Cover Image: The Gold in These Hills

The Gold in These Hills

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this time slip novel! The writing was hauntingly beautifully and portrayed both mindsets of the different time periods really well. Seeing the characters work through what they were facing was humbling and encouraging. The faith elements were understated but added depth to the characters. I really enjoyed these stories! 

 "I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
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There are rare moments when I read a book and it affects me deeply. Enough to cause a few tears to come as I not only get lost in the story, but feel a deep personal connection. "The Gold in These Hills" was one of those stories. This book was filled with tenderness and heartache that I've felt in my own life, written with a level of descriptive language that painted word pictures on the pages. The loss of a loved one and how it changes you. The tenderness of friendship that brings comfort through the loss. The stench of betrayal and how trust is hard won after being hurt so deeply, yet God can patiently wash the layers of dirt and grime of it away over time, bringing restoration. Embracing humility in some of the most difficult of situations. The love that is found through community. All of these things are what I took away when I finished the final page. I knew I would love this book before I started, having certain expectations based on the author, title, and summary...but this was so much more than I imagined. There's a plaque I've had my eye on for months that says, "There is gold in every piece of your story." This is the perfect summary for this book. I would highly recommend it. Bravo, Joanne Bischof!



**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in order to give my honest opinion, which I did.**
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Juniper Cohen, Kind einer armen Arbeiterfamilie aus San Francisco, hat in der Zeitung die Annonce eines Goldsuchers gefunden und sich auf die von ihm bezahlte Zugreise zu ihm gemacht. Sie fand in ihm einen guten Mann, aber ohne weitere Goldvorkommen sah die Zukunft für sie und ihre dreijährige Tochter schlecht aus. Vor Monaten hat er sich auf den Weg gemacht, seitdem hat sie nichts mehr von ihm gehört. Die Männer, des an Frauen armen Ortes, gehen davon aus, dass er nicht wieder kommt und sie hat schon einige Heiratsanträge bekommen. Kurz vor dem bevorstehenden Winter verlassen fast alle die Gegend, die keine Zukunft mehr bietet, aber sie will mit einigen wenigen anderen ausharren.

In einer zweite Zeitlinie, die in der Gegenwart spielt, ist Johnny Sutherland auf der Suche nach einem erschwinglichen Haus. Nachdem seine Frau ihn vor sechs Monaten für einen anderen Mann verlassen hat. Das Haus soll genug Platz haben, um die beiden Kinder unterbringen zu können, wenn er ein geteiltes Sorgerecht erreichen kann. Das abgelegene Haus ist günstig, wird ihn aber als erfahrenen Hausbauer fordern, es ist auch nur spartanisch eingerichtet und im Winter wird er den Schnee selbst räumen müssen. Juniper und Johnny verbindet dasselbe Haus, das damals zur Gründung des Ortes ihr Mann erbaut hat.

Neben ihren schwierigen Umständen müssen Beide parallel im Buch zusätzliche schwere Schläge hinnehmen, die sie verdauen und sich mit ihnen arrangieren müssen. Bei einem Drittel der Geschichte ist nicht abzusehen, wie für die beiden Protagonisten in ihrer jeweiligen Geschichte ein guter Ausgang möglich sein soll. Doch das Leben führt sie weiter und nach dreiviertel des Romans kommt erstmals Hoffnung auf. 

Man folgt beiden Protagonisten gespannt auf ihren Lebenswegen und hofft für sie mit. Die Autorin präsentiert gut eingearbeitete Bezüge zum Glauben, seiner Kraft, den möglichen Zweifeln am Schicksal und vermittelt die Stärke, die aus dem Gebet kommen kann. Die kleine Bethany und die Lehrerin Mrs. Parson sind liebevoll gezeichnete Nebenfiguren, die die Geschichte Bereichern. Junipers junge Freundin repräsentiert eine besondere Form von starken Frauen, die es damals aufgrund der Umstände brauchte.

Dieser Roman von Joanne Bischof konnte mich wieder sehr gut unterhalten und mein Herz berühren! Ich freue mich auf zukünftige Bücher der Autorin.
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Juniper Cohen leaves behind everything she knows in San Francisco to answer a newspaper advertisement from a man seeking a wife. Upon her arrival in Kenworthy, CA, the beautiful, but desolate landscape steals her heart. As does the gentle, kind man who placed the advertisement. They fall in love and eventually welcome a daughter to their family. Juniper John’s tender ways and dedication to his family and his job at the mine. 

When he disappears without a trace the day the mine shuts down, Juniper does the only thing she knows how to do—carry on and hope. But hope seems slim as miners, shopkeepers, and businessmen leave the town, turning it into a ghost town almost overnight. Juniper takes in washing, tries to keep their farm afloat, and writes love letters to John at night. 

Over a hundred years later, Johnny Sutherland buys an old farmhouse—one of the few remaining buildings in the old ghost town of Kenworthy. He needs the peace and quiet of the wild landscape as he tries to put his life back together. Johnny’s wife has left him, and he’ll do anything to share the custody of their two children. 

Johnny struggles to carry on. The farmhouse and the mysterious love story contained in old documents stored in the barn bring him the glimmer of hope he needs. Can untangling a long-forgotten love story help him make sense of his life today?

What I Loved About this Book

The narrators, Juniper and Johnny, have beautiful, authentic voices that weave a spell around the reader. I couldn’t put the story down (ok, I had to set it down a few times to sop up my tears). Bischoff breathes hope into the darkness of those facing change, forgiveness, and loss. And who doesn’t face those things at some point in their life? 

Fans of Kristie Cambron, Lynn Austin, and Lisa Wingate will enjoy this book.
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This was my first time reading this author and I enjoyed her style and characters. It kept me reading and it was very compelling.

It's not a romance and I'm not sure I'd call it WF since one of the two POV protagonists is a man.
It's also a dual timeline with a shared location that brings past and present together.

There's a theme of hope and faith that wrap everything in tenderness, albeit bittersweet.

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.
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4.5 stars.

The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof is a captivating Christian novel that seamlessly moves back and forth in time.

In 1902, Juniper Cohen fiercely misses her husband, John. She and their three-year-old daughter Bethany wait for his return but Juniper is beginning to lose hope. She has no idea where he is or what he is doing. With the mines closed in their small town, most everyone has moved away. She still ekes out a living washing clothes for the single men who decide to remain in Kenworthy. Juniper is a strong woman who left her family behind when she answered a mail order bride advertisement. She deeply loves her taciturn husband, but she is brokenhearted when she learns his deepest, most shameful secret. What their marriage survive in the aftermath of this shocking discovery?

In the present, Johnny Sutherland still coming to terms with his unexpected divorce. With his soon-to-be ex-wife keeping the family home, he purchases a historic home which is more than 100 years old. Johnny becomes interested in the home’s history as he renovates it and makes plans for some much needed updates. As he learns what happened to John and Jupiter, he slowly begins to recover from the stunning changes in his life. Johnny’s young children also help him heal as they navigate their parents’ separation with grace and his new home with curiosity and wonder.

The Gold in These Hills is an absolutely enthralling novel that is impossible to put down. Juniper’s situation is heartbreaking as she awaits word for John. She is positively floored by the revelations and she is uncertain about their future. Johnny’s story arc is compelling as he tries to make sense of life without his former wife. His interest in the history of his home proves to be vital to moving through his grief at the loss of his marriage. The secondary cast of characters is colorful and their circumstances add depth to the storyline. Joanne Bischof gently weaves elements of faith into both story arcs in a way that is natural and greatly enriches the overall story.
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Although I am not overly fond of dual timelines in a novel, but it seems that every author has to at least write one or two of them. I will say I enjoyed the characters in both timelines. The different timelines, a mining town and modern present day, will draw you in and have you falling in love with the characters. And the setting of the mining ghost town, I found to be very interesting. Sad to think of an entire town completely torn down with barely anything left to even recognize it was there at all. This is a tender heartwarming story that will surely touch your heart strings. A widow raising her child alone in the remnants of a town that was once thriving. When the gold is no longer there, they just tear down the structure and move away. Still she stayed on with her memories. Bischoff is a great writer and describes her characters and scenes so well, you feel as though you were a witness there…..I was given a copy from the publisher and I was under no obligation to leave a positive review.
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Beyond us, the mine is silent-the work of disassembling the stamp mill ceased for this day. Some of the newcomers have even gathered at the edge of the work yard, watching what is happening below. They've pulled off their hats, standing as centennials, a respect that people say doesn't exist in the West between the white and those who lived here a thousand years before. Yet it exists this day, and I am only sorry it has taken the loss of a life to spark such unity. I pray it is a legacy that will linger on. They say there is no gold in these hills. But as a father lays dirt over a wooden box, there suddenly is.

A thoughtful historical fiction based in the early turn of the century in the mountains of California. Men and women looking for gold, looking for promises of a better life. It is more brought to life because of the legacy it left to the current time of Johnny Sutherland. A man trying to make his marriage work. He has purchased an old Cabin in the mountains of California that was occupied by Juniper Cohen who came to California as a mail-order bride and is now waiting for her husband to come home to her and their young child.

The narration goes back and forth between Juniper and Johnny and the trials they face. The hardships of marriage, life, and going forward. Their lives are intertwined 100 years later because of their suffering and more important the hope that they found. Faith is an important factor and it shows the humanity of suffering. How to forgive and to go on. Friendship in marriage and how marriage can be idolized. Faith is putting away our idols of expectations and finding redemption. Juniper and Johnny both did with different outcomes.

The author is a seasoned story teller and brought what is really important. A reminder of the "gold" we have in our own lives and in our relationships with others and with God. What faith looks like in the mundane and not having to have all the answers. We cannot live this life in joy without faith.

A special thank you to Thomas Nelson Fiction and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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In this time slip novel, Joanne Bischof weaves a tale of love, loss, and ghost towns.  The Gold in These Hills is beautifully written, lyrical without being wordy, and full of emotion.  Both of the timelines will draw you in and have you falling in love with the characters.  And the setting will have you googling mining ghost towns.  Sad to think of an entire town completely torn down with barely anything left to even recognize it was there at all.  People lived there, loved there, lost there, spent years of their lives there...and it can all be gone in a few decades of time.  Makes you realize just how much of our lives really are just a vapor in the wind!  This book will have you examining many aspects of life and the imprint that we leave.  Very, very well done!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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This book was so different than what I was expecting.  I have read several other books by Joanne Bischof and love the way she draws me in.  She has a talent of making me love her characters.  And while loving them, I know it also means that my heart can break for and with them.  If you have read any of her novels you know that her characters are not shallow and one dimensional.  They have real life struggles and problems that aren’t so easily solved.  In The Gold in These Hills we meet so many unique characters.  Even the secondary characters had such depth and significance that I felt their pain deeply as well.  My heart hurt for the struggles that came with living in a historical time.  Unlike the previous novels I’ve read by this author, this story jumps between more current times and way back several generations.  The past has some powerful lessons if only we take the time to learn from them.  Above all love is the most valuable thing this world has to offer.  When it’s stripped from you, you often learn what you are made of, and build walls to protect yourself from that hurt again.  But are the walls worth it?  Or are they stopping you from receiving one of the greatest gifts?  

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical or Contemporary Fiction.  It was unique having a man be the main contemporary character, and a woman being the main Historical character.  I couldn’t put this book down.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers and was in no way forced to post a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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Thank you to Joanne Bischof, Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read The Gold in These Hills. My thoughts are my own.

Review
First off, happy belated birthday to The Gold in These Hills, released August 31, 2021!  

I grew up in the shadow of the mountains featured in Joanne Bischof's latest release The Gold in These Hills. Bischof writes about this area subtly, so much so I didn't think very much of it at first. I wandered through the beginning chapters wondering if she was referring to the area I was raised. When she mentioned "Mountain Center" and one of her main characters headed into "the valley" to Home Depot, that's when I knew I had to explore more.

Researcher by nature, I took to the Internet to confirm this theory. Sure enough, Kenworthy existed in the mountains above where I lived.

How cool to explore the long lost past of a Southern California ghost town…one I had no clue even existed. And I must admit, I also didn't know that people salted mines as a way to dupe investors and to make money under false pretenses. Although scandalous and a little baffling, what an incredible piece of history, one I'm sure not many know about.

Analysis
I've read several of Bischof's books over the years, including her Cadence of Grace series.  She wrote the Cadence of Grace series early on in her career. As an aspiring writer myself, some of these stories felt a little…"and this happened…and then this happened". However as a burgeoning author, Bischof created a dramatic tale in three installments that I will not soon forget. Even to this day, I think about everything that happened to the characters and how Bischof weaved something unique and incredible together.

But, her writing felt young back then. 

Fast forward to 2021 and the release of The Gold in These Hills. Bischof challenges herself on multiple levels. First, her two main characters exist in two separate time periods. I would imagine that creating a deep and thoughtful book with multiple timelines would be difficult to do.

And, Bischof accepts the challenge and succeeds brilliantly. Both June and Johnny read as multi-dimensional characters, lacking nothing in their description or their stories.

I feel like this novel expertly shows Bischof's maturity as a writer. The way she pens June's and Johnny's stories shows great care, thought, research and a great love of writing.

Finally, from the novels I've read, Bischof loves to use first person. This gives her writing an incredibly deep and personal quality. Poignant and compelling, her writing calls to you. The author shows herself through in her writing, allowing the reader into her personal space.

Unlike many novels, the middle does not slow down. Bischof writes with grace and the fluidity of a mountain stream, a constant pace that is kept going by several different and intriguing story lines. It will definitely hold your attention as it did mine!

Bottom Line
If you want to read a dual timeline novel that shows the difficulties of the Wild West, surrounded in the history and mystery of California's past, and that discusses the celebrations and struggles of life then and now, get your copy now!
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This is a beautiful story. Although a lot was happening it still had a slow pace to it, but not boring slow. Like weaving together a beautiful tapestry.

I also loved how the author wove in the gospel message and what Jesus did for us.

There really was a lot of sadness in this book. Johnny’s feelings regarding his divorce is really heartbreaking and Juniper’s feelings she has to deal with are raw and real.

Overall, a very interesting read.

A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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This book was beautiful and poignant but so. hard. So. raw. There is so much pain in this book and it hurt to read many times. I hurt with these characters who were betrayed and had their hearts broken by the ones who were supposed to love them the most. I felt the pain of trying to figure out how to forgive and mend or just move on where restoration was not possible. The questions and hopelessness that they feel are what we all feel when we are going through the worst things in life. And they don't get all the answers. Things are not perfectly wrapped up in the end but they see some light... and maybe that's enough.

There were certain things I knew had to occur at some point in the past because of what was happening in the present. Certain people had to come into existence for our present-day to be what it is. I liked that we get to know all the pieces and connections and details, even though our characters don't.

I honestly don't know how to rate this book. I gave it four stars because it doesn't seem fair to mark it any lower just because it is painful. Don't be fooled, there is hope to be found within the pages, but this is not a light book. It's very, very heavy. A beautiful kind of heavy. That makes no sense, I know, but if you read it, maybe you'll understand.
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I received a free electronic ARC of this wonderful historical novel from Netgalley, Joanne Bischof, and Thomas Nelson publisher. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. I am pleased to add Joanne Bischof to my must-read novelists. She writes a clean, clear historical novel with heart and a well-researched background. She is an author I will follow.

The Gold in These Hills is a story told in two time periods, from the viewpoint of Juniper Cohen beginning in the spring of 1902, and in the voice of Johnny Southerland in the present. The glue that holds this story together is a house, built before 1900 by John, husband of mail-order bride Juniper, in what would become the San Jacinto Mountains mining town of Kenworthy, California.

John disappears without notice in 1903, leaving Juniper (June) and their three-year-old daughter Bethany to handle life in general, and the closing of the non-producing mine, watching the retreat of most of the miners and residents of the company town of Kenworthy, leaving it a virtual ghost town. With the 1904 sale of all of the mining equipment June and her close young friend Edie Manchester, who has been running the mercantile, watch as the church closes its doors, the school, the hotel, and their neighbor's buildings are broken-down and harvested, the materials to be reused elsewhere. They and the nearby native Cahuilla tribe watch as the town dissolves under their noses. June can't leave as John would not know where they went - if he ever returns. And Edie has her dying father to care for, a man whose whole life revolved around his church and his Kenworthy store. Edie has an undisclosed romantic interest that holds her to Kenworthy as well.

The ladies can depend on one another for help, support, and comfort. Can and do, holding their faith in the future and that they can survive and watch life come back into their world. Or that they will find closure on their pasts.

And then we revert to the present. After many years as the home of a museum covering the mining times of Kenworthy and the native Cahuilla Tribe, the house and its accompanying acreage on the mountain is boarded up and put on the market. Johnny Southerland is an experienced rock climber, and his first exposure to the house is on a weekend canyoneering trip. He buys the house and its acreage with the intention of restoring it. Johnny is a California independent contractor, the father of two, and soon to be divorced against his will. Johnny isn't sure if he will just restore and flip the house, or if he and his children, of which he has a hard-won 50/50 custody agreement, will adapt to living on this remote mountain and call this their new home. In a world where he has little that he can control, restoring and refurbishing the mountain home feels like a safety valve to mental health. And running with his dog Rye the many trails available to him in this 100 miles of open land on the mountain is a bridge to harmony. He, too, must find closure, and faith in tomorrow. Reading the letters of Juniper to her husband John, copies of which he obtained with the paperwork of the land, gives him a glimpse into faith and harmony. Maybe sharing them with Sonoma will help her with her ancestry search, as well.
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This is one of those stories that lingers with you long after you read the last page.  The characters in this book came to life as I read about their heartache, their struggles, their perseverance and their hope.  I felt myself being drawn into their lives and their emotions.  I love when that happens. 

Told in a dual timeline, the past unfolds and is locked into place by those seeking to learn in the present.  Johnny has his own struggles but it felt like his job was to reinforce the events of the past.  I liked the message that we need to remember those who went before us, learn and honor their stories and connect with the lessons the past can teach us.

My heart though?  It was deeply rooted with Juniper in the past.  Her story was rich and thick; full of grace and strength.  I loved the whole cast from the past.  Honestly, it could have been just them and I would have been completely happy.

I love how this author crafts her stories and the way she makes her characters feel alive and connected to me emotionally even though I've never lived through what these people have lived through.  It's amazing.  I loved this story.

Content:  mild peril, kissing, Christian elements (praying, faith, etc.)

- I received a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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Told in a dual timeline, this is a story about forgiveness and grace within marriage and friendship. Juniper is waiting for her husband to return in an early 1900’s ghost town in California during the gold rush. Johnny is broken-hearted after divorce and navigating life as a single parent while renovating the house Juniper and her family lived in nearly two hundred years before. 

This story paints such a real picture of what grace looks like in a marriage. You won’t find fairytale love here. After Juniper learns the truth about her husband’s long absence she must decide if she will hold resentment toward him or work hard toward forgiveness. Johnny struggles to forgive the one he loves most as she leaves him and starts life with someone else. The author puts into beautiful perspective the undeserving grace believers receive from Christ and gently reminds us how amazing it is when we choose to follow His example in our relationships with others. 

4/5 ⭐️ - I really enjoyed this one. 

Thank you to @netgalley and @thomasnelson - I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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The Gold In These Hills by Joanne Bischof is a beautifully poetic written story about the power of faith, love and hope. Told in two time lines, 1900s mail order bride Juniper marries John Cohen and falls in love. When the gold mines that provide the town's livelihood are no longer viable John disappears. Juniper writes down her feelings about him and hoping he is not a criminal who has abandoned her and their daughter.

In current times almost divorced father of two Johnny Sutherland has bought the run down home once lived in by Juniper. Reading her writings takes him not only on her journey to find the truth about her husband but his own realizations about trust, belief and true love. This story is written with great care and respect for relationships. It will leave you feeling that we always have hope.

I received free copies of these books from the publishers via #Netgalley for fair and honest reviews. All opinions are my own.
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This lovely story centers around Juniper Cohen's life in the early 1900s and Johnny Sutherland's in contemporary times. Both lived in the same place, both searched for hope and God's presence. The patient reader will also discover hope and will find encouragement in Juniper and Johnny's stories. I say the patient reader because this novel moves at a slow pace, and it took me a bit to become comfortable with the author's rhythm. Maybe that is part of this book's purpose, both in story and pace the reader is reminded to notice their blessings and to attend to God's presence rather than to allow the pace of life to blind them to those things; this awareness being the true treasure in our lives. 

I am grateful to have received a complementary copy of The Gold in These Hills from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley without obligation. All opinions expressed here are my own.
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Where to begin? I am truly in a loss in trying to rate this book by Joanne Bischof. To be honest I often feel that way after reading Joanne Bischof‘s books. 

Truly every page of this book evokes so much emotion that It could only have been written by someone who has also been through similar valleys of near despair, with a fractured heart and broken spirit, only to eventually feel the hand of God and sense His very presence bringing her through to the other side. 

In The Gold In These Hills we experience two different timelines — with Johnny and his children on one end, and Juniper, John, Bethany, Edie and Santiago on the other end.  How I love every one of these people. How I want to know them still, to sit with them and hear how they’re doing, to experience firsthand their joys and victories and stand alongside of them in times of grief and loss. I want John and Santiago to share again how God revealed Himself to them in their deepest despair, to stand alongside of Juniper and Edie and Johnny and hear how God strengthened them and shed His grace upon them in times of brokenness and loss, and then gradually revealed His light in and through them in the midst of a broken world. I want to see the beautiful joyful spirit of Bethany as this young child ministers to others in all her innocence. 

As Johnny feels when thinking how he will someday get to sit with these people of long ago face-to-face in heaven, to truly know them and experience firsthand their strength and ultimate joy, I would like to think that I would someday be able to do the same. 

Although these are characters in a book, truly I believe they must really represent many of God‘s people with whom we will one day gather in love and peace and joy - where there are no more tears to be shed and we will get to experience the true grace and mercy and love of God our Savior face to face. 

I Cor 13:12 “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 

I highly recommend this book. It seems trite to even give it five stars. Please do yourself a favor, read this book and let yourself be immersed in this world. 

 I was given a copy of this book in advance by NetGalley for an honest opinion. I’ve already purchased the audiobook version and hope to be able to share this with my daughters and granddaughters so they may experience it firsthand themselves.
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Told in two timelines, this story is set around the mining town of Kenworthy, California.  At one time, the town was bustling with activity, but the mine yeilded no profits, the people moved on and Kenworthy turned into dying town with only a few people remaining.

Juniper Cohen was one of the residents who remained because her husband had disappeared and she was reluctant to leave in case he came back.  Not knowing if he were dead or alive, Juniper prayed and wrote letters to him regularly, not knowing where to send them.

In the modern timeline, the story centers around John, a newly divorced young father who bought the historic home that Juniper Cohen once called home.  As John remodels the home, he reads about the history of Kenworthy and about the Cohen family.  He also meets a young woman with a family connection to Kenworthy.  Soon they develop a friendship that looks as if it will be headed to romance.

I really had no idea about some of the things that happened during the mining era, so I enjoyed the historical aspect of the story.  This is a very clean, Christian read with positive characters and a message of hope.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Thomas-Nelson-Fiction for allowing me to read an advance copy.  I am happy to give my honest review.
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