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Review: Sons of Blackbird Mountain
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Review: Sons of Blackbird Mountain

09 May Posted by in Reviews | Comments
Review: Sons of Blackbird Mountain

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof
Reviewed by: Pam Graber
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: July 3, 2018

When her husband dies, Aven Norgaard has nowhere to go, until his aunt beckons to join their household in America. Norway has nothing for her, and apparently there are three “boys” who need a caregiver in America, so Aven takes a chance and boards a ship for a new life. Arriving on Blackbird Mountain, Aven is stunned to realize that the “boys” she is supposed to take care of are full-grown men who have been taking care of themselves since their aunt’s death a few months prior. Can she make a place for herself in their home, or will she be forced to look farther afield to support herself?

Thor Norgaard has lived in a silent world all his life. Deaf and essentially mute, he interacts through sign, and mostly only with family. His work in the family’s apple orchards supports his family, but it also has him enslaved to the liquor he sells. When Aven arrives, he realizes that he has dreamed of her for years, ever since they received his cousin Benn’s wedding picture. Could she ever care for a man who struggles to communicate, and who has the same addiction that killed her husband?

Haakon Norgaard as the youngest brother, knows that his brother Thor doesn’t really like him much. His birth caused the death of their mother, and Thor has never forgiven him for that. He lives his life a bit on the wild side, doing pretty much as he pleases, until he sees Aven. Her beauty entrances him, and her kindness makes him want to be better. When she appears to want to be with Thor instead, Haakon’s jealousy drives him to one last desperate attempt to make her see him. Will his actions separate him permanently from his family, instead of giving him the one thing he really wants?

Wow, this story packs a major punch! Told through the eyes of each of the characters, Sons of Blackbird Mountain gives a glimpse of what it might have been like to be deaf – both as a child and as an adult – before American Sign Language became the norm. Thor is both deaf and alcoholic, one almost certainly caused by the other as he drinks to deaden the pain of his many losses. Aven’s presence gives him good reason to stop drinking, and his older brother supports him completely, while his younger brother tolerates the change. I was heart-broken for the young Thor who lost his mother as a child, and took out his anger on the baby brother who was left behind. The most poignant scene, I felt, was when Thor remembered signing “I hate you” to Haakon as a baby, and then being shown the sign by Haakon as a 7-year-old, and asked what it meant. I cried for the two brothers, and their broken relationship.

Set in Appalachia, readers who love historical romance should definitely pick this one up. I personally waited WAY too long to read it but once I started it, I could not put it down. I would give it seven or eight stars if that was possible, but since it isn’t, it gets a 5-star review.

Rated PG: There is a bit of violence here, and a near-rape scene. While nothing is graphically described, parents should be aware before they give this book to their children.

Reviewer’s copy was personally purchased.

 


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