Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading Mahoney by Andrew Joyce
4 out of 5 stars
I adore family sagas through the generations, and have a great interest in American history of the last two hundred years, so I leapt on this book when I saw it on the review team list.
The book is split into three sections: Devin, the 19 year old from Ireland eager to make his fortune in America, his son, Dillon, who sets out to travel west, and David, the privileged son of Dillon, whose fortunes take a different turn during the Depression.
I’ll start by saying that a great strength of this book is the dialogue, which never falters in its quality, and is the main reason why the characterisation is so good. I was also most impressed by the research that had gone into the book; it is clear, throughout, that Mr Joyce has a great understanding of the peoples of each time and place in the novel.
I adored the first part, about Devin; I looked forward to getting back to it each time I had to put it down. Devin’s route to America is depicted so colourfully that I was completely engrossed. I was disappointed when his section ended; I wanted to carry on reading about him. I liked the next part, about Dillon’s adventures in ‘Wild West’ Wyoming, but, although the book continued to be well-written, admirably researched, and flowed so well, I was less convinced by Dillon as a character.
My interested was piqued again by the start of David’s section – I loved reading about the spoilt, self-centred young man who cared nothing for his family or the struggles lived through by his father and grandfather. His first experiences as the Depression hit kept me engrossed, too, but after he changed his way of thinking, I became less convinced by him. I think what I was not so keen on was the way in which Dillon and David kept bumping into strangers, on the road and in bars, and everywhere else, who offered them the chance to change their lives for the better. Devin’s life seemed more realistic, whereas Dillon and David appeared to fall into one piece of great luck after another. I was also less keen on David’s section because so much of it was dialogue-led, which is not a preference of mine; this is not a criticism, just a personal preference.
Despite the aspects about which I wasn’t so sure, it’s a most entertaining book. I think it has real value as a fictional history of America the period between 1846 – the 1930s, even if I felt some of it was rushed through; there is a lot of material for one novel. Mr Joyce can certainly write; I have just downloaded another of his books, Resolution. I was also impressed by how he wrote Devin and David in the third person, but Dillon in the first; this was absolutely the right choice, and a clever one.
I’d most certainly recommend this novel for lovers of family sagas through the ages, particularly if you have an interest in American history.
In this compelling, richly researched novel, author Andrew Joyce tells a story of determination and grit as the Mahoney clan fights to gain a foothold in America. From the first page to the last, fans of Edward Rutherfurd and W. Michael Gear will enjoy this riveting, historically accurate tale of adventure, endurance, and hope.
In the second year of an Gorta Mhór—the Great Famine—nineteen-year-old Devin Mahoney lies on the dirt floor of his small, dark cabin. He has not eaten in five days. His only hope of survival is to get to America, the land of milk and honey. After surviving disease and storms at sea that decimate crew and passengers alike, Devin’s ship limps into New York Harbor three days before Christmas, 1849. Thus starts an epic journey that will take him and his descendants through one hundred and fourteen years of American history, including the Civil War, the Wild West, and the Great Depression.