Harvest House Publishers
In B.J. Hoff’s book, Song of the Silent Harp, a widow named Nora Kavanagh must learn to endure many of life’s trials. The story is set in Ireland in the mid-1800’s during the Irish Potato Famine when starvation and death were widespread. Nora suffers from terrible losses, such as the death of her husband and child, which makes her struggle with her faith in God.
This book has minimal dialogue and too much general narration. There are only a few exciting scenes with adventurous escapes or attempts at rekindling dying love. There is intriguing conflict when a man who yearns to win Nora’s heart, Morgan Fitzgerald, is torn between her and his duty to serve Ireland. But this suspense is tamped down by the lengthy narration, making the story start to drag.
Nora is trapped between starvation and eviction as her family gets sicker. Her mysterious friend Morgan sacrifices what he has for what’s left of Nora’s family. At one point, Nora must make a hard decision either to stay in Ireland and starve or to start a new, strange life in America, leaving Morgan behind.
Nora is a sorrowful woman with a painful past. Her character hardly changes throughout the story, which is depressing. Fortunately, the other characters give the story more dimensions, from kindhearted men to harsh, conniving landlords.
Whereas this story’s idea is clever, its execution is poor. The narration is long-winded and the story is not gripping. I didn’t feel strongly connected to the characters at any point. There are also unnecessary hints of adult content such as: drugs, child prostitution, and child molestation. This book is targeted for adults who like historical fiction, but I cannot give this book a high recommendation. – Molly Anderson, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Song of the Silent Harp, Book One of BJ Hoff’s acclaimed and bestselling Emerald Ballad series begins the five-book saga of three friends raised in a tiny Irish village devastated by the Potato Famine of the mid-1800s, as they struggle to survive and hold onto their faith during Ireland’s darkest days.
Nora Kavanagh has lost her husband and young daughter, and now lives in fear of losing her home. She and her young son, Daniel, have only one hope for survival, the poet/patriot—and love of Nora’s youth--Morgan Fitzgerald. But his dangerous involvement with a band of Irish rebels keeps him in constant danger and puts the possibility of a future for him and those he loves in jeopardy.
Michael Burke, a close childhood friend of both Nora and Morgan, left his homeland for America and is now a New York City policeman. A widower with a difficult, rebellious son, he still remembers Nora with love and fondness and wants nothing more than to help her escape the cataclysmic famine and build a new life…with him.
This panoramic epic of love and faith and adventure spans an ocean to follow three of BJ Hoff’s most memorable characters in their quest for survival and courage and hope.