Songs of the Shenandoah: A Novel

Songs of the Shenandoah: A Novel

by Michael K. Reynolds
4.7 9

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Songs of the Shenandoah 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Songs of the Shenandoah is a great addition to Heirs of Ireland series. I really love this series and I think Songs of the Shenandoah is my favorite of the 3. It is a really good look at the Irish during the American Civil War era. I am disappointed to see that this is the last book. I would love love love to continue on with the Haney family. But that's just me not wanting to let go.  5 stars.
DNunley More than 1 year ago
Incredible well written story. A great read for young and old! A happy ending all the way around!
KarenFromOregon More than 1 year ago
Songs of the Shenandoah was a beautiful and adventurous tale. The descriptions are so wonderful, I could picture the sweeping vistas just as if I were watching a movie. Though Reynolds wove a tender romance through the pages, the love story that caught my heart was the love between the siblings, particularly the brothers Davin and Seamus. I had to go in search of tissues a few times while reading, because by the mid-point I felt like part of the family. I've enjoyed each of the three books making up the Heirs of Ireland series, but Songs of the Shenandoah was the best of the bunch. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from B&H Fiction for the purpose of review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
PianoLady831 More than 1 year ago
Songs of the Shenandoah concludes The Heirs of Ireland, a three-volume series written by Michael K. Reynolds - three chapters of one epic story that captures the indelible spirit and hope of the Irish people, beginning with Irish immigration to America in the 1840s and ending shortly after the Civil War. With its lyrical writing, character depth, historical theme, and compelling narrative, this series is a rare gem in any market, but especially the Christian market. My emotions were engaged from page one of the first book, Flight of the Earls, and the connection only strengthened with the deepening of characterization and plot throughout the series. And then there's that special something called the Wow! factor - which has been described as "a combination of a unique plot and setting, likeable and intelligent characters, and a distinct and readable writing style, or 'voice.'" While the last book of a series can sometimes be weak, Songs of the Shenandoah is in a class by itself - and for me, it truly has that Wow! factor. Characterization is certainly one of this story's strengths, and it was pure joy to reunite with the Hanley and Royce families - characters who are not only "likeable and intelligent," but passionate about family and faith, caring, flawed, but willing to grow from their mistakes - in other words, real people that readers will care about also. A sense of pride and love for the Irish people, and heartbreak at all they have endured, is at the heart of this novel. Clare reflects: "Oh how the sons and daughters of Ireland floated away like tragic driftwood from that land! Pushed by uncaring tides to distant lands, where there they were plucked from the waters with hands of mockery and scorn." Clare Hanley Royce, a storied reporter for her husband Andrew's newspaper, the New York Daily, is driven by desire "to confront the enemy face-to-face, with her pen if not the sword." Seamus Hanley, a mountain man turned preacher, learns that a military chaplain's job is to console the inconsolable. Davin Hanley, famed gold miner, yearned "for something more than the high society, fine clothes, and attention from women his wealth had attained." Through characterization and plot, Michael has his finger on the pulse of war - from needless death, destruction, fear and cruelty to unparalleled courage, loyalty and faith. In a scene between General Stonewall Jackson and Seamus, Jackson points out that both sides will be praying for God's protection, to be in His will, and asks, "Who will God choose?" Seamus replies, "If there are soldiers, men, women, thousands and hundreds of thousands praying on either side, desperate for their Father, then maybe the victory is already won." Pastor Asa mentors a young Seamus jaded by ministry with words that lead to a turning point in Seamus's life and he reflected on God's odd sense of humor in calling him to serve the very Army he had previously deserted. But isn't that often the way God works? Asking us to die to self and take up our cross, often bringing us back to the very root issue from which we initially sought escape? Another strength of this story is Michael's lyrical prose, beautifully shown in this scene where Clare and Andrew worshipped at a black church in one of the poorest sections of Manhattan and felt the moving of the Holy Spirit. "Gathered in this very room were some of the poorest, most oppressed people in the entire city. But rather than hearing the cries of bitterness or anger, Clare heard something so rare to behold. The sweet sound of gratitude." Another moving scene later on, between Andrew and a repentant Davin: "I know who you are," Andrew whispered in his ear. "I know who you can be." And isn't that exactly what we love to hear God speak into our hearts? Over the arc of the Heirs of Ireland series, Michael has created a fascinating and intricately woven tapestry with his fictional characters that surely reflects something of what God's tapestry of our lives might look like: lives full of the hanging threads of doubt, disappointment, hardship, disbelief, joy, endurance, peace, and homecoming - yet so smoothly woven together and beautiful from God's omniscient view. There's a moving scene where Davin asks a runaway slave named Jacob how he can sing, and I'll close with his poignant words: "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." Songs of the Shenandoah is a memorable book, one whose characters and message will long be with me. Rating: 5++ Thank you to Michael and B&H Publishing Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I heard Michael K. Reynolds speak on a local station about his series. I was thrilled that Barnes and Noble carried his books. I enjoyed the previous two and waited eagerly for the last one Songs of the Shenandoah to be published. It is a deeply satisfying conclusion to the this historical fiction/faith based series. I enjoyed his characters and learned some things about Irish and American history that I did not know. It's a great read for teens or adults.
DesireeMMondesir More than 1 year ago
Today (and by “today,” I mean veeery early this morning), I finished reading Songs of Shenandoah, the last installment of the Heirs of Ireland Trilogy by Michael K. Reynolds. I read straight through from about page 200 to page 428 just last night and the entire book in less than a week. Yes, it was that phenomenal! I regret to say, I have not yet read Flight of the Earls, the first installment *adds to my 2014 reading list* but I have read In Golden Splendor (#2) and from that I can say that Songs of Shenandoah makes a graceful transition and I was happily surprised by the ending. Being a black woman with Irish roots, this book holds particular meaning to me. Set during the Civil War, skipping largely between New York and Virginia, we see a stark picture of our nation’s history that they don’t teach you in school: our nation tearing apart at the seams. North against South. Northerner against Northerner. Southerner against Southerner. What Reynolds touches on regarding the unrest between races in Golden Splendor, he completes in Songs of Shenandoah. For a woman whose black paternal grandfather met her Irish paternal grandmother in New York, it’s painful to watch the terrible dissention between the two peoples unfold in Songs. Yet as is so often true, we see the root of all evil: money. Money drives the Southern stakes in slave-owning enterprises. Money causes the Southern cotton to find its way up North for industrialization. Money causes the Irish to hate the blacks they credit with stealing their jobs and causing their unwarranted deaths. Yes money makes the maddened world go ‘round. Friend against friend. Brother against brother. This novel covers the ugliness that is war with a simple beauty that only Michael K. Reynolds possesses. It ends seamlessly and makes me wonder not only what is next for the Hanley Clan that fills this series, but what is next for Michael K. Reynolds. A job well done sir, a job well done!
Smilingsally More than 1 year ago
It took awhile for this third book in the series to grab me; perhaps I had too many interruptions. (I read it during the Christmas holidays.) Nonetheless, I pressed on and read to the final page. I'm so glad that I did. The author has the ability to place the reader dead center in the middle of the action in the war against the states. We see the torn bodies, we hear the groans, and we smell the blood. In addition, he shows us the conflict that families on both sides face. A great question is considered: "Is there a right side to this war? If soldiers on both sides are praying before going into battle, "who will God choose? (233) On what side does God stand?" Love, loyalty, and forgiveness are themes. Despite depicting the horrors of war, the author brings the Hanley family to a satisfying conclusion. Although this novel could be read as a stand alone novel, the trilogy would be best enjoyed when read in order. Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and B&H Books for my copy.
MelissaF More than 1 year ago
Any book that has Irishman and the Civil War in it I am bound to enjoy. This book made me want to go back and re-read another book with those two components, Gone With the Wind. Songs of Shenandoah is a beautiful epic tale. The last book in the Heirs of Ireland series will make you sad to say good-bye to these beloved characters. I only read the last two books and I did not feel lost at all. I think you could even read this book alone and still fully understand the story. This book has everything a great story needs. Strong characters who you will love, a tense plot that will have you gripping the pages at times, romance and a bit of mystery too. What more could you ask for? My favorite story line was that of Davin and Muriel. I really liked both of these characters and kept hoping for Davin to come to know and trust God. But, you'll just have to read the book yourself to see if that happens :) A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Michael K. Reynolds has written an excellent finale to his Heirs of Ireland series. I didn't think that he could surpass the heart-warming stories of Flight of the Earls, V.1, and ln Golden Splendor, V.2. He concluded an excellent series with vivid and historical description that kept me reading non-stop. The story takes us through the Civil War period and allows us to follow the believable characters that we first encountered in Volume 1 and 2. We live with our characters through the effects of the Civil War, the inhumanity of slavery, and the devastating destruction to both North and South. Through this time in our history, the author finds the good in people, allowing them to find love and forgiveness for family and others. I truly loved the conclusion to this series and was sad to see it come to an end. Perhaps Michael K. Reynolds will re-visit some of his characters in a future novel. I hope to make time to return to the Flight of the Earls, In Golden Splendor, and of course, Songs of the Shenandoah. I received a free copy of this book from the author for my honest review. tuberski