Saturday, March 25, 2017

Book Review: The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

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Title: The Lady and the Lionheart

Author: Joanne Bischof

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult


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.

Just then a child in the row behind Ella cried out, “Look, Mama!”

Charlie, dressed in his center ring finery, strode into the arena, as strong and strapping as ever. Face powdered and painted with two jagged teardrops under his eyes, he walked with stoic authority, tall boots forging a fresh trail straight toward his audience. Ella didn’t know a single man could hush a packed house with no words, but…then there was Charlie Lionheart.

**5 stars**

I could cry. I don't know when I've last read something so achingly beautiful ...

Is it possible to rate Joanne Bischof's books less than five stars? I don't know, because so far, I haven't been able to! She writes with such heart and depth! The Lady and the Lionheart was soul-touching, intriguing, painful, and utterly lovely. I can't even describe how I felt about that ending ... it was perfection! In fact, I was certain I was getting a glimpse of heaven on earth; with just a sprinkle of nostalgia.

Ella was darling. Charlie was wonderful. Holland was adorable. The story was crushing pain, thrilling hope, and raw beauty entwined together ... all set against the magical background of the early 1900s circus.

The setting was intriguing, with gypsies, lions, circus tents, mystery, and not to mention, the dashing lion trainer with a twinkle in his eyes. I was captivated - this book almost has a magical feel. Whimsical, at least. It was fantastic, and set your heart aflutter. It was also dark and hurtful. Our two lovable POV character both have haunted and extremely painful pasts. Some parts of The Lady and the Lionheart were a little hard to read, so terrible it was. But in this book - slowly - comes hope and healing and laughter. It was such a beautiful journey, that's all I can really say! And can I just mention how much I love how Joanne Bischof expounded a little on one of the secondary character's life? The character is a broken woman ... only mentioned about twice ... you'll know who she is. She plays a bit of a bigger part in the end of the book, and I simply loved it so much. Brought tears to my eyes.

The Lady and the Lionheart is written with such emotional depth. Joanne Bischof talks a little bit more about the story ... the inspiration for it, and the symbolism behind Charlie Lionheart's character ... and I so appreciated that! I might have cried there too, even though it wasn't part of the actual novel. Well done, Joanne Bischof! This was such a touching story!

The romance was incredible, by the way. So many moments! Charlie. Ella. Ah, I can't even. You have have to read it for yourself.

There were so many parts worthy of tears, and such a deep, soul-felt tale, and such a perfect ending. People, I recommend you read this book! Be you historical-fiction lovers or not, you must pick it up! ^_^ The Lady and the Lionheart is written for adults, but I think older teens could enjoy it as well. I must repeat myself - it's a simply beautiful story.


  1. So blessed by your review, Shantelle! HONORED that The Lady and the Lionheart was a meaningful read for you. It means so much to me! Best wishes to you and for the stories of your heart. <3

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Joanne! So glad my review was a blessing to you! ^_^ Your book certainly blessed me! So wonderful to find authors who write for God's glory, and their books bring joy both to them and their readers!

      Thank you so much!! <3