WHISPERS IN THE CANYON: Editorial Review

I’m thrilled to announce that WHISPERS IN THE CANYON has received a 5-star review from the Coffee Pot Book Club.

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“I didn’t want to kill him…”

But Russell Travers had already shot one man while he attempted to rob The White’s Station Bank, how many more would he have shot if Adam Donovan had not stopped him? Nevertheless, it does not take anything away from the fact that Adam killed a man, and now he has to break the news to Russell’s ailing father and wayward sister.

The dilapidated state of the Travers’ ranch comes as a surprise to Adam, as does the scrap of the girl who threatens him with a dirty Whitworth rifle. Adam had been led to believe that Jesse was a violent woman, but the reality in front of him, even if she did hold onto that rifle, negated the rumours. Jesse was not what he had expected, and that rifle looked so old and abused that he doubted it could even fire. No, Jesse was not what others said of her.

Jesse had cried when Adam told her that her brother was dead. But they were not tears of grief. They were tears of relief. For years, Jesse had suffered at the hands of her brother. At last, she was free of him, but his death hastened that of her ailing father, and Jesse finds herself all alone in a cold and unforgiving world, with a ranch that was falling down around her.

Adam cannot stand by and do nothing in the face of Jesse’s dire needs. His family rally around Jesse and help her to not only rebuild the ranch but make it profitable. And the more time Adam spends with Jesse, the more his heart tells him that this is the woman he was destined to be with.

Jesse had learnt long ago how futile hope was. She fears that as soon as Adam discovers what had befallen her by the hand of her brother, then he would leave, and she would be all alone again, and that she could not survive…

Whispers in the Canyon by Gifford MacShane is the emotionally evocative story of a young woman who learns how to trust and how to love after years of insufferable abuse at the hands of her brother.

Set during the 19th Century in Arizona, Whisper in the Canyon appalls, impresses and makes a reader swoon at the romance in equal measures. It has everything one could want from a historical romance and then some.

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Adam is instantly drawn to Jesse. He admires her bravery, but he also sees past the gossip and the rumours. He is a man who is confident enough to come to his own conclusions, and he has been taught to listen to his heart. I thought Adam was a wonderful hero. His patience and understanding were precisely what Jesse needed. Adam becomes Jesse’s constant in a confusing and terrifying world. I thought Adam was really rather wonderful.

Jesse is as broken as any soul can be, and yet her strength of character, her determination to rebuild her life, makes her one of the strongest heroines that I have ever encountered. The stigma that Jesse may have come across is tempered by the protective shield that the Donovan household wrap around her. Slowly, but inevitably, Jesse learns to trust her feelings, and to trust Adam. Adam is nothing like her brother, and often Jesse finds the difference staggering and somewhat confusing, as anyone would coming out of a very unhealthy and abusive relationship. Jesse and Adam’s story is a sweet and slow romance, with Adam ever mindful of what she had suffered. It was an enthralling love story that made this book wholly unforgettable and next to impossible to put down. Kudos, Ms MacShane.

Another character that deserves a mention is Katie. While Adam shows Jesse what real love is, his grandmother Katie helps to heal the scars that Adam cannot. I adored Katie, she is this wonderfully knowledgable lady who has a tremendously large heart. She takes Jesse under her wing, and along with Adam and the rest of the Donovans’, helps Jesse to heal. I thought Katie’s portrayal was marvellous.

The historical detailing of this story has to be commended. MacShane has taken considerable care to research the history of this era, and it shows through in her writing. MacShane has captured the very essence of 19th Century Arizona. Brilliantly written and fabulously executed.

Whispers in the Canyon by Gifford MacShane is one of the most compelling and moving historical western romance novels that I have ever read.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.

The Coffee Pot Book Club.

Tuesday #Trivia: Union Suits and Linens

Gifford MacShane

#amwriting #history

Thanks to the movies and mid-20th century TV, when we think of men’s underwear in the Old West, we usually picture the union suit, a garment that looked like a cross between a onesie and today’s longjohns, with buttons up the front and a flap in the back to accommodate nature’s needs.  But union suits weren’t always a single piece — it was possible to buy shirts and pants separately.  They also came in an above-the-knee length (for the especially hardy).

Union Suit Advertisement Sears & Roebuck catalogue Union Suit Advertisement
Sears & Roebuck catalogue

Less well-known were garments called “linens”, from the material they were made out of.  Linens could be long, though they were usually knee-length or shorter.  They had buttons or grommets with laces, and some had wide waistbands.  Even more obscure was a cotton garment with buttons and ribbed legs that’s quite similar to the recently-popularized “boxer-briefs”.  From my research, I believe…

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WHO or WHOM? There’s an easy way to choose

When it comes to the rule of “WHO v WHOM”, many websites place emphasis on knowing the difference between subjects and objects, or go on and on about clauses and prepositions. But here’s a simple trick that doesn’t include any of that stuff:

Rephrase your sentence using HIM. If it still makes sense, use WHOM.

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Photo by Ingnio Studio on Pexels.com

Example 1: Whom made the mistake?

Rephrase: HIM made the mistake. This sentence, as you can easily see, is incorrect.

Example 2: To whom did you give the letter?

Rephrase: Did you give the letter to HIM? This sentence is correct.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

How to remember that? Use this simple mnemonic: Both “him” and “whom” end in “M”.

Do you have a simple grammar trick or mnemonic that helps you in your writing? Feel free to share it below!

Looking for Book Reviews?

As a new author (WHISPERS IN THE CANYON was officially published on 9/18), I’ve been scrambling to find sites that will review my novel. Reviews not only help in Amazon rankings, but also let your potential readers know how other readers reacted to your book. When a buyer is trying to decide which of the many available stories they’d like to read, reviews are a must-have.

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

Then I found Reedsy’s list of Best Book Review Blogs, a curated list of almost 200 reviewers that’s searchable by genre. In the Historical Fiction category, I found almost 60 bloggers who’ll review an indie novel. WOW!!! I wonder how many I’ll find when I look at the romance category!

I’d already sussed out six blogs to contact (two of them are on Reedsy’s list), but it took me almost an hour per listing to find them. So the amount of time I’ll save now is incalculable.

Not all the reviews are free, and some have limitations on subject matter. You may also need to join some organizations to qualify for the review. But those decisions are easily made based on your own preferences. What I love is that someone else has done the work of culling out the best of the best!

Take a look at Reedsy’s list for your own genre — I bet you’ll be glad you did!

WHISPERS IN THE CANYON Now Available!

I am thrilled to share the news that WHISPERS IN THE CANYON, the first book of the Donovan Family Saga, is now available on Amazon.com!

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In the 1880s Arizona Territory, Jesse Travers’ father dies and leaves her with a bankrupt ranch and a deep well of distrust.

Shunned by the village for her outlaw brother’s deeds, Jesse is not sorry to hear he’s been killed while robbing a bank. Strangely enough, it’s the man who shot him who brings her the news. Even more strange is this latecomer’s willingness to help her put her ranch back on solid footing. Lacking any other options and loving her canyon home, Jesse overcomes her trepidation and accepts his help.

Irish immigrant Adam Donovan inherited the gift of empathy from his Celtic forebears, and it’s not long before he ferrets out Jesse’s secret: she’s been deeply traumatized by abuse.

As they work together to improve her ranch, Jesse begins to trust Adam and feels the first stirrings of love―an experience she’s never known before. Then, as if to tell her she is unworthy of happiness, her past rises up with a vengeance and she is left with a terrible choice: retreat to a life of solitude and shame, or reveal her tragic secret in the minuscule hope of saving her relationship with Adam Donovan.

The novel is available as an e-book on Amazon right now, and it’s free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

 

Book Review: SOUL OF THE ELEPHANT by Pam Laughlin

In the first book of The Kind Mahout Series, entitled Soul of the Elephant, author Pam Laughlin introduces Hemit, a boy who lives during the British occupation of India. Hemit is rapidly approaching the age when he will choose his own elephant, and is at odds with his father over their training—Hemit believes that kindness will get better results than cruelty. While his father clings to the old ways, Hemit finds a kindred soul in the form of a mysterious hermit called The Husher who, with a mystical process, can reach the soul of the elephant.

Whether Hemit can keep his forbidden relationship with The Husher secret and be able to convince his father to change his ways are the central conflicts of the story.

Pam's Book 1

There are many fascinating aspects to this book, including the customs and food of a people with whom I was not acquainted before. Ms. Laughlin provides lush descriptions of the scenery and tantalizing depictions of their meals, as well as in-depth portrayals of the social caste system and the hunting process (the duck hunt especially intrigued me).

But in spite of, or perhaps because of, the simplicity of Hemit’s life, there’s a sense of imminent danger throughout. Nature sends lightning, rainstorms and floods; the British bureaucrats are both overbearing and condescending; and the elephants themselves can pose significant risks. Not to mention the tiger (or is it a were-tiger?) that preys on the villagers.

If there’s a negative to this book, it’s that some appealing minor characters appear here and there, but don’t have a significant role to play in the narrative. I’m hoping these characters have more to tell us as the series continues.

I recommend this book for its smooth writing and excellent imagery, as well as the sheer depth of knowledge it displays. I enjoyed every page of it.

Notes: From time to time I am asked, or volunteer, to write a review of a novel by another author. Please be assured that, although I may have an acquaintance with the author involved, the views expressed are entirely my own and are based on the book itself and nothing else. For it is only by being honest that I can expect my readers to trust me.

I was provided with a copy of this book by the author, with the provision that I write an honest review.

If you have a book you’d like reviewed and are willing to accept my unadulterated opinion, contact me through the website. I’ll be accepting adult full-length novels in all genres except Horror and Erotica, and posting no more than one review per month, on a book chosen at random from among those submitted. However, if your book is not chosen this month, it will remain on the list and have more opportunities to be “the one”. You may, of course, withdraw your request at any time.

Please note: due to poor eyesight and therefore limited screen time, I am unable to review any book for which a hard copy is not provided. My apologies to ebook-only formats: I wish I could accommodate you as well.