The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

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, 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.

  The Lady and the Lionheart

My Thoughts:

No question about it, this book deserves all the stars! I didn’t just read this story, I lived it. Joanne Bischof created a vivid masterpiece, a world that I didn’t want to leave. This story lingered in my imagination and heart days after I finished the last page.

I fell in love with the characters. Even the secondary characters, and yes, even the lions! Each had a special role and each held a piece of my heart. You couldn’t convince me that it wasn’t real, so don’t even try, my heart wouldn’t believe you!

If you haven’t yet picked up this book, you need to run to your nearest library or bookstore and settle in for a delightful story that will hold you captive long past the final chapter! If you fall into the category of “I read it a year or so ago” then it may be time to dust it off and read it again! You can be sure that this story holds a place of honor on my keeper shelf and will be pulled out again for future enjoyment.

(I purchased a copy of this book for my own collection. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

About the Author:

Joanne-BischofA Christy and Carol Award-winning author, 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. 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 lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children and is currently working on a new 2-book series for Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian (releasing 2018).

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  The Lady and the Lionheart


First Line Fridays: Romancing the Bride

Welcome to First Line Friday’s hosted by Hoarding Books.

Today I’m excited to be featuring Romancing the Bride by Melissa Jagears. I highly recommend this book. If you are looking for a marriage of convenience story that is top-notch, and that packs a lasting punch, look no further! CLICK HERE to read my full review!


Wyoming Territory
Spring 1884

          Annie Gephart pressed her lips together to keep from begging Tom Passey — the greasiest, most foul-mouthed cowpuncher she’d ever met — to stay on.


You can almost feel the desperation. Annie clearly needs help if she’s wanting to keep Tom Passey on her ranch! Will Tom stay on a little longer?  Hmm…I’ll not tell!

   Romancing the Bride (Frontier Vows #1)


Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line. To see what First Lines others are sharing this week head over to Hoarding Books.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Romancing the Bride (Frontier Vows #1) by Melissa Jagears

Marrying a stranger to save a ranch is one thing; losing the land on their wedding day is another.


Desperate to keep the ranch where three of her children and a husband lie buried, Annie Gephart must marry or sell. Which of the few bachelors in town would consider a surprise proposal to wed a plain widow with a rebellious daughter, a spirited boy, and unpaid taxes—without laughing in her face?

Jacob Hendrix has never fully let go of his ranching dreams despite ending up as a small Wyoming town’s marshal. The job wouldn’t be so bad, except he’s more errand boy than lawman. When Annie proposes marriage without a single coquettish bat of an eyelash, can he commit himself to a woman he hardly knows for a choice piece of property he’d be an idiot to pass up?

But taxes aren’t all that threaten Annie and Jacob’s plans. Cattle rustlers, crumbling friendships, and wayward children make this marriage of convenience anything but. When they lose what they’ve sacrificed everything to save, will the love of a stranger be enough?

Romancing the Bride is the first book in the Frontier Vows Series by award-winning Christian romance author Melissa Jagears. If you like heartwarming marriage-of-convenience stories, you’ll love this sweet romance filled with endearing characters.

My Thoughts:

From the beginning, I was pulled into the story and the lives of the characters. I felt like I was living in the pages of this story right along with a vivid cast of characters that had me feeling like part of their community.

Annie has known her share of hardship. Yet her strong faith in God, and her realization that through it all, God is with her. She may struggle, but she doesn’t lose faith. Annie’s struggle to grieve the loss of her husband while allowing herself to love again is one that is realistic and I feel many who have lost a first spouse and remarried, could easily identify with.

Jacob lived a bachelor life, and while he wanted a family, he wasn’t necessarily planning on getting married to a woman with children. However, he feels lead to marry Annie and to help her. He easily steps into the role of father with Annie’s young son. However, Celia, Annie’s headstrong, young teenage daughter holds a lot of resentment and anger. Jacob has a large capacity for love, and he strives to love others as God loves them. We see that he isn’t always perfect, he loses his patience, but he also gives freely of himself and is quick to admit when he has done wrong.

There are plenty of twists and turns that kept me glued to the story and rapidly turning pages to find out what would happen next. There were moments of laughter, tears, and a swoon-worthy kiss, or two. This story is filled with lots of emotion!

I highly recommend this book. If you are looking for a marriage of convenience story that is top-notch, and that packs a lasting punch, look no further! I am thrilled that this is only the first story in the series because it means that I get to visit again with a new story and I can’t wait! I give this story 4.5-stars and encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself and a friend.

(I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I am not required to write a positive review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.)

   Romancing the Bride (Frontier Vows #1)

Favorite Quote:


About the Author:

jagearsheadshotcompressed  Carol Award winning writer, Melissa Jagears, is a homeschooling mom who writes Christian Historical Romance into the wee hours of the night. She’s the author of the Unexpected Brides Series with Bethany House. The prequel ebook novella, Love by the Letter, is her ACFW Carol Award winning novella and free to try. You can learn more about her, her books, and where she hangs out online at

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   Romancing the Bride (Frontier Vows #1)



A Love Restored by Kelly J. Goshorn


With pert opinions and a less-than-perfect figure, Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to Society’s vision of a perfect lady. When she accepts a position teaching in a Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer Ruth Ann is likely to receive. She’s forced to choose between life as a lonely spinster or reinventing herself to secure a respectable proposal.

Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earns him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect he craves. After a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, Benjamin is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality. When others ridicule his choice, will Benjamin listen to his heart or put ambition first?

My Thoughts:

I knew the moment I read the synopsis that I’d enjoy this story, what I didn’t expect is all the emotions I’d feel as I read the story! Kelly Goshorn has written a phenomenal story, one that not only drew me into the lives of the characters but a story that touched my heart and has lingered with me long after I close the page.

Ruth Ann is spunky, determined, and broken. She has a big heart for others, especially her students at the Freedman’s School.  But, like so many of us, she carries with her a heavy baggage of words that were careless tossed her direction. Sometimes it is easier to believe the negative messages people tell you than the positive messages. For some reason, those negative messages seem a lot stickier.

What to say about Benjamin Coulter? I went from loving him to wanting to smack him upside the head, to feeling for him, and his personal struggle, and cheering for him and hoping for the best outcome. He is quite the hero. He will wrap himself around your heart for sure! Benjamin has his flaws and tends to have to learn his lessons the hard way. His love for Ruth Ann is endearing, heartbreaking and profound.

I saw myself in each of these characters and was reminded of several important truths. It is infinitely important that we choose to listen to God’s voice and to know who we are in Him. It is just as important that we don’t allow our perception of beauty to be dictated by others. I was also reminded of how easy it is to fall into the trap of wanting to please other people, and seek their admiration and respect when our focus should really be on pleasing God and seeking His approval.

This is a story that you don’t want to miss! I give this book 5 enthusiastic stars and would encourage you to pick up a copy to enjoy for yourself today!

(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:


About the Author:

KellyJGoshorn  Kelly Goshorn weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America. Kelly earned a B.A. in Social Studies Education from Messiah College and a M.Ed. in History Education from The Pennsylvania State University. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever-after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 28 years. Together they have raised three children, four cats, two dogs, a turtle, a guinea pig, a gecko, and countless hamsters. Thankfully, not all at the same time. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi.

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Pick-up your copy today!

 A Love Restored