Fall in Love with In Golden Splendor! [Review]
Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Michael K. Reynolds who penned the Heirs of Ireland Series: Flight of the Earls (January 2013), In Golden Splendor (July 2013), and Songs of Shenandoah (January 2014). It was a wonderful experience and I certainly learned a lot! Thankfully, I was prepared for the interview because he was gracious enough to send me a copy of In Golden Splendor which I now consider among my favourite books.
First things first: the cover of In Golden Splendor is absolutely beautiful! Please judge this book by its cover! Lol We can tell people ‘til we’re blue in the face to not judge a book by its cover, but let’s be honest: we all do. Thankfully, I believe this will work in Michael’s favour.
As for the length, I admit, I was initially daunted by the size of the book. Not because I don’t like lengthy reads, but because I had less than a week to read it! But I dove in and it was a wonderfully easy read. I loved that Michael wrote short chapters which, I think psychologically, makes the reading quicker.
Michael did a phenomenal job with the content of In Golden Splendor. I shared with him that I often have a dislike for Christian novels because they preach and aren’t written that well, but Michael shatters that mold. The truth of God is present in In Golden Splendor, but it doesn’t ruin the story; it enhances it. We are able to see the journey of a ne’er do well Irish immigrant find God and come into his own in life. We see the beauty of love in numerous capacities and are completely taken into the tale.
Also, I love the double entendre of the title. For a nice length of the book, I thought it was solely because of the Gold Rush that makes a huge appearance in the story, but its overarching reasoning stems from…well, I’ll let you read it and find out..!
You truly fall in love with the characters that you are meant to and also dislike the ones you are meant to. You are able to see into the complexities of the various personalities, even the ones who make only a short appearance and speak few words. You are able to hear their accents; not just read them. Michael writes in these accents as well as he imitates them!
One of the more intriguing factors to me was the clash between the cultures present in the mid-19th century America setting. The Irish and the Americans. The Irish-Americans and the African-Americans. The Americans and the Mexicans. The Native Americans, Chinese, South Americans, and more were all present creating a true melting pot of characters even, if they didn’t mix as we’d like them to. You see the gritty reality that was mid-1800s America. You begin to realize the depth of the political, ethnic, and cultural issues present at the time of the story. In truth, it’s a wonder our nation is still standing. Michael orchestrates all of these factors beautifully.
I love, love, love that Michael added Discussion Questions at the back of the book. It’s a small additive that makes a huge impact. It encourages people to read the book in a group and discuss it. It even includes a Prayer of Salvation! It’s positioned in a way that you can find it easily enough if you’d like to use them and you can skim over them if they’re not your cup of tea.
All in all, I adored In Golden Splendor. I can’t wait to get my hands on Flight of the Earls and look forward to the January 2014 release of Songs of Shenandoah. I encourage each of you to support Michael in his well-done endeavor and purchase your own copies of his books!