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  • Reanne Powell

The Gold In These Hills by Joanne Bischof

“One wild and mysterious ghost town. Two second chance love stories. And the century-legacy that binds them together.”

This is a dual timeline novel going from 1902 to present day. Joanne Bischof is an excellent writer. This story had heavy themes, but she managed to weave hope and light through the whole book.

Content wise, this book contains difficult topics such as an unfaithful spouse, divorce, and loss of a child. However, I thought it handled the topic of divorce with tact and grace. The author did a good job diving into the many layers of grief, loss and healing.

Also, this is a character driven novel, so don't go into it expecting any major plot twists. (Personally, I like when the author doesn't have to create any overly sensationalized events to craft a wonderful book.)

All in all, would recommend for fans of historical fiction.


Overall: 4/5

Age: 16+

Romance level: 1/5


Find it at your local Christian bookstore or order it online:

Canada: Paperback - Kindle - Audio

From the back cover:

When mail-order bride Juniper’s husband vanishes, she writes to him—but fears she's waiting for a ghost in a ghost town. A century later, Johnny Sutherland discovers her letters while restoring her abandoned farmhouse. Can her loving words from the distant past change his present?

1902: Upon arriving in Kenworthy, California, mail-order bride Juniper Cohen is met by the pounding of the gold mine, an untamable landscape, and her greatest surprise of all: the kind and charming man who awaits her. But when the mine proves empty of profit, and when Juniper’s husband, John, vanishes, Juniper is left to fend for herself and her young daughter in the dying town that is now her home.

Juniper pens letters to her husband but fears she is waiting on a ghost. Perhaps worse, rumors abound claiming the man she loves could be an outlaw. Fighting for survival, she befriends the few people left in Kenworthy and refuses to leave, resolving to be exactly where her husband left her in case he comes home. Surviving in a ghost town requires trusting the kindness of a few remaining souls, including the one who can unlock the mystery of her husband’s disappearance.

Present day: Trying to escape the heartache of his failed marriage, Johnny Sutherland throws himself into raising his children and restoring a hundred-year-old abandoned farmhouse in what was once known as Kenworthy in the San Jacinto Mountains. While exploring its secrets he uncovers Juniper’s letters and is moved by the handwritten accounts that bear his name—and as a love story from the past touches his own world, Johnny might discover yet that hope and resilience go hand in hand.

With The Gold in These Hills, acclaimed and beloved author Joanne Bischof returns with an absorbing masterpiece of faith, perseverance, and love that changes the course of history.


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