What Amazon says
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.
I listened to the audio book of Mahoney, narrated by Michael R.L. Kern. The narrator did a great job with this book and had the right voice and inflections of tone for this particular story.
Mahoney is a fascinating story of the lives of Devin Mahoney, a poverty stricken farming tenant in Ireland who travels to America during the famine, and his son and grandson.
This book is well researched and shares intricate details relating to a variety of contraversial topics including: the lives of the tenant farmers in Ireland during the family and the shocking treatment they received at the hands of their English overlords, the journey by sea of Irish immigrants to America on board the “death ships”, life for the Irish immigrants on their arrival in the “promised land”, the circumstances of the civil war in America, life in the wild west of America for a young man from the East and his journey to becoming a marshal and an incredible fast gun, the life of the wealthy in New York before the Great Depression, the plight of the poor during the Great Depression and the circumstances of African Americans living in the south during the late 1930s and 1940s.
The list above gives a taste of the insights and depth and breath of this wonderful book which I enjoyed tremendously. Although I had some knowledge of most of these periods in history, the level of detail shared in this book, and the way the author wove the history seamlessly into the story, resulted in a great learning experience for me, together with a fantastic and engaging story.
Mahoney is divided into three parts with each part devoted to the development of one generation of the Mahoney family. There are elements of high adventure and romance in each character’s specific tale.
My favourite character was Devin because he was so spirited and determined. He overcame incredible difficulties to travel to America and start a new life there. The revelations about life on board the ships used to transport Irish immigrants to America were an eye opener, as was Devin’s positive attitude and determination to do whatever it took to succeed. He worked hard labouring jobs in order to establish his reputation as a solid and reliable worker and I found that very admirable. I also loved his love interest, Mary, who aside from being beautiful, was also resourceful and hard working. Their romance was sweet and made me feel good.
Dillon also has an amazing life but there were some things about his character that were a bit unfortunate in the long run. This didn’t make him less interesting and enjoyable as a main character but it did set the scene for his son, the third generation.
It is often said the the first generation builds everything and the third generation destroys it and, initially, this would seem to be the case in this book. David Mahoney, however, evolves into a most unusual and dedicated man and his story is also unusual and revealing about certain aspects of life in America.
This book is well written and highly entertaining. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys history and books about human drama, with a touch of romance thrown in for good measure.