Review: In Golden Splendor by Michael K. Reynolds

Irish immigrant Seamus Hanley is a lost soul, haunted by his past as a U.S. Army deserter and living alone in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains in 1849. But after witnessing a deadly stage coach crash, he finds purpose in the scattered wreckage — a letter with a picture of a beautiful and captivating woman named Ashlyn living in San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush.

Moved by her written plea for help, he abandons all and sets out on an epic journey across the wild and picturesque American frontier. While being pursued by those who want to hang him, Seamus encounters fascinating characters including a young Pauite Indian who makes the ultimate sacrifice in helping Seamus to cross the snowy Yosemite Valley.

Battered but changed for the better, Seamus reaches San Francisco on Christmas Eve as the city burns in the tragic fire of 1849. But there is little time for rest, as an even greater, more harrowing adventure involving Ashlyn is about to begin.

This is Michael’s sophomore offering and he does not disappoint. From the beginning, he grabbed my interest and didn’t let go. He has a way with descriptions that I envy and wish I could emulate.

The story lines are interesting. The characters are memorable. I laughed and cried with them. From Seamus’s neighbor at the beginning to the appearance of his uncle near the end, nearly every character had some definable quirk that made him or her unforgettable. The final resolution was a bit of a twist I didn’t see coming.

Michael is an author to watch. I normally read books with a bit more romance in them, but Michael held my interest regardless.

I’ve just downloaded his upcoming release, Songs of Shenandoah,  for review and look forward to reading it soon.

Overall rating: 8.25 out of 10 stars [mostly because I prefer more romance]

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ecopy in exchange for my honest review.