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The Inheritance (Secrets of the Shetlands)…
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The Inheritance (Secrets of the Shetlands)

by Michael Phillips

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Like Davis Bunn a.k.a. Thomas Locke I have been reading Michael Phillips' books since my early teen years and Phillips has always been a favorite author of mine. Unfortunately, I haven’t picked up one of his novels in a very long time and that is to my detriment. Phillips has a quality that I honestly cannot explain. I have felt this way about his books since I was a teen. As a book reviewer I know it isn’t very helpful that I can't name or even really explain what that quality is. Sorry about that! The closest that I can get to an explanation is that his characters are more thoughtful, more fully understandable, deeper and richer than the norm. In the books description Phillips is called a master storyteller. That sums it up. Do you feel the same way about his books? Can you explain it?

A great part of the joy of reading for me is learning new things. The Inheritance introduced me to the Shetland Islands, an area of Scotland that I am unfamiliar with. It was interesting to learn of the joint Scottish and Norse heritage in the Shetlands. Michael Phillips also introduced me to the song Leaving Lerwick Harbour. It is beautiful. A bit haunting yet peaceful.

The Inheritance is a story of clashing times and forces. History verses modernity. Selflessness verses selfishness. Self-understanding verses a lack of identity. Kindness verses unkindness. There is a moment towards the end when mysteries and events are converging. Following is a quote describing the Whale’s Reef church steeple.

"In a location such as this, where sea mists, driving rains, and incessant winds were the norm, a steeple must be strongly anchored to keep from being battered to bits. This one was. It had survived, with repairs, for three centuries. Its topmost spire, however, was often shrouded in fog or slanting torrents, thus providing an even more fitting symbol of that unknowable and veiled Presence to whom it pointed. Its disappearance into the nebulous unseen heavens, even if only fifty feet above the ground, created a numinous aura of mystery in keeping with its avowed purpose."

The quote speaks to the essence of the book. History, heritage, respect, and most importantly reverence of God are valuable and worth seeking and sharing.

My favorite character in The Inheritance wins by a landslide. He is a chauffeur by trade and a minister by calling named Dickie Sinclair. Dickie is colorful, truthful, and wise. He has a short part but his impact is long-lasting.

Phillips paints beautiful scenery. His descriptions of the Shetland Islands and the community of Whales Reef in particular are very detailed and lovely. He shows the value and an understanding of the culture and history of the island. The Inheritance extolls the blessings to be found in a families heritage that I find distinctly lacking in America. I know that I am much the poorer for it.

The Inheritance is definitely not a stand alone book. I love the story but the ending was abrupt. As was intended you are left waiting impatiently for book two. Fortunately the sequel, The Cottage, releases this October.

I received a review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. My thanks to the author and publisher.

For all of my reviews visit my blog at http://www.blessedandbewildered.com ( )
  ZoeSchoppa | Aug 25, 2016 |
Title: The Inheritance (Secrets of the Shetlands #1)
Author: Michael Phillips
Pages: 432
Year: 2016
Publisher: Bethany
My rating is 5+ stars.
Many undertake to share stories with people through writing novels with various points of view, themes, and different genres. Few books are able to touch the soul of a reader deeply; perhaps a few will still be remembered for a long time. Books take the audience to all sorts of places, on adventures and beg the reader to release the mind’s ability to “imagine”.
In a way that I haven’t come across in many books, both fiction and nonfiction, Michael Phillips shares a very heart-gripping tale. At first I wrestled with some of the language spoken by characters on Shetland Island, even though the author wrote it with more of an English dialect. I am not gifted in languages, even English, so it is a blessing to have a friend who edits my reviews! Part of the story takes place on the island or the mainland; other parts take place in America.
What struck me hardest was the more I read, the deeper the story went to encompass more themes and characteristics. At first it seemed there was a hint of something special in the story with the Prologue, then the sense of mystery came out of nowhere as an added pull to keep reading. It is a rich, historical piece of fiction to be sure; yet, don’t be surprised to see aspects and themes such as ancestors, treasures, love, tension and more.
Faith is one of the themes that shows up later in the book, and I am sure you will understand why when you sit to enjoy the novel. Personally, I eagerly await the sequel to book one as the story continues and perhaps to a third installment. The chapters are very short which moves the story along at an engaging pace without losing readers. The plot is complex, the characters intriguing and there are a multitude of themes. However, there is a richness to the novel that will definitely leave an imprint on the heart and mind of readers for a long time as there is a message that can be understood and practiced in anyone’s life if they so choose to do so.
To me this is the best of Michael Phillips that I have read and thoroughly loved in a long time, and I hope you will enjoy the book too!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” ( )
  lcjohnson1988 | May 6, 2016 |
I was really excited when I was offered the chance to review The Inheritance by Michael Phillips. This novel looked exactly like books that I enjoy most — multi-generational, interesting setting, complex characterization and written by an author known for literary excellence. Then . . . I started hearing a buzz of negative reviews. Note to self: don’t read reviews! Just kidding! However, I did face the reading of this book with trepidation. But from the first page I was captivated. Phillips’ prose is lyrical, his characters are compelling, the setting is magnificent. I loved The Inheritance!

Whales Reef is a remote island in the already remote Shetland Islands. Fierce winds and waves create a daunting landscape for the hardy people that cling to tradition, both Celtic and Norse. Survival is always tenuous, but with the death of the laird, the future for the citizens of Whales Reef and the Tulloch Clan is in doubt. With greedy North Sea oilmen, feuding cousins and an unknown American claimant to the inheritance, uncertainty abounds and a rich heritage may come to an end.

The Inheritance has a complex structure — multiple settings, multiple time periods and multiple characters’ perspectives. And while a little daunting to a reader expecting to breeze through the novel, it provided this reader a rich reading experience. Phillips is a master at conveying the people and place of The Shetlands. I could almost feel the mist on my face and the smell of the sea in the air. His writing is a bit dense, but I found myself lost in David’s rambles across the island of Whales Reef. And while it took some time to get used to the patois of the native speech, I got the hang of it and enjoyed the local flavor. Characterization is strong. I loved David’s strong sense of duty to his people and his home. Loni struggles with identity and a yearning for a family. The villains of the novel were easy to dislike, but also are well-drawn. Dependence on a sovereign God is an underlying theme.

The Inheritance is just the first book in a planned series. A lot is accomplished in the story, but there is so much more to come. I eagerly await revisiting Whales Reef.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Bethany House and LitFuse for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.) ( )
  vintagebeckie | May 6, 2016 |
I have not read any of Michael Phillips' books and the synopsis alone of The Inheritance had me intrigued. As you explore through the novel, you are introduced to the past and the present, and what it means for the future. I won't repeat what the synopsis shared, but I will say that this first book in the Secrets of the Shetlands acts merely as an introduction to what will come and become of the community and the Tulloch family, which I presume to be in the upcoming novels to the rest of the series. What I did enjoy was the depth and complexity of development of the characters. The author's use of descriptive words and native dialogues presents a beautiful landscape of Whales, the community and what we can expect. With that said, the pace may be slow for some and it is only until towards the end do we feel any major anticipation, yet not fully climatic. With an introduction as such, I believe the next novels will pick up in pace and give us a better grasp on the dynamics of the family, Loni and the community. If you're looking for a strong, or rather an obvious Christian message, I would say it's not as pronounced. The theme of belonging and strength of character will satisfy those seeking for something more, and even though, it's an anti-climatic cliffhanger, the end of this novel gives the impression of hope. Give this a try and enjoy its abundance of history and human emotions.

This review first appeared on my link text.

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity Tours for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page. ( )
  justcommonly | Apr 29, 2016 |
Review of The Inheritance by Michael Phillips
From Bethany House Publishers:
The death of clan patriarch Macgregor Tulloch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed Tulloch's heir to be his much-loved grandnephew David. But when no will is discovered, David's calculating cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island's land. And Hardy knows a North Sea oil investor who will pay dearly for that control.

While the competing claims are investigated, the courts have frozen the estate's assets, leaving many of the locals in dire financial straits. The future of the island--and its traditional way of life--hangs in the balance.

Meanwhile, Loni Ford enjoys a rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, D.C. Yet, in spite of outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is, until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .

Past and present collide in master storyteller Michael Phillips' dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace
--------------------------------------------------​

THE AUTHOR
Michael Phillips
Leona's Review:

This is my first read by Michael Phillips and I look forward to the other books in this series.
The major characters are David Tulloch and Alonnah Ford who prefers to be called Loni.
The Scottish dialect is used through out the book and I rather liked it; it helped bring the book right to Scotland. Words like dinna, ken, ye, aboot, canna and nae.
The novel begins in June 1924, then late Summer 2005, November 2005, Winter 2005-2006, Summer 2006, July 2006, October 1953 and ends with July 2006.
The book goes back and forth between the Scottish characters and the United States' characters but flows smoothly.
The book is dedicated to Patrick Jeremy Phillips.
There is a map of Whales Reef, Shetland Islands, in the front of the book as well as the Tulloch Clan Family Tree.
I found it an interesting and easy read.
I received a complimentary copy of The Inheritance by Michael Phillips to read and review from Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group. The opinions are my own.
More information about Michael Phillips at
http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntk=author&Ntt=Michae... Phillips
and also
https://www.facebook.com/michaelphillipschristianauthor

I will give this a 5 star rating because of the history and clean book.
Leona Olson
http://www.mnleona.blogspot.com ( )
  mnleona | Apr 28, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0764217488, Paperback)

Dramatic New Series from Fan Favorite Michael Phillips

The death of the clan patriarch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whale's Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed MacGregor Tulloch's heir to be his grand-nephew David, a local favorite, but when it is discovered that MacGregor left no will, David's grasping cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island's land. And while Hardy doesn't enjoy much popular support, he has the backing of a shadowy group of North Sea oil investors. The courts have frozen the estate's assets while the competing claims are investigated, leaving many of the residents in financial limbo. The future of the island--and its traditional way of life--hangs in the balance.

Loni Ford is enjoying her rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, DC. Yet in spite of her outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her paternal grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .

Past and present collide in master storyteller Phillips's dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace, and of the dreams of men and women everywhere.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 03 Aug 2015 13:58:44 -0400)

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