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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
Whispers in the Canyon by Gifford MacShane is an emotionally charged love story. Adam Donovan is deeply rooted in his Irish heritage. He and all of the Donovan clan live by a heartfelt code of conduct. “A man without a family has no one, but a man who is a bad neighbor is no one.” Persecuted, the Donovans fled Ireland for America and have become well-known and respected ranchers in Arizona. In the spring of 1885, Adam rides across the canyon toward the lonely Travers ranch; he is the bearer of bad news. Regardless of how Adam feels, he knows this is the neighborly thing to do. As he approaches, he sees a battered and bruised young woman standing outside. Adam tells Jesse Travers her brother, Russell, is dead, and he is the one who killed him. This is the beginning of a rare and unlikely relationship between Adam and Jesse. Destitute, Jesse strangely finds comfort and refuge in the presence of the man who killed her brother. Day by day, Jesse’s fragile beauty bares its soul, and every day Adam is there, proving he is trustworthy. Yet, the haunting past refuses to let Jesse go; it will take the entire love of the Donovan family to break the yoke and set love free.
Gifford MacShane pens a heartwarming, yet gut-wrenching romance novel in Whispers in the Canyon. This novel is one of the most well-written and well-developed books I have read in a long time. The characterization is above reproach. The characters are written with refined and defined eloquence. As a reader, you sense their despair and devotion, and you feel the longings of their heart and soul. Penned with transparency, the characters' secrets, hopes, thoughts, silent pleas, and even fear-ridden nightmares are exposed. Both of the main characters undergo a dynamic character growth; the fragility of the heroine matures into a woman of astounding inner strength, while the rugged, brawny, extremely masculine hero discovers freedom in vulnerability. Their growth is only realized, however, through the haunting, relentless foreboding of the antagonist.
MacShane delivers Gaelic tradition and folklore effortlessly, and proverbial sayings and meaningful metaphoric descriptions enlighten the time and setting. Written with poetic imagery, the narrative pays homage to both Ireland and Arizona. The plot is driven by a passion for love not realized, and with each turn of the page, you are drawn further into the hope that it will somehow come to pass. Gifford MacShane reveals, “Love is not earned, nor deserved. It is a gift.” Whispers in the Canyon is an inspirational love story. I wait in anticipation for book two in the Donovan Family Saga.