Whispers in the Canyon by @AuthorGMacShane is a Celebrate Weddings pick #historicalfiction #giveaway
Title: WHISPERS IN THE CANYON
Author: GIFFORD MacSHANE
Genre: ADULT HISTORICAL FICTION
A young woman’s survival depends on the man who shot her brother.
1880s Arizona: When Jesse Travers inherits a bankrupt ranch, only one man wants to help her save it―Adam Donovan, the man who killed her brother. With a deep love for her canyon home and no one else to turn to, Jesse reluctantly accepts Donovan's help.
Fighting the aftermath of years of abuse at her brother's hands, Jesse begins to trust Donovan and feels the first stirrings of love. But her quest for happiness may be short-lived when she discovers that her brother's treachery has consequences that reach beyond the grave and could rip the new life she's building to shreds.
This novel deals with a murder, and with physical and sexual abuse, both of which occur before the story opens. They are presented without graphic violence, and treated with respect and empathy for the victims and/or survivors, and no sympathy or excuses for the transgressors. The book explores the effects of abuse and murder not only for the victims, but for those who love them.
From the porch, Evelyn could see the tip of Adam’s cigarette flare against the dusk. He was undeniably her favorite brother—the cowboy with the poet’s soul. And why not? How many times have we heard of the soldier-poets of Ireland? If a soldier can be a poet, certainly a cowboy can.
She could often read his mind and knew it wasn’t guilt that plagued him. Yes, he’d killed a man, but he’d only done what needed to be done. Yet his understanding of human suffering went deep, and he hadn’t said a word about his meeting with the dead man’s family.
She crossed the wide yard, the new grass lush underfoot. She stopped to admire a cluster of daffodils, to encourage the tulips that were about to pop. At the corral, Adam was hand-feeding his stallion, whose name was “Apples”, the baby Irene’s abortive attempt at “appaloosa”. Evelyn put her arm around his waist and quipped, “Apples to Apples.”
He gave the nuzzling horse one last piece of fruit, took his cigarette from his mouth and crushed it beneath his bootheel. The lop-sided smile he gave her didn’t reach his eyes.
“And dust to dust.” Resting a hand on her shoulder, he leaned against the fence. “We’ve been wrong, Evie, and I don’t know what to do about it.”
“What have we done?”
“It’s what we haven’t done. What we haven’t even tried to do.” His voice was sad in the gathering darkness, and the unmistakable flavor of Ireland wove faintly through his words.
Evelyn waited silently, knowing the chaos in his mind would find order and expression in her patience.
“Do you remember when we moved out here from Texas?” he asked.
“Of course. I was just a kid, but I remember the trails and the covered wagon we had, and the storms. That beautiful desert, and the smell of mesquite burning in the campfires. It was a wonderful trip―I felt like Aladdin and the genie combined.”
He gave her shoulder a squeeze, rolled and lit another cigarette before continuing. “It was a wonderful trip, but I remember why we moved. I was fourteen and determined to join the fight. I didn’t care about slavery, about right or wrong. I just wanted to prove myself. To show I could fight like a man.” He uttered a short laugh. “Like a man, my god! Like an idiot! I remember the last night we packed up―I was crying like a baby because I couldn’t go and fight.
“All night long, Dad explained things to me. He said a man can’t fight his brother―can’t fight his neighbor. He said I was my brother’s keeper, just like the Bible says. He said without a family, a man has nothing. And without being a good neighbor, a man is nothing. That’s why he left Ireland, he said, because the men he knew thought nothing of letting people starve to death, as long as they could make a profit.
“The Travers’ have been here, what, six or seven years? We’ve never once offered neighborly comfort. We’ve failed, Evie. And I think it may be too late to do anything about it.”
“What needs to be done?”
“Everything. The cabin needs a roof, the corral has fallen down. There’s not even a barn to speak of, just a little shed.
“There’s something else, too.” His blue eyes darkened and his voice dropped into a lower register. “I think everyone’s wrong about her. I don’t know why... there’s something... She’s so young, so small. She can’t weigh more than a wet kitten.” He scowled out at the night. “She didn’t even try to use her rifle, but we’re supposed to believe... hell, we’ve all believed she killed a Texas Ranger. I don’t see how it can be true. And if that isn’t true, how can we put credence in anything else we’ve heard? Why haven’t we ever checked it out―seen for ourselves?
“I’m just so sure we’ve been wrong. I need to do something and I don’t even know if she’ll let me. God knows I couldn’t blame her...”
“We have to try,” Evelyn said. “Up to now, we’ve been thoughtless. It’s hard to imagine someone having so little in the way of family when we have so much. But if we don’t try to help now, then we will be wrong.”
“Will you help me?”
“You know I will, Adam. You know everyone will.”
“But it’s you I need.”
“Just tell me what to do.”
“Tomorrow, Brian and I will go to town and bring the body back for burial. I think it might help her to have another woman around.”
“Count on me.”
He hugged her tightly. “Eibhlin mavourneen, you’re the love of my life.” He chucked her under the chin as she grinned up at him.
“Someday you’ll regret those words,” she warned. But he laughed, tucked her arm under his, and strolled with her to the house.
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Deceptively simple and poetic, this heartfelt western historical romance will tug at your emotions, make you laugh, cry, and even get a little angry, as it handles difficult topics with a sensitive touch.
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Gifford MacShane is the author of historical fiction that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. Her novels feature a family of Irish immigrants who settle in the Arizona Territory in the late 1800s. With an accessible literary style, MacShane draws out her characters' hidden flaws and strengths as they grapple with both physical and emotional conflicts. Singing almost before she could talk, MacShane has always loved folk music, whether it be Irish, Appalachian, spirituals, or the songs of the cowboys. Her love of the Old West goes back to childhood, when her father introduced her to the works of Zane Grey. Later she became interested in the Irish diaspora, having realized her father's family must have lived through An Gorta Mor, the Great Irish Potato Famine of the mid-1800s. Writing allows her to combine her three great interests into a series of family stories, each including romance, traditional song lyrics, and a dash of Celtic mysticism. Having grown up in a large & often boisterous Irish-American family, she is intimately acquainted with the workings of such a clan and uses those experiences to good purpose (though no names will be named!) MacShane is a member of the Historical Novel Society. A self-professed grammar nerd who still loves diagramming sentences, Giff currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Richard, the Pied Piper of stray cats.
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GoodReads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19574083.Gifford_MacShane