Book Review

In Golden Splendor by Michael K. Reynolds

There are so many interesting eras of American history. The span of which The Heirs of Ireland series by Michael K. Reynolds covers is one reason I was intrigued by the series. The first novel starts out with the Irish Potato Famine and the Irish Immigration to the Five Points region of New York City. The second book takes readers to the Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush. Finally, the third novel visits the Civil War. 

So far, I have I have found these novels to be beautifully written, both in the story telling and the stories themselves. If you haven’t read these books, I definitely recommend them!

If you are interested in reading my thoughts on the first novel of this series, you can find my review of Flight of the Earls HERE.

**I received a copy of this book from B&H Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**

Irish immigrant Seamus Hanley is a lost soul, haunted by his past as a U.S. Army deserter and living alone in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains in 1849. But after witnessing a deadly stage coach crash, he finds purpose in the scattered wreckage — a letter with a picture of a beautiful and captivating woman named Ashlyn living in San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush.

Moved by her written plea for help, he abandons all and sets out on an epic journey across the wild and picturesque American frontier. While being pursued by those who want to hang him, Seamus encounters fascinating characters including a young Pauite Indian who makes the ultimate sacrifice in helping Seamus to cross the snowy Yosemite Valley.

Battered but changed for the better, Seamus reaches San Francisco on Christmas Eve as the city burns in the tragic fire of 1849. But there is little time for rest, as an even greater, more harrowing adventure involving Ashlyn is about to begin.

“God comes to us in golden splendor, and His radiance in our lives far outshines any other treasure, any other accomplishment, and our lives become richer the more we understand this.”

-Rev. Charles Sanders, In Golden Splendor

Characters: In Flight of the Earls, we meet the Hanley family. In this sequel, readers follow the story of Seamus Hanley a bit more closely. Seamus is a man who, though usually well-meaning, constantly finds himself in one sort of trouble after another. Despite that, he is a man with a mission, as unlikely as it seems, to find a woman whose picture he carries. He doesn’t have a reason to find her, he just feels the need to. But throughout the novel, one thing after another breaks Seamus down, but it is through those trials that he grows.

Storyline: This novel picks up a few years following the Mexican American War. The California Gold Rush is going on over the course of this novel and most of the characters feel the impact of it in one way or another. Seamus’s story is quite the tale of starting out as a mountain man and ending up in San Francisco, all while being pursued by God.

My Thoughts:  This book was a wonderful glimpse into history with amazing characters. While the story itself felt very character driven, there were some very unexpected twists and turns as Seamus learns who he can or can’t trust. There were so many moments where Seamus’s past caught up with him in good ways or bad and it was hard to discern which way things would go. I really loved this novel, for both the setting and the characters.

I would recommend reading the first novel, Flight of the Earls, prior to reading this one. It will help with knowing who characters are and some of their backgrounds. However, most of the plot of this story could be read as a standalone novel.

About the Author:
Michael K. Reynolds is a writer with more than two decades of experience in crafting fiction, non-fiction, journalism, copywriting and documentary production. He is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant of Books & Such Literary Agency.

He is the author of a series of Irish historical novels published by B&H Publishing Group. These highly acclaimed books are available in bookstores and libraries across the nation and beyond.

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