This Quiet Sky
By Joanne Bischof
Prequel to the Cadence of Grace Series
Mason Jar Books, 2014
There is nothing extraordinary about Tucker O’Shay’s dreams. Go to college. Become president. Fall in love. And pretend like he has enough time to get it all done.
Sixteen-year-old Sarah Miller doesn’t expect anything out of the ordinary when she begins her first day at the one-room-school house in her new hometown of Rocky Knob. But when she meets seventeen-year-old Tucker O’Shay—the boy with the fatal illness who volunteers to tutor her in algebra—she finds herself swept up in a friendship that changes the way she sees the world and a love that changes her life.
I read This Quiet Sky last week, pondered for a while about what to say in my review, then decided to read it a second time instead. However, I'm still no closer to finding adequate words to do justice to this heartfelt and memorable story.
First, the tangibles. This Quiet Sky is a poignantly beautiful novella, exquisite in its simplicity, and a prequel to Be Still My Soul, book #1 in the Cadence of Grace series. It's a tender, bittersweet story of the young, but enduring, love between Lonnie's Aunt Sarah and Tucker O'Shay. And it's penned by a master at crafting imagery, rich characters, emotions, and invaluable life lessons. In Joanne's capable hands, a story of love that would seem hopeless on the surface is transformed into a heartwarming portrait of the hope that only comes from above.
Tucker and Sarah are so very real and easy to relate to - from Tucker's vulnerability, intellect, self confidence, and sense of humor, to Sarah's journey from friendship into a relationship which led her to the putting of another's needs first. This Quiet Sky reflects life, the realities of which are voiced in Tucker's words, "Sometimes an entirely different equation than you expect is staring you in the face." And there's just the right injection of humor with great scenes, such as Tucker's conjugation of Latin verbs and the favorite "Tucker stories" shared at a family birthday party.
Now for the intangibles . . . I am so glad that Joanne told the story that was on her heart, and I believe it is a story that had to be told. This Quiet Sky is in a class all by itself, for I can't think of another story to which it could be compared. The best stories entertain, but in addition to that, they challenge you, make you change or grow in some way - and that's what This Quiet Sky did for me. These are just a few thoughts that quickly come to mind as I reflect on Sarah and Tucker's story . . .
- That we don't really "fall" into love, but rather it is a choice we make
- Many things that I used to think were important have kind of faded away now
- There is strength in weakness, and the world really has no true concept of what a hero is
- That it's important to live in the moment, making the time we've been given count
- A determination to never let illness define who I am
- To reflect agape love, a selfless love that puts others first
- That there is always hope, because God is faithful to us, no matter the circumstances
I want to be like Sarah when I grow up - to be able to see the person, not the illness; to risk; to love selflessly and grow in the ways that she did. I wish I could have reached out and embraced Sarah when she realized, "It's now I who will be brave for him."
Joanne ends with an epilogue that takes place several years later, giving beautiful closure to the story. Another character that I'm drawn to is Benjamin, Tucker's brother, and I hope that Joanne will someday return to Rocky Knob, Virginia, with more stories from these families. I also encourage you to check out the beautiful Pinterest board that Joanne has put together for this story.
This Quiet Sky is a story that lives on in my heart and I am a better person for having read it. Very highly recommended.
Please click on these titles to see my reviews of the Cadence of Grace series:
Be Still My Soul
Though My Heart Is Torn
My Hope Is Found
Christy Award-finalist and author of Be Still My Soul and Though My Heart is Torn, Joanne Bischof has a deep passion for Appalachian culture and writing stories that shine light on God’s grace and goodness. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, folk music, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life.
Connect with Joanne online at Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Thank you to Joanne for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.