Today I have super special review for you all! I was recently blessed to receive and read an advanced reader copy of Songs of the Shenandoah by Michael K. Reynolds, the epic finale to the Heirs of Ireland series! I can't wait for you all to get to read it!!
At the tail end of the California Gold Rush the United States is still going through many changes. There is unrest among the people of the nation and all too soon it will turn to war. The Underground Railroad is in full swing. Poor Caitlin is twisting in the wind in a string of unsuccessful pursuits of love. Davin is no longer the happy, carefree child he once was. He is a changed man after having made his fortune through hydraulic mining in California. Seamus and his family have fallen on hard times just as Clare and Andrew have. Clare’s writing continues to be controversial at the Daily but now it is drawing the wrath of the Irishmen in their city. The Hanley children came to New York with dreams of escaping hardship…but it seems hardship will find them anyway. How will the Hanley family survive when they are divided from one another by a war and threatened by their neighbors at every turn?
2 things that you need to know: 1. Do not read the books out of order or you will ruin surprises from the previous book(s). 2. This review contains 1 spoiler, but it is only in reference to one scene and does not spoil any major plot twists.
I really enjoyed reading Songs of the Shenandoah. When I read, I get to a place where I feel like I know the characters and I begin to worry what will happen to them so to get my hands on the conclusion was wonderful!
There were so many wonderful things about this book. There are twists and turns that will keep your mind racing and your eyes scurrying across the pages reading chapter after chapter! There are your old favorite characters and new ones that you will come to love! There are moments in this book that will snatch you from elation, to sorrow, move you to tears, and back again.
There are points in this book that are incredibly suspenseful (which I love) and in one particular chapter the plotline becomes incredibly intense. There is one section that for me was a bit too intense. I am only going to mention this moment here in the review because I want to warn parents and the faint hearted: In chapter 44, titled ENEMY LINES, there is an incredibly graphic 2 or 3 paragraphs that describe a horrible lynching that Clare witnesses in New York. This moment occurs when we are hearing about other horrors and listening to the tortured thoughts of Clare Hanley and for me that moment was extremely disturbing. I still cannot think about it much. Shortly after that, in the same chapter, there is an intense, suspenseful beating that occurs. So be warned that chapter is a bit hard to take and if you are an extremely compassionate heart or you have children reading this series just keep an eye out to deal with any reactions that may be had to those scenes. I do commend Mr. Reynolds for depicting an accurate picture of the horrible injustices committed during the Civil War (on both sides). I also commend Mr. Reynolds for accurately depicting what it was like for families divided on either side of the war and the confusion about how to deal when you have loved ones living on either side. There is a particular quote from a conversation between Davin and Clare that I think very accurately sums up the fear and stress that was experienced by families and friends forced to make tough decisions during the civil war:
“ ‘You know,’ Clare said, ‘I believe confused is a good place for us to be with all of this. Anyone who has clarity during times such as these is someone we should fear.’ ”
Not only are the main characters (the Hanley and Royce families) captivating, the less central characters were amazing as well. Reverend Zachary and Cassie Bridger are an amazing pair of people. Sweet Owen warmed my heart with his optimism, hard work, and humble spirit. Muriel totally shocked me and yet I love her character. And Jacob! Dear Jacob! I can’t say anything about him without revealing major plot spoilers but oh how I love Jacob!! And then Percy Barlow….My heart breaks for Percy…people who have read the second book but not the third will think I’m crazy but trust me, by the end you will understand…what a tragedy.
The sweeping conclusion to Heirs of Ireland is so worth the read! If you haven’t begun the series, please do! And if you have, please keep reading to the finish! You won’t want to miss any of it! Get your copy of Songs of the Shenandoah by Michael K. Reynolds when it releases on January 1st, 2014!
Buy Songs of the Shenandoah Here
Buy All Three of the Heirs of Ireland Series Here
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
Until next time,
p.s. Don't forget!! Tomorrow is the special See Lizzie Read Black Friday Giveaway! Don't miss it! Get all the details here!