The Winds of Morning

Donovan Family Saga, Book A, The Prequel

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
114 Pages
Reviewed on 12/02/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Gifford MacShane is the author of historical fiction that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. Her novels feature a family of Irish immigrants who settle in the Arizona Territory in the late 1800s. With an accessible literary style, MacShane draws out her characters' hidden flaws and strengths as they grapple with both physical and emotional conflicts.

Singing almost before she could talk, MacShane has always loved folk music, whether it be Irish, Appalachian, spirituals, or the songs of the cowboys. Her love of the Old West goes back to childhood, when her father introduced her to the works of Zane Grey. Later she became interested in the Irish diaspora, having realized her father's family had lived through An Gorta Mor, the Great Irish Potato Famine of the mid-1800s.

Writing allows her to combine her three great interests into a series of family stories, each with romance, traditional song lyrics, and a dash of Celtic mysticism. Having grown up in a large & often boisterous Irish-American family, she is intimately acquainted with the workings of such a clan and uses those experiences to good purpose (though no names will be named!)

MacShane is a member of the Historical Novel Society and is an #OwnVoices writer. She loves to sing, though her cats don’t always appreciate it. A self-professed grammar nerd who still gets a kick out of diagramming sentences, she currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Richard, the Pied Piper of stray cats.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Melanie Kennedy for Readers' Favorite

The Winds of Morning is a prequel novel to the Donovan Family Saga series. Author Gifford MacShane immerses us in Ireland in 1848 when the Great Famine still ravages Ireland and its people as entire families and towns are wiped out. Young Molly, recently orphaned, must do what she can to keep her younger brothers alive. She finds herself at a precipice as she realizes the only thing she has left to offer is her body to provide food for herself and her brothers. After making this sad decision, she encounters John Patrick Donovan. Instead of using her for his pleasures, he helps feed her brothers and surprises her by proposing marriage. Molly can’t believe her luck, as she and her brothers will surely be spared from the famine. Their journey ahead is not easy, but it is filled with love and compassion, as only a true saga is.

When I read the synopsis for The Winds of Morning, I knew I would love it. Although a prequel, it can be read as a standalone novel and is just as enjoyable. I love Ireland and the beauty it radiates, but the Great Famine was a truly terrible time for the Emerald Isle. Gifford MacShane accurately portrays the devastation the Irish people endured as well as the true reason they suffered during this time; it was not for a lack of food, as most history books would lead you to believe. I loved Gifford’s beautifully crafted story of love and hope and can’t wait to read what Molly and John Patrick’s family get up to in the next installment.