Dual-Timeline Book Review: The Gold in These Hills

About the Book

Title: The Gold in These Hills

Author: Joanne Bischof

Genre: Dual Timeline/Contemporary and Historical Romance

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: August 31, 2021

Click here to purchase a copy of this book. 

Publisher's Book Description

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

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 loving 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 dwindling boomtown 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. 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—and Juniper’s survival depends not only upon these friends but also the strength of heart she must fight to maintain.

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, California, 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."

My Review

The Gold in These Hills, by Joanne Bischof, is a tender, riveting novel. In this dual-timeline story, Ms. Bischof’s writing style is both beautiful and gripping. Strengthened by first person narratives, this book is emotionally honest and truly profound. Within every word and phrase there is deep meaning and thoughtful purpose. Carefully detailed and remarkably descriptive, this is a novel to be savored and treasured.


As The Gold in These Hills alternates between two timelines, one in the past and one in the present, it offers two uniquely connected stories of loss, redemption, love, and family. A rustic cabin and wooded hillsides allow the story to grow richly from the landscape of its Southern California setting. The well-developed characters are simply captivating and abound with authenticity and vulnerability. Their insecurities, their fears, their needs, and their desires are wholly believable and heart-wrenching. The opportunities, the choices, and the trials that the characters endure are intricately developed, and from them there unfolds a story that is thoroughly enriching and unforgettable. 

Page after page, the characters fight desperately to grasp the healing and the hope that might be found within their heartbreak. But it is in that search for hope and healing that the significant themes of this novel encourage and inspire. The characters persevere. They fight for redemption and wholeness. And in so doing, they become an inspiration, and their story becomes one of encouragement and hope. They show that even though life can be very hard, God’s strength, grace, and forgiveness are always available to make the process of healing and restoration possible. 

From beginning to end, The Gold in These Hills is a novel that carefully balances hope and despair, perseverance and struggle, and faithfulness and uncertainty. With undeniable skill, Ms. Bischof explores raw emotions, painful experiences, and deep hurt. Yet, this journey through and beyond despair and heartache is significantly strengthened and uplifted by meaningful moments of grace and gentle reminders that hope, restoration, healing, and reconciliation are made possible through God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love.

The Gold in These Hills is a remarkably touching and memorable novel. With significant talent, thorough research, and heartfelt insight, Ms. Bischof has crafted a story full of heart, courage, second chances, healing, and hope. It is a genuinely special book, worthy of much praise and attention. I recommend it most sincerely.


*I was given a copy of this book by the author/publisher through NetGalley. A review was not required. The review I have written is voluntary and contains opinions that are entirely my own.


My Reflection

This novel does a beautiful job of reflecting upon the fact that God, our creator and savior, is also the ultimate restorer who so very often creates beautiful things out of the shattered fragments and damaged pieces of our lives. With unconditional love and infinite grace, he repairs and refines the broken places, redeeming them and remaking them into treasures that have purpose and value. I found it very uplifting and encouraging to journey with the characters in this book as they endeavored to find healing for what had been broken, forgiveness for what had been hurt, and restoration for what had been lost.

About the Author: Joanne Bischof

“A Christy and Carol Award winner, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader's heartstrings. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her three children. --Biography from Joanne Bischof’s author page on Amazon.com”

Click here to visit Joanne Bischof's website.


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