Name: The Lady and the Lionheart
Author: Joanne Bischof
Summary from the back of the book:
Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Bog 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 her 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.
This book was fantastic and very powerful. The message of forgiveness and redemption reminded me of God’s grace and mercy for us. The characters were wonderfully developed and I fell in love with them. Ella’s strength and growth throughout the book was inspiring. Charlie’s love, humility, and sacrificial spirit made me want to strive to be more like that. I’m not going to go into much detail about the book because if I do, I’ll give away parts of the book that should be left unknown! But I will highly encourage you to read it. Joanne stated that “The story began as a reflection on Beauty and the Beast…and a fictional resonance of a very true account: the Gospel.” And it definitely is! Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and that story line mixed with the powerful message of Jesus’ love for us makes for one memorable book!