JoHannah Reardon - Inspiring Christian Historical Fiction

JoHannah Reardon - Inspiring Christian Historical Fiction
author of the day

JoHannah Reardon writes inspiring and heartwarming Christian historical fiction. She is also the former managing editor of, an online Christianity Today Bible study site. As our author of the day, Reardon reveals how Gathering Bittersweet was inspired by her grandmother's life, what she would have wanted to do if she didn't become an author and talks about poverty and compassion.

Please give us a short introduction to Gathering Bittersweet

Gathering Bittersweet is a Christian historical fiction that is loosely based on my grandmother’s life. It’s set in the Midwest during the early 1900s and captures the hardships as well as the joys of that time period. The title perfectly captures the tone of the book—part bitter/part sweet.

Why did you write Gathering Bittersweet? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this? 

I have always thought my grandma’s story was remarkable and wanted to get the essence of it down on paper. I also wanted to write about ways I was growing in my own spiritual journey, which is reflected throughout the book. 

This is the third book in the series. Do you need to read the previous two first? Or are these alone standing stories? 

All my books are stand-alone novels. Rachel is introduced in the second book of the series (Highland Path) through her diary, so if you read that book first, you will feel an affinity toward Rachel before you begin Gathering Bittersweet, but you won’t need to read it to understand what is going on. However, right now all three books in the series are just 99 cents each on Kindle, so this would be a great time to download all three.

Poverty and compassion are two important themes in your book. Why? 

I worry that many people in the Western world isolate themselves from poverty and therefore don’t ever face the problems that brings. I’m hoping through this novel to help people connect emotionally with those who struggle. I also think that Christians should lead the way in society to show compassion to all.

In the book Rachel's views on romance, security and comfort are challenged. Why do you think it is important that people start thinking about things differently? 

I think most women, and some men, grow up thinking that if they just find the “right” person they will be happy—that the “one” will usher them into a life of romance, security, and comfort. However, that’s rarely the way it works. Relationships are difficult and take all of our energy. Although they may be the best thing in our life, they can also be the worst at times. Having a successful relationship is about learning to weather those tough times. 

What do you hope readers will take away from Gathering Bittersweet? 

I hope they will gain perspective on their own lives, but I also hope they will be able to relax and reflect on life in a different time and place. Immersing ourselves in another century can sometimes be refreshing. 

In which way is Gathering Bittersweet a coming of age story? 

Rachel is forced to grow up quickly when her father dies and she has to leave the only home she’s ever known. Without the guidance of her own parents, she finds help in her uncle, who is able to help her navigate her new world. Throughout the novel, we see Rachel grow in wisdom, but not without faltering and failing at times. 

Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

If I wasn’t a writer, I’d be a graphic artist. I love every bit of the publishing process and find it all a delight. 

What was the book that most influenced your life — and why? 

The book A Quiet Neighborhood by George MacDonald was what made me want to write my own novel. MacDonald was a contemporary of Charles Dickens and was every bit as popular as he was at the time. Anyway, his book is beautiful from beginning to end in its writing and its message. I’ve read it at least five times.

 What are you working on right now? 

I have just published a non-fiction book called No More Fear: 40 days to conquer worry. I wrote it because I have had to battle my own war with fear and anxiety. I wasn’t able to break free from my fears until I truly believed God loves me and will always act for my good. Therefore, this book focuses on who God is and works on ways we can experience him over 40 days so that we can move past those things that terrify us or cause us angst. 

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you? 

I love to interact with my readers! Come to my website at to see all of my books and to email me with any questions you may have. I always answer. 

This deal has ended but you can read more about the book here.
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