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.
Overall, 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 highly recommend them!
**I received a copy of this book from B&H Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**
At the onset of the Civil War, Seamus heeds his wife’s wishes to return to her beloved family farm in the South, where he takes a post as chaplain for General Stonewall Jackson’s brigade. As Seamus ministers to the troops, his sister Clare ministers in a different way—by being a powerful voice in the Northern cause toward freeing the slaves. All this while their youngest brother Davin, who became wealthy during the Gold Rush, struggles to find love and identity in a fallen world. It’s a clash of loyalties and beliefs that threaten the entire family, each of them trying to hear God’s encouragement in the midst of the tragedy of war. The dramatic conclusion to the acclaimed Heirs of Ireland Series.
“My chains? They was cut long ago and for all times. I ain’t get my freedom from no man. And no man can take it from me.”
-Jacob, Songs of the Shenandoah
Characters: The characters are what truly make this novel sing. Through the previous books, we meet the Hanley family. In this novel, there is a strong focus on three of the siblings, Clare, Seamus, and Davin. Each are striving to find their own purpose in a country that is being torn apart by war. Clare finds herself being the support her husband needs as well as being a strong voice to the oppressed in New York City. Seamus has left the ministry only to find a new purpose in the Shenandoah Valley and the Confederacy. Davin is searching for redemption.
Storyline: This novel certainly visits some aspects of the war that I don’t think we often read in fiction or hear about in general. During the actual war, there are focuses on the Irish brigades while in New York City there are scenes demonstrating the social tensions that the North was feeling during the war. Throughout these historical moments, a thread of faith is woven through. Some characters lean on it while others are discovering it.
My Thoughts: Out of the series of these three books, this one was probably my favorite. There were so many unexpected moments in the story. Like the previous two, this one was just as beautifully written and just as poignant. Through the scenes of war hopelessness there is an element of faith and hope that shines. It is something for both characters and readers to grab a hold of.
I would recommend reading the first two novels, Flight of the Earls and In Golden Splendor, 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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