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on July 11, 2013
This is part historical fiction, part contemporary chicklit, and I felt the former worked better than the latter. Grania is a Scottish-born sculptor who has left her boyfriend Matt and their NYC life after a personal crises (I don't want to give anything away by being too specific.) She returns to her parents in Scotland, and quickly meets a mysterious young girl from a neighboring estate. Her mother is alarmed and tells her there is a long, painful history between their 2 families. From that point on, the story moves back and forth between a telling of this history, and the contemporary story, both narrated by the little girl.

The historical sections of the story worked well for me, particularly a section in London during and after WWI. It has a very Downton Abby feel to it, and the characters in this part were the most well-written and believable. The contemporary story was a real problem for me though. The plot is absurd, propelled forward through miscommunications and coincidences that were just too contrived for my taste. In addition, the dialogue between the NYC characters, and between Matt and Grania, felt very fake - she just could not nail their tone or wording at all (Matt says `real' and `sure' and `buddy' a lot, as in `I am real sorry Grania' or `That is a real shame buddy') - know any 30-something New Yorkers who talk like that?)

The Scottish setting is beautiful however, so there were definitely many parts of this novel I enjoyed, and I wasn't bored with it. So it's a good read if you like both historical fiction and relationship oriented fiction, but expect some dissonance in the contemporary sections.
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on December 16, 2012
The plot for this book was very interesting. Riley did and excelent job tying together the women of the past and present. It was done in a fluid way and I did not feel the need to keep on giong back and forth to see who she was talking about. The only thing that bothered me was the conversations between Grania and her boyfriend. Something about the way that the dialouge was written was grating, and did not flow well. Other than that is was a good quick read.
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on December 19, 2012
I had never read anything by this author, although I knew her book THE ORCHID HOUSE had sold over a million copies. I must say, if this is a representative example of her work, I don' know why. Girl on the Cliff had a very weak story line. The premise for the main character fleeing from New York to Ireland because of a miscarriage, compounded with her dislike of the boyfriend's parents never really held water. The alternate flashback story was also confusing and unresolved. The maid /mother Mary's relationship with her fiancé early in the book was very clumsily handled . Why go into all that detail and then kill him off, without really resolving his possible reappearance in the story. Later why is the daughter ballerina Anna estranged from Mary. The reader never knows. Mary's husband's suicide is also not very convincing. Then the title itself is confusing which girl is the one on the cliff? We have a lot happening, but the motivations for The characters'actions is very muddled.
When the reader returns to the present ,Grania's relationship with Auorora and her father is also totally unrealistic. A woman grieving for a lost child might take up with another , but her involvement with the father conveniently dying of cancer when Moira had just two months before sworn off men was not very believable either. Then there is the boyfriend's alternative relationship in New York. Although in some ways that he took up with a former girlfriend is more believeable than GRANIA's with Aurora's father. I also found the scenario of a nine year old flying on an overseas flight without any real documentation pretty unbelievable . Lastly at the end of the story, the mysterious suitcase that had reappeared any number of times in the plot again leaves the reader with no real idea about who Anna and her parents were. We are left with some weak and undeveloped lead that the mother was a famous ballerina (who?) and the father maybe a equally veiled member of the Russian imperial family. A little research by the author could have made this an interesting finale for the novel. Also why kill off Aurora ? I guess Riley was tying up some more unbelievable loose ends.
Finally, if the author is going to make the main character a sculptor who works in bronze, find out how the process works to create a bronze sculpture from a clay model. One does not "dip" the clay in bronze as GRANIA claims. The clay piece would collapse . A plaster cast or a sand cast is made of the the clay and then the piece is cast from the mold.
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on January 14, 2013
I am not sure if I liked or disliked this book....
Elements of a great story were definitely there; how the past repeats itself, the things people will do for children, love and pride.
The book jumps across 4 generations of 2 families, although the main story line follows Grania: a 30 something New York sculptor who has a miscarriage and leaves her boyfriend to go home to Ireland to wallow. We dont know why she leaves until the last quarter of the book and it was not worth the wait.
The book is told from many perspectives and there is a lot going on, just when you start to get into one of the stories it switches and to me if felt like Lucinda Riley was trying to cover too many things in one book.
I found people died conveniently all over the place, characters were introduced in detail and then forgotten for the rest of the book. The elements that would have made this book really good were skimmed over and almost handled flippantly.
The parts of the book that are written by "the girl on the cliff" Aurora were annoying and confused and I found that the way her inserts were used as leads into different stories was an unnecessary addition. For example Grania is given some old letters to read from her mother that her grandmother wrote, but we do not get to read the letters, instead Aurora retells the story. Little things like that grated me a bit and so for me the "letters" were not needed and Grania could have heard the story from her mother...or the book could have just been split into dated sections like other books.

I enjoyed the book in that I finished reading it - but it did not keep me up at night turning pages but I would not read another Lucinda Riley book nor would I recommend it to anyone who is after anything more than a beach read.
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on February 10, 2013
Not suspenseful or mysterious, but ok in the romantic story line, though the enjoyable part for me was the description of the countryside. The flipping back in forth in time has gotten old and is not done very well by this writer..
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on March 29, 2013
I read 80 pages and literally threw this book aside in disgust. I had high hopes but it is so poorly written, I couldn't read another word. The dialogue is trite, the grammar is atrocious and the story dragged. I should have paid more attention to the reviews, particularly the negative ones. Don't waste your time, or your money for that matter, on this book!
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VINE VOICEon September 18, 2013
The ties that bind can sometimes become knotted and only in the careful act of untangling can we set ourselves free. With settings in New York, the rugged coast of Ireland, and London, both in Edwardian times and the present, this enchanting story sweeps us through generations of two families whose lives intertwine rather tragically until the knot is loosened by 'the girl on the cliff'. The touches of Irish 'feyness' that permeate the narrative keep the magic alive!
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on April 4, 2013
Bought this for my iPad prior to a trip to Ireland but didn't read it til I got back. The only reason I gave it 2 stars is b/c it is evocative of the beautiful west coast of Ireland. I felt that the characters were flat, one dimensional, predictable and that the plot was silly, predictable, and unbelievable. If you are interested in an escapist, gothic style novel, try Kate Morton. Her novels are many levels above, both in character development and plot, as well as quality of writing. Also, Americans do NOT say, "Hon, I'm real sorry" or use "real" instead of "really" all the time, or say "how's it hanging?" Especially when addressing a woman?! Where was the editing? The way they made the Amricans talk was completely annoying and ridiculous! Not a fan!
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on March 5, 2014
Riley tells a good story, but this is not as good as <I>The Orchid House</I> or <I>The Lavender Garden.</I> The book takes much too long to explain why the protagonist, Grania, left her lover, Matt, in New York to return to Ireland, undermining the strength of her character. I did not like the "frame," where the older Aurora, who as a little girl is central to the story, addresses the reader directly--sometimes this technique works, but it seemed distracting here. One two-page entry describing "the most beautiful man [Grania had] ever met" and then his self-introduction as "Alexander Devonshire" was so romance-novel stereotypical that I read it aloud to my long-suffering husband and laughed about it. Most distressing (almost comical) is the author's take on how Americans speak (repeated instances of "How's it hanging?" and using "real" as an intensifier, as in "she'll be real mad," among other things), which makes the book seem inaccurate and dated. The end and denouement seemed less well-written and edited than the rest of the book, which was also true of <I>The Orchid House.</I> Nevertheless, it's a good yarn. The descriptions of Ireland are lovely and the intertwining of different time periods is one of Riley's great strengths. If you liked Riley's other two books, you'll probably like this one, in spite of its faults--I did.
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on December 7, 2013
The author drags out a story line that doesn't make sense and she has clearly not researched American slang. Her characters say things in odd and, as another reviewer noted, inappropriate ways and at inappropriate times. While I understood what she was trying to say, it just drove me nuts to read something written that way and it was quite distracting. I honestly could care less what happens to these characters (especially the main character who seems impossibly stubborn, stupid, and immature) and put the book down about halfway through. I do not recommend this book at all.
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