Welcome to the website of Gifford MacShane


I know I’m supposed to do this in third person, but that sounds so stuffy!

I’m Gifford MacShane (call me “Giff”), author of historical novels featuring a family of Irish immigrants who settle in the Arizona Territory in the 1800s.

I’ve has always loved folk music, whether it be Irish, Appalachian, or the songs of the cowboys. My love of the Old West goes back to childhood, when my father introduced me to the works of Zane Grey. Later, I became interested in the Irish diaspora after realizing my father’s family must have lived through An Gorta Mor, the Great Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1852, a completely avoidable disaster that could have been prevented had the English government cared enough to do anything to help. Writing allows me to combine these three interests into a series of family stories, each with romance, traditional song lyrics, and a dash of Celtic mysticism.

I’m a member of the Historical Novel Society. Having grown up as part of a large & often boisterous Irish-American family, I’m intimately acquainted with the workings of such a clan and have used those experiences to good purpose (though no names will be named!)

A grammar nerd who still loves diagramming sentences, I currently lives in Pennsylvania with my husband Richard, the Pied Piper of stray cats. An avid gardener, I cultivate pollinator plants and tomatoes (not enough) and zucchini (too much). I also collect art glass and bird figurines. If you happen to meet me anywhere, any time, I’ll probably be humming or singing, though I might not be able to identify the song if you ask.


I write historical fiction that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. The first book of the Donovan Family Saga, WHISPERS IN THE CANYON, appeared in September 2019, and deals with a young woman who’s been abused by her brother, and who subsequently must depend on the man who shot him to save her family’s ranch.

Though the subject matter is somewhat dark, there is no graphic violence. The themes are handled with sensitivity and respect for the victim and, most importantly, no sympathy for the offender. The book explores the effects of abuse not only only the abused, but on those who love her and try to help her. As one reviewer said:

This book will make you laugh and cry and even a little angry, but in the end it is all worth the read.

If you’ve read WHISPERS IN THE CANYON and developed a soft spot for Daniel Donovan, you’re sure to love THE WOODSMAN’S ROSE, which focuses on Daniel’s relationship with Annie Griffiths, a fragile young woman with the gift of insight, who tries to heal the rift between Daniel and Alec Twelve Trees. Not to be outdone, Alec is one of the central characters in RAINBOW MAN. The accomplished silversmith has convinced himself that the Donovans will never accept him as youngest daughter Irene’s husband. (And it’s not the only thing he’s wrong about!)

Finally, for a look at how and why John Patrick, Molly, and Katie Donovan emigrated to the US, there’s my 90-page novella, THE WINDS OF MORNING, which explores the effects of the Great Potato Famine, especially on western counties of Ireland, and the subsequent decimation of Ireland’s population.

 All my books are available through Books2Read. You can read more reviews on Amazon and Goodreads or, for even more info about me & my work, take a peek at interviews on My Book Place and Actually Alethea’s blog.

And please feel free to contact me through this website if you have any comments, questions, or even book recommendations. I’d love to hear from you!

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