There is one reason that Lucinda Riley, author of The Girl on the Cliff, is an international bestseller. She writes incredible stories that curl up around your heart and settle down for a stay. I guess you could say that I fell for The Girl on the Cliff.
The narrator begins the book with an introduction of sorts stating, “I am I.” Such a simple statement of fact, it leads to a beautifully written exploration of the need we feel to know unconditional love and understand the past. The narrator continues, “And I think that my story — the story of me and my family, which began almost a hundred years before I was born — is an interesting one.
“I know everyone thinks that about their story too. And it’s true. Every human being has a fascinating existence, with a big cast of good and evil characters in each.
“And almost always, somewhere along the way, magic.”
Aurora Devonshire, an eight year old motherless girl, and Grania Ryan, a thirty-one year old daughterless woman, meet each other on the edge of the cliffs in Ireland in the beginnings of a storm. Both are there mourning someone they have lost, losses that run deep to the very corners of their souls. Little could they imagine how entangled their two family’s history has been for the past one hundred years or how much they will need each other.
This novel is written similar to Kate Morton’s novels with a story within a story. To understand the present Grania and Aurora will have to learn about their mutual past. The past begins in 1914 with Mary and Sean, engaged and eager to marry, when he gets called up to serve in the army. Life changes and the changes just keep on coming. In the present day Grania is dealing with several losses, and it might just take some of that magic the narrator believes in to fix everything.
The book is well written and engaging. I wanted to know how it ended. Specifically, I wanted to know just how the happy ending I expected could possibly resolve itself. There are several happyish endings throughout the book leading to the grand finale. Just like real life, there are high points and low points that only made this story more readable and kept me anxious to know how it would end.
I loved the characters. I found myself identifying with bits and pieces from several characters. I loved the beauty of Aurora’s spirit and her graceful acceptance of the world. I loved the solidity of Grania’s family and their ability to accept and love. I identified with several aspects of Grania, but they’re kind of personal and not really sharable. But isn’t it a great book that helps you with a little personal growth!
The only thing I didn’t like was the occasional sprinkling of bad language throughout the book. I appreciated that there aren’t any bedroom scenes. They would have been as unnecessary as the foul language. It’s a pretty great read, but be prepared for those few icky words here or there.