"A witty, refreshing, and delightfully entertaining story."
-Affaire de Coeur
"Gripping and well-told... an entertaining and thought-provoking story, providing a deeper perspective on the meaning of love, faith and forgiveness."
There are three good reasons why dashing Civil War hero and New York lawyer William Teague cannot tell artist Mae Kendrick he's in love with her. One, she told him he was dull. Two, she is the niece of an important client. Three, she just hired him to find the man she doesn't remember marrying.
As Will unravels this peculiar case, he makes a shocking discovery about Mae's childhood, one that shifts the investigation to the land of her birth-Ireland.
But on the voyage overseas, circumstances become increasingly bizarre. Mae is taunted by ghost-like visions, and Will is pursued by a beautiful stranger who might be trying to kill him. When Mae suddenly vanishes, Will is forced to enter a thin place, an ancient monastic ruin leading to Ireland's Celtic otherworld, in what becomes a race against time to find her. But are Will's war-honed instincts any match for the alluring forces of Irish legend? Can he protect Mae from the apparitions of her past? And just how far beyond the breaking point can secret love be tested?
A captivating tale of mystery and self-discovery, Cliff of the Ruin escorts the reader into a mythical world to explore the ever-hazy lines between romanticism and love, regret and repentance, wishful thinking and hope.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.93(d)|
About the Author
With a BA degree in art and business, Bonnie McKernan started her career as an advertising executive before making the unconventional switch to copywriter years later. Today, she loves writing about all things Irish and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children. Visit her online at bonniemckernan.com.
Read an Excerpt
Cliff of the RuinA Novel
By Bonnie McKernan
Abbott PressCopyright © 2012 Bonnie McKernan
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Veil of Possibility
Tuesday, June 3, 1879, Stillwater, New Jersey
Stepping away from the easel, Mae closed one eye to assess angular features where they converged. She shook her head and muttered, "Not yet."
Mr. Harris's ruffian appearance was not the problem; to the contrary, she was sure anyone who knew the man would say she had captured his essence entirely. But to the trained eye, a subtle discrepancy appeared in the vicinity of his nose, in the planes of his cheeks, or maybe in the shading of visible stubble.
She consulted the preliminary sketches dispersed around her, affirming that her perfection-obsessed abilities had not failed her. Returning to the portrait, she took another step back and absently held the paintbrush to her lips—until an earsplitting clang made her drop it.
"Breakfast!" came the call from outside.
Mae picked up the brush, wiped a smudge of burnt sienna from her boot, and stuck her head out the nearby window to see Margaret's rotund frame under the woodshed bell.
No one responded to the morning call—not Charlotte collecting eggs in the chicken coup, or Aaron milking cows in the barn—so Mae, welcoming the diversion, stepped in. "Bloomin' thing. Sounds like a sick canon!"
As Margaret raised the long handle of the water pump, placing a pail beneath it, she looked up to Mae's second-floor perch. "Would that be the bell or me?" she asked with some disdain.
Mae grabbed a strawberry from a bowl on the drawing table and stuck her head out further. "The bell," she said, taking a bite. "You sound like a sick banshee."
Margaret swung the pail to the left and watered the patch of herbs along the woodshed. "I've warned ye before about speakin' of the shee in me presence, Mae. They don't like bein' talked about, much less used fer jestin'. If ye vex them, they'll hurt ye fer sure!"
Mae laughed. "I appreciate the warning, but vexed fairies are the concern of Irish housekeepers with too much time on their hands. I have much more important matters to address up here."
"The head on ye and the price of turnips!" said Margaret, yanking a wooden spoon from her apron. "Get down this instant, or this here be addressin' yer arse!"
Smirking, Mae pulled her head back inside the window, pleased that her morning had gotten off to such a satisfying start. Her smile died quickly, however, when she saw Mr. Harris's portrait again.
The flaw in the rendering of his face still confounded her, which was a first for the over one hundred paintings she'd completed to date. Squinting at the canvas, she finally identified the mistake. The wrinkle by his nostril was a shade too dark, giving him the appearance of having just whiffed a rotten egg.
Mae knew that fixing it wouldn't be a problem.
Wanting to fix it might be.
* * *
All heads bowed as Aunt Gwen slowly led grace, raising the volume slightly whenever anyone tried to speed it along. Upon "Amen" conversations erupted and finally settled around the weekend's grand festivity: the wedding of Deirdre Frey.
As Margaret set a tray of steaming biscuits on the table, Aunt Gwen picked up the pan of scrambled eggs from the cook-stove and started dishing. "I told Deirdre and her mother we would help with the food. Aaron, you've got to sharpen your axe; we need six hens for savory pies. Mae, you and Charlotte will pick more strawberries for tarts. Margaret, I need you to make the shopping list for the baking. Oh! And for a wedding present, I promised Deirdre some knitting wool," she said, turning back to Aaron. "Have you rounded up the boys for shearing yet?"
"Thursday," said Aaron, stuffing a biscuit into his mouth. "And they're willing to do it for the same price as last year, but this year there's a condition. Niahm and Mae have to serve lunch."
"What?" chirped Mae, spilling the tea she was pouring. "You said no, I hope?"
Aaron laughed. "Why would I do that? Seemed a harmless request."
Charlotte giggled, her little hands pushing another napkin Mae's way. "I like those boys. They're fun!"
"They're blaggards," said Margaret sourly as she passed around the black pudding.
Aaron studied the elder woman's scrunched-up face as he stabbed three black disks and dumped them onto on his plate. "Come now, Margaret, don't get your feelings hurt. They still love you and your cooking. And if it's the attention you'll miss, well"—he smiled wide—"you've still got me."
"And what'd I do fer such a blessin'?" muttered Margaret, taking a seat. Though she still appeared angry, her newly bloomed cheeks revealed that Aaron's charms had worked again.
"Yes, sir," said Aaron, shoveling food into his mouth. "My love spreads around like sunshine." He belched and wiped his chin on his sleeve.
"More like manure," muttered Mae into her teacup.
Aaron flashed a smile. "Isn't it nice to know that, unlike some people, I don't wait for love to come and bite me in the arse?"
"Aaron Kendrick!" shot Aunt Gwen.
"No sir, I do the biting!" shouted Aaron, pounding his chest.
Several groans emanated from around the room. Aunt Gwen closed her eyes as if suffering a cramp.
Mae delivered a hard stare across the table. "May I remind you, dear cousin, that the topic of my courtships—"
"Or lack thereof," said Aaron to his fork.
"No matter how cleverly disguised," she continued, "has been banned from this house? I'm quite sure Uncle Frank would not like to hear that his warnings are being ignored in his absence." Mae looked around the table. "Am I right?"
"Right," said Aunt Gwen, glaring at Aaron.
"Yes, Mae," said Charlotte, nodding dutifully.
"Yup," said Aaron, smiling like a drunkard.
Margaret was eyeballing the ceiling.
"Good," said Mae smugly. "Then maybe I won't have anything to tell him upon his return today."
Aaron gulped the rest of his coffee and stood up to spear some rashers across the table. "Okay, Mae. You win. I promise to do better. Let's move on. This Thursday, I believe your new green dress will do just nicely."
Mae looked at him, confused. "What's Thursday?"
He sat down, threw a rasher into his mouth, and grinned. "Three strapping bachelors shearing some sheep."
* * *
New York City, New York
The preliminary trial finished at noon. It took the judge only ten minutes to dismiss what had taken William Teague over two months to assemble, an outcome that came as no surprise. For despite the evidence—witness accounts, the deposition of a doctor, medical bills, and even the very law itself—Mundy v. Mundy had been doomed from the start. Will tried to console his young client following the decision, but she gathered her four children and immediately fled the courthouse.
Over a sandwich at the beer garden, Will sat with his good friend Brady Collins, who just so happened to represent the defendant, Mr. Mundy.
"The fact of the matter is that, until the courts catch up with legislation, we're just never going to see this thing turn around," said Brady, re-stuffing a napkin into his collar. "What purpose does it serve to no longer sanction corporal punishment within the family sphere when courts continue to espouse such nonsense as privacy of family? None, I tell you! Marital chastisement is best left for resolution behind closed doors. Incredible!"
Will sat back in his chair. "So you were listening," he said, blinking repeatedly to chase the drowsiness from his eyes. "Do you think resolution was on the mind of Mr. Mundy when he knocked three teeth out of his wife's mouth?"
Brady shook his head, took a swig of beer, and bit into his roast beef sandwich. "And as for the other charge," he garbled, lowering his voice to a whisper, "it wasn't going to wash. Not only impossible to prove in marriage, it is still viewed as a gosh-darn crime against property. That says it all, right there." He swallowed and slammed his fist on the table. "It is 1879 for Pete's sake, and look how the tentacles of coverture hold fast and true!"
Will noticed a few heads turning and tried not to smile.
Brady Collins was not your typical New York lawyer; in fact, in manner he was no different than most of his clients, the rough and tumble outcasts of the tenement neighborhoods. Will knew his friend hated having to defend Mr. Mundy, but he also knew he didn't have a choice.
"At the very least, I thought I had something with Mrs. Mundy's missing teeth," said Will. "Surely that constitutes permanent damage."
Brady nodded. "I don't know why the judge didn't agree."
Yes you do, thought Will. It was something they both saw every day: women held captive to a judicial system that didn't recognize them as citizens. No representation, no rights, no voice. Hardly sustainable in a modern society, one would think.
Brady remained quiet for a moment, playing with a ribbon of lettuce on his plate. "Well I liked your rather desperate attempt at the end there, just before the judge threw us out." He straightened. "We have hundreds of societies for the protection of animals, but not a single one in the city, in the state, or the entire country for battered women." He returned to slouching. "Very good, that."
Will watched Brady drain the rest of his glass, appreciative of the compliment and disheartened that the fact had fallen on deaf ears. "So which was it? Desperate or very good?"
"Both. But you know you could have cleaned up a bit before the prelim. You needed every advantage, my friend. What happened to that dazzling smile, impeccably pressed morning suit, and incessant strutting I'm so used to seeing?"
"I do not strut."
"Even handsome men have to look as though they give a shite. Get a haircut. Reintroduce yourself to the razor. Get some sleep." Brady stood up and threw some money on the table. "Speaking of which, I have to see Grace. The little woman thinks her husband has been working too hard lately. Might get me some sympathy when I get home," he said with a wink.
Although undaunted by the harsh appraisal of his appearance, primarily because it was true, it was the unfortunate glimpse into Brady's love life that compelled Will to respond. "I'm afraid, my friend, you're mistaken on one count."
Brady's head jerked. "What? You don't think I've been working hard?"
"Oh, you've been working hard. Very hard, indeed," said Will, reaching for his coffee.
Brady frowned. "I won't be getting sympathy, then?"
Will hesitated. "Sympathy. I regret to say that's entirely possible."
"Then what? What was I mistaken about?"
Will brought his cup to his lips. "Grace is no little woman."
"What!" roared Brady.
With an arm instinctively shot out to ward off a blow, Will choked on his own laughter, adding very quickly, "What I mean to say is, Grace will never, ever, not in a million years, be at risk for marital chastisement. I can't tell you how relieved that makes me feel. Warms the heart, really."
"Weak!" said the six-foot-two, 300-pound man standing over him. "Very weak." He bent down close to Will's ear. "Truth be told, that's what I love about her. She'd have me nuts in a cracker should I ever cross the line—so in that regard, you speak the truth." Brady backed away, shaking a finger menacingly. "It's what leaves you in one piece, my friend. And for future reference, little implies sweet—and that's what Gracie is."
"Prima facie. Convincing argument. Give her a kiss for me."
"No, I don't think I will."
"See you Monday, then."
* * *
Stillwater, New Jersey
It was nearly two o'clock when the sound of the coach was heard rumbling down the road, picking up speed as it descended down the hill past the Frey's to Living Springs Farm.
Aunt Gwen, Charlotte, and Margaret ran out of the house in quick succession, while Aaron lay immobile beneath a dancing willow at the Ram's Head—so named for the outcropping of rock shaped like a curling horn at the top of the hill beside the house. Mae remained on the front porch, snapping peas, enjoying a breezy refuge from both the sun and the stifling kitchen, watching as the cloud of dust finally pulled into the carriageway.
It would seem that Uncle Frank and Niahm had opted for the midmorning train out of Hoboken, which meant they were in a train filled to capacity, and Mae wondered if the early arrival was worth the overheated ride. Her answer came a moment later when two smiling faces emerged from the carriage, taking in Charlotte's cheers and Aunt Gwen's gushing like they were heroes home from war. "For crying out loud," muttered Mae. "It was just a shopping trip."
Pushing through the gate, Uncle Frank pulled his wife over and planted an exceptionally long kiss on her lips.
"Put silk on a goat, and he's still a goat!" snapped Margaret, covering Charlotte's eyes.
"How many did Niahm get you for?" laughed Aunt Gwen, taking her husband's hand and leading him up the porch steps.
"Two and a coat," said Uncle Frank. "One of the frocks will cost more than an entire semester's salary, and that's to say nothing of the hats! Who knew so much thought went into passementerie—fringes, braids, to gimp or not to gimp, ribbon, tassels, cords, pom—"
"There, there," cooed Aunt Gwen, standing above him on the stair. She tilted his head to kiss his bald spot. " 'Tis over now. Tell me, what news of Mr. Geraghty? Is his leg healing to your satisfaction?"
Uncle Frank smiled. "Saw him two days ago. Doing remarkably well. And young Dr. Peters concurs." Uncle Frank looked up and spotted Mae leaning against the post. "How goes my Marvelous Mae?"
"Never better, Uncle," said Mae cheerfully, hugging her bowl of peas.
"Good," he said, giving her head a pat. "Oh, I'd like to have a word with you later. Not pressing, mind you. Maybe after supper?"
Mae nodded, slightly apprehensive. A "word" with Uncle Frank meant a brilliant idea was about to be revealed, usually involving a colleague or student he wanted Mae to meet. These schemes rarely came together, and the last one that did failed miserably. It involved Mr. Harris, her suitor for three weeks, one of the most awkward and unpleasant courting experiences of her life. Only when Mr. Harris met her best friend Deirdre—to whom he proposed marriage eight weeks later—did Mae's torture subside.
Uncle Frank turned to his children. "What say you all to a dip in the river?"
Charlotte screamed with delight. "Niahm! Help me get ready!"
Niahm, who had been trailing quietly behind, smiled at her little sister as she hoisted a small trunk up the steps. "Can't. Must unpack. Mae will do it," she said, brushing past Mae without so much as a greeting or a smile.
"Bejapers! The heat!" said Margaret, shooing everyone inside. "We'll be scalded alive!"
In no time, Mae, Charlotte and Aaron were sitting at the river's edge, engaged in the activities of painting, eating, and reading respectively, enjoying the shade of oak and willow trees lining the water.
"You came, after all!" exclaimed Charlotte, jumping up.
"Had to come," said Niahm, approaching with parasol in hand. She took hold of Charlotte's shoulder for balance as she slipped a foot out of her boot to daintily test the water with her toe. "Ma practically threw me out of the house."
"That wasn't just Ma chasing you out," said Aaron, looking up from his book. "Da too, no doubt."
Niahm looked over her shoulder and winced at her brother. "That's disgusting!"
"Did you really have to say it, Aaron?" scolded Mae.
"Say what?" asked Charlotte.
"Nothing," said three voices in unison.
Wiping her paintbrush, Mae returned to the scene she was painting: Aaron's lean body reclined over a book, with mottled sunlight highlighting his ash blond tresses, defining the muscles under his ill-fitting shirt, and brightening the tops of his smiling, tanned cheeks. In the background, brighter sunlight gleamed on the river, with massive ferns proliferating both banks and one grand oak standing firm beside rushing waters. Just as she had done every summer since childhood, Mae added a couple of palm trees and a few stabs of color, usually orchids or Birds of Paradise, so the surrounds were not of a riverbank in New Jersey but a lagoon in the South Pacific. She regarded her creation for several critical moments before setting it aside and lying back.
Closing her eyes brought more enchantment: the sounds of trickling water, the twittering of birds, and the occasional clunk of an acrobatic fish. The very essence of peace, she thought dreamily, drawing the sweet-smelling air deep into her lungs.
"Aaron, you promised to throw me!" screeched Charlotte.
Aaron sat up. "Did I promise?" he yawned, scratching his head. Hopping to his feet, he adjusted his cut-off breeches and pushed Charlotte into the water, much to her scream-filled delight.
Niahm sat on the blanket beside Mae and carefully arranged her skirts to prevent wrinkling.
"Did you see him?" asked Mae.
Lashes fluttered as two dull emeralds focused. "Did I see who?" asked Niahm stupidly.
Excerpted from Cliff of the Ruin by Bonnie McKernan Copyright © 2012 by Bonnie McKernan. Excerpted by permission of Abbott Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was really excited for this book. The setting of America, Ireland, and add in a touch of folklore just sounded so promising. I'm happy to say this was a fantastic book. I wasn't sure what to think of Mae at first. When we are first introduced to her to her she's an aging spinster with very little hope of marrying. I always find that intriguing and wanting to know circumstances indicating why. When she meets Will, I knew we had a potential match but that it was only a portion of the story. When we learn that she basically disappears off the map and eloping, it seems completely out of character. She returns weeks later with no real recollection of what has happened. The few pieces of information Will manages to get indicate that her husband has returned to Ireland...back the the place of her birth that her father that wants nothing to do with her. At this point certain Irish folklore are introduced. I don't know much about this area, but I enjoyed the stories mentioned a lot. I liked how they are worked into the story as such a seamless chain of events. The mythical characters feel very real. They have certain powers that they can wield over humans which were interesting to read about. I particularly enjoyed the connection between Mae's new husband and her father. I hadn't imagined there would be one at first, but once it starts to play out it wasn't hard to figure out who was who. Sometimes revenge is sweet. I enjoyed how the story takes us to another realm of beings. I really enjoyed the combination of historical fiction mixed in with traditional folklore and a little bit of fantasy. I'll be looking for other works by this author!
It has been so long since I read a book this good. I mean, I literally did not want to put it down. I read it at the beach (all of my juicy magazines stayed in the beach bag, unread), then on an airplane, then every night before bed. It was such a treat to steal away with this book. Funny, ironic, tense, surprising, subtly romantic, and intelligent. I wish they were all like this. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I would love to read a sequel, but honestly I will read anything that comes out next by this author.
It’s 1879, and at nearly twenty-six years of age, Mae Kendrick is fast on her way to becoming an old maid. Despite her beauty and the continued love and support of the aunt and uncle with whom she lives, Mae cannot seem to find a suitable…suitor. That is, until Mae sets eyes upon the handsome and utterly charming Kieran McCree. Kieran seems intent on wooing Mae, and his allure is hypnotizing in more ways than one. Enter William Teague, a handsome yet reserved lawyer who survived the Civil War with many scars that go beyond skin deep. Playing matchmaker, Mae’s uncle invites Will to stay with the family for a few days. Mae and Will begin developing a warm friendship. Is there something hotter boiling beneath the surface? The reader hopes so, but then Mae discovers a shocking secret about her past, disappears for two weeks and returns in a strange stupor claiming that she and Kieran (handsome lad number one) are married. When it becomes obvious that Mae has little memory of her time with Kieran, questions start to rise that cannot easily be answered with logic and reason. For example, how could a bouquet of flowers Kieran gave to Mae still be fresh after six weeks in a vase? Why is there no record of Kieran in town? The housekeeper claims that Irish magic is at work. When Mae, her cousin Aaron and Will set off to Ireland to find Kieran, the old lore that Mae never took seriously starts to take on a whole new veil of truth. Cliff of the Ruin is a vivid historical adventure that weaves Irish myth together with a long-burning romantic buildup that keeps the reader oh-so-delightfully teased. Author Bonnie McKernan takes us across oceans and deep into the hearts of her characters. Will, Mae and Aaron are delightful traveling companions. The paranormal elements that become more apparent deeper into the book drew me even deeper into the story. This novel is strong on many fronts, from the pacing, to the character development to the realism of the time period and accuracy of how characters at the end of the 19th century act and speak, begob! As much as I enjoyed McKernan’s tale, I felt that the pace picked up a little too much speed at the pinnacle scenes of the book and got out of the author’s control. The climatic scenes felt rushed, confusing and a little chaotic, which was a shame after all the careful preparation and artful buildup that took place throughout the rest of the story. As soon as I was able to catch my breath and ask, what just happened, the book was wrapping up, tying loose ends into pretty bows and wishing me a fine farewell. I won’t hold a little rushing against the book. It’s just too good. Cliff of the Ruin is a wonderful historical paranormal romance that will appeal to readers who enjoy any one of those genres. McKernan has a great ear for dialogue, a deft hand at pacing (most of the time), and a canny sense of humor. She’s definitely an author to put on your watch list. (This book was provided to Compulsion Reads for review by the author.)
This genre is one of my favorites, and this book is at the top of the list! This was one of those books that you just cannot put down. The beginning is so good at setting up the characters that you fall in love with, and starting the mystery ride that keeps you going until the end. The settings were described so well, I felt like I could actually see them. The dialogue was so good, I felt like I was drawn back in time. I will be looking for Bonnie McKernan's next book for sure!
Bonnie McKernan has done her research well. I know Ireland, and I felt transported to Dublin’s surrounding countryside, with a true Irish flavor. She adds tiny detail from obvious reading and research to a level not often found in books today. And instead of the usual fantasy genre style work one often comes across in self-publishing, this is a genuine find – more Game Of Thrones or Da Vinci Code than dungeons and dragons, but somehow with the old-fashioned feel of Dublin’s Victoriana – so a touch of Sherlock Holmes too! And one note must be made; I loved the unapologetic nod to Irish fairy lore. Maybe some writers would have avoided fairies and leprechauns, but why the heck not? There is the usual struggle between right and wrong for all characters, and Will in particular is a well-rounded hero who seems realistic in both flaws and strengths. I like that he has a back story, and motivation. Mae is more strong-willed and displays the typical Irish flame of many Celtic beauties with some moral fiber. The book is also truly well-formatted and has been laid out extremely carefully – I knew the difference between this book and the countless imposters on the market as soon as I opened it. Not only has the author taken the time to introduce her work and set a tone from the off, but the style of writing is consistent and has a voice, again head and shoulders above many attempts out there at the same genre. Bonnie McKernan has achieved what many fantasy-fiction self-publishers don’t – a professional-level book with thought and care poured into it to a quality level. I even liked the cover a lot – the image really sums up the content of the writing, and reading Ms McKernan has an art background not only shows in this cover choice but also in the imagery in the writing itself. Talking of genre, this is definitely an interesting crossover. You could enjoy this novel as a romantic adventure, or as a fantasy fiction. And to be honest, I enjoyed it as a light crime fiction over all else. Reminiscent of Vertigo, the ending will hold you to the last, complete with a mysterious stranger in tow. The book reads well, and has pace without driving the reader -This novel is instead a well-judged page-turner. Recommended for fans of fantasy, historical tales with a twist, or mystery lovers.
Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite "Cliff of the Ruin" by Bonnie McKernan is a well-written historical fantasy set both in Victorian America and in Ireland of that time period. Its complexities will delight readers as main characters Mae, Will, Aaron, Fingal, Uncle Frank, Aunt Gwen, Niamh and even Kieran work their way through adventures in the world of that time and in settings beyond the everyday. The author makes certain that there are tie-ins to history. On page 52, she writes, "A woman ceases to exist as a separate entity in marriage, thus losing her voice - very much like what happened to Ireland". "Cliff of the Ruin" will keep fantasy and history fans totally absorbed.
Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite "Cliff of the Ruin" is a mystery novel, a fairy tale and a love story rolled into one. It takes its reader into a series of interesting adventures that end up in the magical world of Ireland. Mystical and compelling, this is also a historical fiction that happened just after the end of the Civil War. The main protagonists, William Teague and Mae Kendrick's characters are expertly developed so that I cannot help but get caught in the predicament that they are in. Both are intelligent, witty and interesting. However, what makes the story even more exciting is that the author is able to paint a clear picture of the land of the fairies and its delightful characters. This is a well-researched book. The plot is developed in such a way that I could not put the book down until I knew how the story ends. And along the way, I was entertained with its elements of romance, fantasy and mystery. "Cliff of the Ruin" can certainly make a boring day turn into an exciting one. A very enjoyable read.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite In "Cliff of the Ruin", Bonnie McKernan paints a picture of New York and New Jersey in the late 19th century. Mae Kendrick, an artist and orphan in her late twenties, lives with her aunt, uncle and cousins on a farm in Stillwater, New Jersey. The book opens with the preparations for the marriage of one of her friends and the concerns of her family that Mae will not pick a suitor. Uncle Frank brings home with him an intriguing prospect, Will, someone he met during the Civil War, but, at the same time, Mae meets Kieran McCree, an enigmatic and handsome man who seems to exert some power over her. McKernan blends history, mythology and adventure in "Cliff of the Ruin" in what may also be considered romantic suspense. Mae and Will are both strong, credible characters who you come to care about. Both are flawed and tormented by their pasts, and their interactions are at times humorous and sometimes maddening, but always quite realistic. Add in the ocean voyage Mae, her cousin, and Will take--and their adventures in Ireland--and you have an action and adventure tale that entertains on a number of levels. I particularly enjoyed how Irish mythology was woven into the plot and would love to see more work of this nature by McKernan.
Fantastic intrigue! Kept me coming back for more and more. Full of adventure, romance, mystery on both continents! Writer made me visualize each character and scenery! I will defnitely recommend this book to friends and family. When's the next book come out?
What a great read! That's the response I got from the six friends I gave copies to for Christmas. It's got mystery, adventure, fantasy, romance,with some tragedy and history added to the mix. The dialogue sparkles. I'm waiting for the sequel. J.P.King
This book is one of those you will not want to put down! It has romance, irish folklore, humor and mystery all set in a the rich historical setting of Ireland during the Civil War. The characters are wonderful and very likeable. Will is the strong and faithful quiet type, who always strives to do the right thing, but often grapples with inner conflicts. Mae is the fiesty beauty searching for truth and real love. The supporting characters all add to the twisting and turning plot that takes you from a sleepy New Jersey town, across the seas on a mysterious journey, to the "thin places" of magical Ireland. It is here that goodness battles evil, with results both surprising and fulfilling. If you love good historical fiction with a fascinating story line, you will not be disappointed. Highly recommend!