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Song Of The Silent Harp (Emerald Ballad #1)

4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  432 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Nora Kavanagh, left a widow by the Irish Potato Famine, turns for help to rebel Morgan Fitzgerald, who arranges for her and her son to make a dangerous voyage to New York.
Paperback, 412 pages
Published March 1st 1991 by Bethany House Publishers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 810)
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Tara Thompson carter
Jun 16, 2014 Tara Thompson carter rated it it was amazing
This book and the others in the series was extremely hard to put down once reading. I love the details it gave and the history. I learned so much through these books and couldn't have otherwise if so much detail hadn't been given. After reading this series I tried another by a different author and I couldn't get past the 5th chapter. It lacked the detail and authorship of BJ Hoff's books. I'm currently reading "American Anthem" and while it's not as great as "The Silent Harp", it's still hard to ...more
Just arrived from USA through BM.

I couldn't finish it, I really tried hard but definetily christian historical fiction is not my cup of tea.
Sep 12, 2010 Wyndy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story of The Hunger, the Irish famine of the 1800's. The author has accomplished an amazing and detailed research of the famine in Ireland. The book is laden with the visual horrors of the famine, the hopelessness, the slow dying from starvation, the indifference of the landowners, and the entitled belief of some of the English that the Irish were simply of no account and less than human. The story is of 3 friends from a poor village in Western Ireland, 2 boys and a girl. Michael leaves for ...more
Sep 14, 2011 Jael rated it really liked it
I have always felt, and I still do, that "Song of the Silent Harp" could stand alone. Of the five books in this series, it's really the only one where romance and the typical formulae for Christian fiction seem to have been mostly ignored. It doesn't need the following four books to remain a good book in its own right, and it really is a very good story and is, I feel, pretty original for the genre.

Not like I'm widely read in Christian fiction, but I do know most of it makes me hurl.

It's always
Sep 13, 2010 Molly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy a slower paced book
Recommended to Molly by: FIRST
BJ Hoff is a superbly talented author. I've read her works in the past and loved them, however, I can't say that about Song of the Silent Harp. Please don't misunderstand me, by the end of the book, I was able to say that it was well written and I could that pull to the sweet characters of Nora and Michael, Daniel and Teirney, and even Evan. My problem with this story is this: it was a VERY slow start. It took me well over halfway through the book to became fully engage in the story.

This story l
Dec 02, 2010 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a rather hard book to rate. It tended to be very wordy - The first 50 pages was lengthy background information about four of the main characters in the book, which took some time getting through before the story plot really began to unfold. But even though the book was a wordy and had a lot of information (that was often unnecessary), I still enjoyed reading about Nora and her life. So, I'm going to give this book 3 stars for a good story.

My favorite character to read about was Dan
Clockstein Lockstein
Song of the Silent Harp by B.J. Hoff is the first book in the Emerald Ballard series. Nora Kavanagh is struggling to survive in the days of the Irish potato famine living in Killala in County Mayo. She's already faced the death of her husband and young daughter from the Hunger, and now her eldest son. Morgan Fitzgerald, known as the bandit, Red Wolf, has been in love with Nora since they were children, but his love for his beloved Eire has always been stronger. He's been taking care of Nora as b ...more
Julia Reffner
The Song of the Silent Harp by B.J. Hoff
Emerald Ballad Series #1

My rating: 3/5

I chose to read this book because I am quite interested in Irish history as a person of Irish descent. In particular, I had never read any fiction set around the potato famine so I decided to give this series a try Hoff does an excellent job of incorporating history. I learned much about the era from reading this book. I would love to see more CBA books set in Ireland.

Song of the Silent Harp is also a story of the glor
Diane  Holm
Apr 13, 2011 Diane Holm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love is the power that moves us when there is nothing left...

The famine grew to epic proportions when the potato crops failed again and again. Starving, sick and weak, the people of Ireland faced certain death. The roadside, strewn with bodies of young and old, was a horrid site. When hope of survival is lost, where can you turn?

BJ Hope has crated an unforgettable tail entwined around these perilous times. I found the descriptive writing abundant and easy to visualize. The characters are varied
Aug 29, 2010 Casey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in Ireland in the late 19th century, SONG OF THE SILENT HARP chronicles the story of characters swept together because of the potato famine and the dream of a better life away from the pain of survival.

I was torn on this book. On one half I believe that the love story between Nora and Morgan kept the book going and open for the next book. Their history and the reasons that tore them apart was a valuable part of the story and since I have book two, I am curious to know how they will come toge
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
BJ Hoff has a beautiful, descriptive way of writing that draws you into the story, completely. It's not a bright, happy story. Instead, we see the realities of life in 19th century Ireland, where the English did all they could to destroy the Irish. Michael left Ireland to find his was in America. Nora has lost her husband and daughter to famine and sickness. Morgan is determined that Ireland will not fail. When Nora is at risk of finally losing everything, Morgan manages to get her and Daniel on ...more
Mar 14, 2014 Christin rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel. It grapples with big questions, has a wonderful love story, has adventure, tension, character development. I would think about the characters and what happened next whenever I wasn't reading it. Does it get slow/wordy? A little. But the story! It's so good it doesn't matter. A swashbuckling hero, an age old romance, historical facts galore--so worth it.

I was so excited to read the rest in the series, but sadly, they don't live up to this one.
Fenixbird SandS
Mar 21, 2009 Fenixbird SandS rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Faith Fiction Irish history
Shelves: wanna-buys
1780's I believe was the first Irish potato famine when many Irish-born first set sail for America. Perhaps this is set later--not sure yet. Amongst a "find" of wonderful paperbacks brought into work this week. Dina & I are reading this series. Wonderful, wonderful quotations begin each chapter, from Yeats to Samuel B. Oldham (Dublin 1848).

"Last night we saw the stars arise,
But clouds soon dimmed the ether blue;
And when we sought each other's eyes
Tears dimmed them too!" George Darley (1795-1
Sep 02, 2014 Sierraprice rated it it was amazing
This one of the best books I have ever read. It's very detailed about the struggles in the time period it is set in. I am currently reading the rest of the series to this book, and I love the second one as much as the first.
Mar 26, 2016 Jane rated it really liked it
4.00 stars - rated pg

I'm very slowly going through all my bookshelves and trying to catalogue books bought and read in years gone by. Stars and ratings are mere guesses at this point.
Ann Bock
Jul 06, 2015 Ann Bock rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable book

I very seldom read a book twice but I made an exception for this one. The story kept my interest and I liked the historical background.

Brooke Barenfanger
The Song of the Silent Harp is the first in a series of five. I have to say that the first book is depressing. However, B J Hoff's style of writing is strangely addictive. I didn't enjoy this book as much as the next four. However, this book needed to happen the way it did to set the stage for the rest of the series. This series deals with very adult themes and has great spiritual depth to it. B J Hoff probably won't make you laugh, but she will make you cry and sigh with all the romantic feelin ...more
Jeni Enjaian
A review from my old blog...

I approached this book hesitantly because my most recent experience with a couple of her newest books. I absolutely detested those two books, not that the plots themselves were all that bad but the writing seemed very pedestrian.

I remember while I read those books that I was surprised at the level of writing because I didn't remember that from her other books.

This book reminded me of those previous ones. I absolutely fell in love with the characters even though Hoff b
Pamela Barrett
Sep 13, 2010 Pamela Barrett rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of historical fiction, Christian fiction, adventure novels
This is my 2nd time reading this book. I was looking through some books I recently got from my sister and this series was in the pile. It caught my interest again, and was just as great as it was when I first read it in the 1990's. Fast paced, heart grabbing with characters you root for. Set in Ireland during the Potato Famine it takes you into the center of evil and greed that ravaged the Irish people. In the midst of this despair and spiritual hopelessness a few are called on to make decisions ...more
Tessa Palmeri
Sep 11, 2015 Tessa Palmeri rated it it was amazing
Loved this series. One of the series that made me fall in love with historical fiction.
Apr 30, 2016 Carol added it
Recommends it for: Yes
Recommended to Carol by: teen and up
very good book. loved t. can not wait until the next book BJ Hoff wrtes.
Aug 09, 2015 Carol rated it it was amazing
Very sad story of the potato famine in Ireland. How can so many things go wrong?
Betsy Hoffman
May 24, 2014 Betsy Hoffman rated it it was amazing
Loved it
Judith Mullett
Mar 31, 2012 Judith Mullett rated it it was amazing
This book is so sad when it starts, it was almost hard to read. Being of Irish descent I kept reading to try to understand what my ancestors went through. I did not regret it. I soon fell in love with the very alive characters and could not wait to read the next book in the series. As usual, Hoff hit a home run with this series. The way it weaves back and forth between Ireland and America and makes it come alive with history made me feel like I was living it.
Regina Spiker
First book in the series - The Emerald Ballad - by bestselling inspirational author BJ Hoff. The Kavanaghs are starving along with most families in County Mayo and all of Ireland. Nora has already lost her husband and her 6 year old daughter. Her oldest son is extremely ill and her youngest is targeted by a merciless "rent collector". Is their only hope in traveling to America?
Sandie Mixa
Jan 20, 2010 Sandie Mixa rated it it was amazing
An epic portraying two families and their Irish famine experience and struggle to survive. They finally make it to America. The sequel picks up from there. The characters are compelling and I found this very hard to put down. As well as feeling such empathy for all the Irish who suffered through that time.
Mar 08, 2009 Linda rated it liked it
I liked this book but it was a little dark. It was about a family trying to survive the potato famine in Ireland. A lot of it was very sad but it got better toward the end and I think I will continue to read the rest of the series. Hopefully this family will finally find happiness in America.
An intriguing look at the Irish potato famine, uprising, and emigration to the states. It's astounding what people have had to suffer through! It's surprising how little is actually resolved in this book and yet it is a satisfying read leaving you with hope for what is yet to come.
Judy Benvin
Jul 16, 2011 Judy Benvin rated it it was ok
There have been some good reviews about this book - - - I didn't care much for it. Very dark, very slow paced, choppy character development. I skipped ahead many times and didn't loose much of the story. Only kept reading in the hopes that it would get better - it didn't.
Feb 26, 2013 Lynette rated it really liked it
This is the first book in a series or five. It's the story of the struggles of a family in Ireland when they were under British rule, the plight of hunger misery and death and then finally immigration to save their own lives to America. I'm hooked!
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BJ Hoff’s bestselling historical novels continue to cross the boundaries of religion, language, and culture to capture a worldwide reading audience.

Her books include such popular series as The Riverhaven Years, The Mountain Song Legacy, Song of Erin, American Anthem, and An Emerald Ballad. Hoff’s stories, although set in the past, are always relevant to the present.

Whether her characters move ab
More about B.J. Hoff...

Other Books in the Series

Emerald Ballad (5 books)
  • Heart of the Lonely Exile (Emerald Ballad #2)
  • Land of a Thousand Dreams (Emerald Ballad #3)
  • Sons of an Ancient Glory (Emerald Ballad #4)
  • Dawn of the Golden Promise (Emerald Ballad #5)

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