A tale of family, brotherhood, and the healing power of love.
After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of 19th-century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband's cousins - three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their 300 acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.
But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where - and whether - to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.
As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers' longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?
A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.
- Fascinating, but at times a bit uncomfortable
Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof
Genre: Historical fiction
Setting: Blackbird Mountain, Virginia
Time Frame: 1890
Aven Norgaard Widowed in Norway, offered a home with relatives
Thor Norgaard : Middle Norgaard brother, deaf
Jorgen Norgaard : Eldest Norgaard brother
Haakon Norgaard : Youngest Norgaard brother
Miss Ida: Norgaard’s housekeeper, more like family
This is a story of Aven Norgaard, a young Irish widow, and of the family of three Norgaard brothers, who along with their housekeeper take her in as family. Each brother is quite different, fiercely loyal to each other, but this sweet, lovely new family member unwittingly turns two of them a bit competitive.
A haunting story difficult for me to review. I’ve started and erased this review at least four times. Part of me loved it, as it was so different and fascinating. Getting into the head of Thor, the very large, deaf brother who observes and shows such tenderness was a treat. The brash, slightly spoiled younger brother Haakon was a different story. I loved him, and I didn’t like him all at once. The character of Aven was also a delight as she’s kind and sincere, having such an innocent quality.
But there were aspects of this story that were so hard to read. Thor’s issues with alcoholism is worsened by the fact that the family business is producing barrels of hard cider yearly. Ridding himself of this demon were pages and pages of heartbreaking suffering. But it was a stunning illustration of what alcohol does not only to the addict, but an entire family.
There were a couple of scenes with one brother and Aven that were also hard to read. Poor Aven just wants to be a part of a family and feel safe, not to be a source of temptation nor discord in the family.
Thor’s deafness and the family’s history around sign language was a delight to read. Aven, who wasn’t raised around sign language or anyone deaf, learned to communicate with Thor in such a sweet way.
For me, it was 5 stars because it was hard to put down, but 3 1/2 stars for themes and scenes I found a bit too uncomfortable.
- Excellent book that will leave you wanting to know more about what happens next.
I've learned a lot about the deaf from an uncle I adore who has always been a teacher to them, but this book helped me to see it in a whole new way. I can't wait for the next book.