Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Review: The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Mason Jar Books
Released: August 1, 2016
302 pages
About the Book:

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.

My Rating & Thoughts:    

This is a historical romance set in Virginia in the late 1800s, we meet Charlie Lionheart who is a lion tamer with the circus. He is the guardian of his niece, Holland, who is seven months old. He takes her to the hospital because she's been quite sick for the last few days. At the hospital he meets nurse Ella who quickly starts caring for her. Due to circumstances that happen they have to leave the hospital and Ella goes to the circus camp to continue looking after Holland. We watch Charlie and Ella get to know one another and see a friendship begin to develop. As we learn more about these two characters there are some difficult topics addressed, Ella with a past situation she is still dealing with and Charlie’s situation.

Charlie has made a huge sacrifice for Holland and when it is finally revealed what he has done to protect his niece it was like wow he really sacrificed himself for her. Ella has been struggling with God because of her past and Charlie tries to show her that God continues to be with her and care about her. What I didn't really enjoy about this book is that the writing felt choppy at times and sometimes it jumped scenes causing the story to not flow. There were also events that didn’t make sense to me, for example at one point Ella must sneak into the circus and be kept hidden from the Madame that runs the circus because they are not allowed to have outsiders in their areas but then later on Ella ends up traveling with the circus and there's no explanation as to why she no longer has to be hidden. I went into this book with high expectations after hearing some high praise for it, but for me other than liking the character of Charlie I just didn’t connect with Ella and struggled with some of her actions and didn’t connect with the story. There was also quite a bit of descriptions that made the book drag a bit for me, such as Charlie playing with the Lions. For me personally I just didn’t really care the circus side of the story and didn’t associate with that. Charlie was definitely my favorite character he was an example of Jesus Christ and how he sacrificed and died on the cross for our sins. 

(I borrowed this book through Kindle Unlimited; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

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