‘In Golden Splendor‘ is the second book in Michael K. Reynolds’ fantastic Heirs of Ireland Series. Historical novels used to be one of my favorite genres and I was an avid reader so I read a lot of them. ‘In Golden Splendor’ is the best I’ve read. A distinction it took away from ‘Flight of the Earls‘.
Seamus Hanley is the main character among a host of characters that range from the surprising, and entertaining to villainous, and inspiring. Brother Chuck is someone you wish you had as your own friend and mentor. If you are an animal lover Clarisse and Trip are great. I wasn’t particularly drawn to the character of Seamus in the first book and to have him be the main character of the second wasn’t as an appealing idea to me as maybe continuing to follow Clare, but within a short space Michael was able to turn my initial reserve around.
Once again Michael throws in twists that one would be hard pressed to see ahead of time, yet the story is believable. One almost wonders if these tales might be loosely based on family ancestors because only reality could have stranger twists than some of the surprises Michael weaves into these stories.
‘Flight of the Earls‘ starts the reader on a trip back into time so vivid you almost feel like you are there. ‘In Golden Splendor’ pulls the reader into the San Francisco ‘gold fever‘ time frame. If you are looking for stories that draw you into the time period, show the realities of what it was like, and yet doesn’t cross the line into glorifying sin or worse fill your imagination with graphic images of sin, you will definitely want to read this series. I’d suggest starting with ‘Flight of the Earls’ and then ‘In Golden Splendor’ as the second book builds a bit on the first. Even though the story doesn’t rely on the reader knowing the details of the first book, I think having read ‘Flight of the Earls’ first makes some of the comments in ‘In Golden Splendor’ more meaningful.
In my opinion, ‘In Golden Splendor’ lives up to its title.