Cloth of Heaven by BJ Hoff

historical-books-3

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Four Silver Stars

Book cover image courtesy of FictionDB.com

Book cover image courtesy of FictionDB.com

Cloth of Heaven by B.J. Hoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Jack had wondered then, and still wondered, how long it would take–what it would take–before the Irish were accepted instead of despised, respected instead of condemned.
Sometimes he thought it would take an eternity to right the wrongs that had been done to his people.

An unlikely group of people are essentially tied together from across the ocean in the mid-1800s. Prejudice, poverty, and seemingly impossible dreams are only some of the challenges they face in the first installment of an Irish-American saga, Cloth of Heaven by author BJ Hoff.

As I read American Anthem by this author years ago, and I found it absolutely magnificent, I’ve had the Song of Erin books on my shelf for quite a while, purposely putting them off, chiefly for anticipation’s sake.

Heart-wrenching, fittingly dramatic, and ultimately beautiful as this first novel is, I thought it moved at a cumbersome pace in places, redundant in a way, taking the long way around to some of its points. I didn’t really connect with most of the characters until more than halfway through the book–though, excluding maybe one or two of them (who gave me little reason to like or root for them), it might not have been the characters’ fault. It just took a while for the story to click for me, and once it did, it mainly seemed like an extended setup for Book Two.

But, to be fair, it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger or anything, and as I recall, the American Anthem novels are much the same way: not cliffhangers, but not books that could stand the best on their own, either.

Now, I don’t wish to make it sound as if I didn’t enjoy this heart-wrenching, fittingly dramatic, and ultimately beautiful novel, because I did. And I don’t plan on putting off Book Two for long.

“As for me, I decided a long time ago I didn’t want my life to be some old throwaway rag. No, sir, I want my life fashioned right out of the cloth of heaven.”

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Here’s my review of the second Song of Erin novel, Ashes and Lace.

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