watch for more novels by this author as I've enjoyed her work in the past.
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For some reason, something about this cover made me want to eat up this book. Sadly, the taste was very, <i>very</i> bad.  Hands down the worst book I read this year. 

It is lost letters trope wih dual storylines. However, there's no story in either of the storylines! 

I will forget everything about this book by tomorrow, I promise you that. There is <u>nothing</u> that makes it special enough to stick for even a week.
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Unfortunately, this book did not grab my attention. After about 40% into it, I did not finish it. The characters were interesting, but the story seemed to drag with detail and no sense of where the plot was headed. I may try it again one day because I know several who love it!
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I loved this book immensely!  Right after I finishd I was sick for a month back in August, so I never wrote an adequate review, for that I am sorry because this book is truly amazing.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas Nelson, & HarperCollins for the opportunity to read and review this book before it's publication date! This in no way affected my review, opinions are my own.

Really enjoyed this dual timeline narrative and all the characters. The author's writing was highly evocative of the time she was writing about, and you could tell she had done a lot of research which is always appreciated. Will definitely be picking up more books by this author in the future!
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I felt such a kinship with this book…and with the two intersecting stories about people I would love to be friends with. John and Juniper Cohen were hardworking settlers—John, a miner, and his mail order bride Juniper find a home in Kenworthy, a California boom town at the turn of the 20th century. Their friends, the other townspeople, their daughter, and their choices (good and bad, which seem to be a character on their own) and day to day trials and joys are full of forgiveness, trust, and moving beyond sorrow. Johnny Sutherland is on the brink of divorce and once a place to call home when he purchases the home that was once John and Juniper’s. While digging through old artifacts, Johnny ends up researching the history of his home and the folks who lived there. It is through learning about what came before him, and assisting a student with her project, that Johnny too learns to find light within the shadows of his personal valley to make his way to the other side, much like the Cohens of yesteryear did. Such a marvelous story of God’s goodness and grace.
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This book was so full of emotions and struggles. But I loved these characters. Seeing their strength and determination. Their resiliency, hope and healing. It was just beautiful.

There are two timelines happening throughout the book, in the same location. A dying mining town for Juniper and a single home that used to be part of a gold mining town now a ghost town for Johnny.

I loved how Juniper's story was slowly discovered by Johnny. And the healing that it was able to help him with in his life. Not only Juniper's story but that of her friend who also lived in the dying town.

There are so many wonderful characters throughout this book. I loved them so much and all the different parts to the story that they represented and brought about.

This was my first book by this author but it will not be my last. Several of my friends have read her books and enjoyed them and I've eyed them for a long while. I'm so glad I finally dove in and read this one. Well worth it!

Content: Clean. Some mild peril. Divorce is a topic discussed as well. Nothing explicit. This is a Christian fiction novel but not overly strong with religious topics, more so just the characters thinking or occasionally praying in their minds/hearts.

I received a copy from the publisher, Thomas Nelson-fiction, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.

Happy Reading!!!
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This was a wonderful book. I really appreciated both timelines and the way that lessons from one informed the other. I wish more historical fiction was set during this timeframe. I look forward to reading more from this author.
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This novel is an impressive work told from two timelines. The characters come across as solid and believable individuals.  This is a story that I was lost in. 
Many thanks to Thomas Nelson and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this arc. I really enjoyed this story. Although the characters faced many hardships, they didn’t let themselves be kept down. It was a heartwarming storyline and it kept me entertained throughout. I was surprised about the religious / God parts added in, as I didn’t realize that this was a Christian book. It was a bit much for me, but I was able to just skim over those parts. Overall, I wonderful historical fiction read!
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A mail-order bride arrives to find a kind and loving man named John. When the mine pans out John vanishes. She has to go on making a living for her daughter and face the fact that the town Kenworthy, California is most likely to close and her life will change once again. The story jumps to present day and young man who is struggling with his marriage ending decides to buy and restore a 100 year-old  abandoned farmhouse in Kenworthy, California. When he finds some old letters addressed to John, he realizes the trials of life this woman went through would also touch his world. I requested a copy through NetGalley no review was required. My opinion and review are voluntary.
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I really enjoyed reading this book, it was a well done historical novel. I enjoyed the two timelines and getting to know the characters in this story. I look forward to more from the author.
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I adore Joanne Bischof and was excited to get my hands on her newest release, The Gold in These Hills. She has the most beautiful way of drawing me into a story and this one is no different. This is one of those reads, that will have tears in my eyes in one moment and then the warmth in my heart the next. I loved every single page. I highly recommend it! Five plus stars.
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The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof is a beautifully written, historical dual time-line story with settings in the early 1900s and present day. The descriptive writing style, original use of language, and imagery vividly paint a realistic portrait of life in both time settings. I enjoyed the historical aspects of the book as the author brings in interesting aspects of the gold mining industry. The characters are well-defined, well-rounded with attributes and flaws, and depicted with deep-set emotions as they learn to cope with the struggles...struggles that are challenging and opportunities for growth in the characters. The story is heart-wrenchingly sad at times, and yet, there is hope threaded throughout as well. I received a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley. A favorable review was not required and the opinions are my own.
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Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book for an honest review.

A duel time line book set around a mining town or, more specifically, a cabin in a mining town.  Hadn't realised this was a Christian book so a bit too heavy on the God/prayer thing for me but found the historical aspect, particularly the character of Edie entertaining.
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Such an enjoyable, beautiful story! I loved both of these characters and became very invested in their stories. The writing was lyrical and atmospheric. I love a good redemption story, so this was right up my alley. Highly recommended!
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley for the purpose of review.
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I love Joanne Bischof’s writing and will always read her new releases. I will admit the book was a bit slow to start, but I enjoyed it overall.
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The California mountains come alive in this dual timeline story. Our historical heroine is Juniper Cohen, whose husband has disappeared into the hills, leaving her with their young daughter while the mining community drifts on to find another strike. In modern times, Johnny Sutherland seeks to restore the only building left standing—Juniper's home—in the ghost town of Kenworthy even while fighting for his marriage, his kids, and the life which has unexpectedly turned upside down on him.

Juniper doesn't know where her husband is, or if he'll return. Fighting for survival, she befriends the few people left in Kenworthy. She refuses to leave, wanting to be exactly where her husband left her in case he comes home. 

Johnny doesn't want to sign the divorce papers his wife has drawn up. Her infidelity doesn't cancel his love for her or the desire to raise their family together. As he connects with the history of Kenworthy, and especially that of Juniper Cohen, he finds kinship and comfort in the least likely places.

I really enjoyed this story. It is extremely character-driven, so it is not for readers who like a lot of action. Both Juniper and Johnny face deep hardship and have to make difficult decisions over the course of the novel, but there is always gentleness, truth, and God's faithfulness in the mix. I liked how the past and present storylines wove together, and there were some surprises along the way that took the story to places I wasn't expecting.

Like our characters, I could relate to this quote from late in the novel: "This is the story that God has woven for us, and I am learning to trust that He knows the way."

If you are a fan of the character-driven novel, please consider checking this one out.

I received my copy of the book from the publisher. All thoughts in this review are my own.
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The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof is the first novel I’ve read by this author, and I was completely blown away by the depth of this dual-time novel. I have come to love this genre, especially when the two timelines are intricately woven together. In this story, the characters are separated by a hundred years yet they are bound together not only by a historical farmhouse but by common hardships of heartache and rebirth. 
Much like Johnny, I was captivated by Juniper and her struggles in the early 1900s. I could feel her strength, her determination to persevere at all cost, and yet I could also see how fragile her strength was. The author did such a beautiful job of creating vibrant and layered characters and drawing you to them. The many characters in this story (past and present) stayed with me even when I’d set my e-reader down.
This story deals with heavy, difficult topics, and yet it is beautiful from start to finish in how it shows the characters facing each difficulty head-on and forcing themselves to adapt, to keep living beyond each moment of trial.
Any Christian historical fiction fan will enjoy this story because of the history woven in both timelines. And all fans of dual timeline novels will enjoy Juniper and Johnny’s story. Just be prepared to feel a full spectrum of emotions as Joann Bischof whisks you into the story.
I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions are my own.
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The Gold in These Hills is a dual-timeline story set during the Goldrush years and the present. Mail-order-bride Juniper Cohen arrives in Kenworthy, California and meets her new husband, John Cohen, a kind and caring man who awaited her. The mining is in full swing, but when the mine proves empty of profit, the pioneers flee this dwindling boomtown. Juniper remains, waiting faithfully for John to return. For the next year, Juniper writes letter to her husband, but not knowing where he is, they are never mailed. The second timeline is told by Johnny Sutherland, who is recently divorced. He purchases the 100 year old abandoned farmhouse in California to be near his ex-wife and child. While exploring the farmhouse and looking for something the previous owners want, he uncovers the letters Juniper wrote to her Dearest John.

Juniper's life was hard and it was interesting to hear how she survives with her young daughter and becomes friends with the few others who remain in Kenworthy. This was an emotional and at times heartbreaking story that taught me a few things about the goldmining life as well as the hope and never give up attitude. This was a beautifully written story depicting the vulnerability of life as well as uplifting hope. This was a character driven novel, but it moved quickly and I was captivated by both Juniper's and Johnny's stories. There were several well-developed secondary characters as well, although we do not get their POV, we hear their stories from the main characters. This is my first book by Joanne Bischof and I will definitely read more. This is a family story, a historical fiction story and a bit of a romance. It is also Christian fiction, but it is not preachy. Overall, I recommend this one to lovers of Historical Christian fiction and Women's Fiction.
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