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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars

on 5 August 2013
I hadn't read the first in this series but this story was such that it wasn't essential. I liked the setting, the characters and the ups and downs of the 'journey'.

I'm not sure if the all the language was suitable for the time or that it was historically accurate, but on the whole, it was written well and easily drew me along for the ride.

The tale involves superstition, secrets, difference and the importance of knowledge and what can be done with it, and I liked Niamh's calm and sensible way of dealing with the terrible situations in which she finds herself, developing a strong female lead - stronger than those that think battle is the only way to live.

Altogether a very good read.
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on 4 December 2013
"Niamh of the Golden Hair" is just one of those novels where I really wanted to give a better score. Hell, it deserves a better score. The story is flowing and occasionally brilliantly beautiful, the main characters are engaging, and there is just enough mystery and magic to keep the reader guessing. Unfortunately, this a novel that just cannot fully escape some pretty large flaws, most of which are strangely completely fixable.

First, the good. The writing is beautiful. It flows in a way that harkens to the style of the old, which fits perfectly with the tone of the tale. This is not your average sword/fantasy novel, full of dashing young heroes and huge stakes. In many ways, it's better than that. It takes its time when needed, but never does it feel like it's stretching the plot on purpose. In fact, there are many points in the novel where though not much is happening plotwise the words themselves feel fast and efficient, lingering just long enough in the reader's mind to satisfy without overstaying its welcome. Likewise, the main characters are written very well. They are three dimensional characters who learn and change as time goes on, and though they definitely do not face the same problems we do, one can't help but relate to them.

Unfortunately, this level of skill Michele displays just make the mistakes all the more glaring. There is the occasional grammatical error that sometimes stands jarringly out of place, if only because the rest of the surrounding sentences are crafted so perfectly. More troubling are a couple of minor continuity errors that can throw off the reader if he/she is not paying attention. Also, while the main characters are fully developed, some of the minor characters suffer from shaky characterization. Finally, there were just some very minor plot points that felt unnecessary or undeveloped.

In the end, though there were some mistakes that could not be glanced over, I found myself enjoying the adventure Michele spins in her novel. What I believe is a testament to her skill as a writer is that it wasn't until after I had finished the novel that I learned it was actually a sequel to another book. Nowhere as I was reading did I feel that I was missing information. I think that with a little more polish, Michele could begin to craft true masterpieces, and I'm eager to see what else she has to offer.
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on 29 June 2013
Having thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, I was really looking forward to the sequel and Niamh of the Golden Hair didn't disappoint. The atmosphere conjured up by the skilful writing of Michele McGrath once again transported me back to the dark and dangerous times of the 9th century Viking raids on the Isle of Man. We meet the protagonist, Niamh, right at the beginning of the story and are immediately drawn into her world, witnessing almost at first-hand her thoughts and emotions. Promised in marriage to a stranger, the apprehensive young girl sets off on a journey into the unknown, far from all that is familiar to her and we know that her life will never be the same again. She experiences terrible things along the way, but ultimately finds love in the most unlikely circumstances and from there ends up embarking on a gruelling quest which she could never have anticipated - the search for her long-lost father, the mysterious healer McLir, known as Manannan. This is a compelling read, as we follow Niamh through all her trials and tribulations, watching her grow in courage and determination, until she finally achieves her goal.
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on 10 November 2013
Niamh of the Golden Hair was recommended to me. This is the first book I have read by this author and would certainly like to read more. The novel is well written and researched. I thought the prose flowed well and there was just enough tension to keep me interested. The book stood on its own as I haven't read the first book of the trilogy as yet. Historical novels of any period are not my preferred reading or interest but I did find that I was transported back in time to that far away and violent era of Viking raids and isolated Celtic communities who lived in the shadow, one assumes, of that constant fear.
Niamh's character is reasonably portrayed. Herself an outcast in her own community, she eventually finds happiness with the Norseman, Olaf and subsequently discovers the secrets of her own life when she is reunited with her magician father, McLir. I was sometimes confused with the number of characters and names but that didn't alter my overall enjoyment of this entertaining piece of fiction.
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on 25 June 2013
If you've read my review of "Mannanan's Magic", you'll know how much I enjoy Michele's writing. Her stories are well thought out and this one has some very unexpected twists. You're heart goes out to the main character, Niamh. You'll find this mousy character who, at the beginning of the story, attempts to blend in with the scenery to avoid notice (very typical of woman and children who are abused). By the end of the story, she shows great strength of character. There was much more suspense in this story as well.

I also particularly enjoyed the subtle nuances that flowed between the two story lines. Like her father before her, Niamh is blessed with the gift of sight. Based on her visions, we know that she will learn from her father the gift of healing. How she learns it brings an unexpected twist...and I'm guessing will lead to the third book which will be the story of McLir's granddaughter (Niamh's daughter).

I would recommend this book.
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on 27 June 2013
After reading Manannan's Magic, I thoroughly enjoyed the sequel, Niamh of the Golden Hair. Once again, the author transports the reader back to a shadowy period when Viking raids added to the woes of isolated communities of Celts and Britons in the islands of the West. Niamh, whom we learn early on is connected with the mysterious Son of Lir, is almost an outcast in her village because of this. A life of misery seems certain when she's sent off on horseback to become the young bride of an elderly tribal chief, but loss of memory following an accident alters her course and destiny. This is a very human tale of courage and of love, a story of conflict within small communities and loyalty and of one woman's determination never to give in. The characters are beautifully drawn and the writer's attention to detail allows the reader to breathe in the air and hear the sounds of the Isle of Man at the time of the Vikings.
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on 4 November 2013
Niamh of the Golden is a very great read. The book was made more enjoyable by how descriptive the author was. I enjoyed reading about the lands through which the character travelled and I was very impressed by the author's knowledge of sailing; all of which helped me visualize the author's words. The book did not move slow and the drama was slight but kept my attention with every page turn. I've read other reviews of this book and found that this is part of a series. I was very pleasently surprised that this book could easily be a stand alone as the storyline feeled to be independent from its trilogy.
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on 10 November 2013
A disappointing follow up to the 1st book. it started well with Niamh's early life but then the story didn't stack up
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on 27 January 2014
Enjoyable novel, based on Irish legend. It is the story of Niamh who is brought up unwanted and unloved only to be betrothed to an old chieftain she has never met, by a family that can't wait to get rid of her. Her discovery of the reasons she was treated this way and the way she uses this to help build her future make an interesting read.
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on 20 January 2014
Loved this story. It carries you along with it making it very hard to put down. I look forward to more tales from this talented lady.
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