Something whispers to her on the wind. Something calls to her from the sea. It is something seductive and powerful that Darcy McBride cannot resist beyond the cliffs of Kerry. Ireland in 1755 is a terrible place. Ravaged by famine and the brutal occupation of the British, Darcy joins a group of smugglers who trade illegally with the French. The operation is discovered and the young woman is transported to the English Colonies for servitude. Shattered by war and bloodshed, Darcy finds the colonists on a feeding frenzy of survival. She refuses to be devoured and meets them with determination and fire stopping them in their tracks. When she confronts the brash and attractive Jean Michel Lupe', a surveyor for the Crown, sparks fly, and Darcy meets her match. His blend of refinement and frontier masculinity unsettles and entices her. Together, they are swept into a whirlwind of violence and intrigue that threatens their love and their survival.
"As he stepped out into the pouring rain, Jean Michel had to regain his composure. He was not sure he liked the feelings that were churning inside him. This McBride woman had the ability to reach into his soul and open doors he thought were closed forever. She ignited a desire in him that was beyond anything he had ever imagined. Confused and overwhelmed, he blamed it on long months without carnal pleasures, and pushing it from his mind; he started down the path for the McDermott homestead."
Molly Martin of Molly's Reviews
Darcy McBride and her brother are the only survivors of their family who suffer the awful famine that swept Ireland during the hunger of the mid 1700s. After the death of her family caused Darcy and Liam along with another waif Bran Moynahan to be turned out of their home the children took refuge in the caves up on the cliffs of Kerry.
During the intervening years Darcy, Liam have become smugglers. A crime punishable with death, servitude or whatever the English soldiers decide. Darcy's childhood sweetheart Bran was captured and sent to serve seven years as an indentured servant in the American colonies.
With the arrival of Father Etienne Darcy's life will change in ways she never expected. Bran's return will ultimately lead to Darcy facing an indenture to be served in the American colonies. Liam, grave digger by trade is hung for his smuggling activities. Darcy is loaded aboard a ship and sold into indentured servitude. Over the years she finds both focus and love for her life and at last learns that life can be good despite many setbacks.
Writer Amanda Hughes has taken a bleak, bitter time in history and woven a very credible tale of duplicity, adventure and even romance from it. "Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry" is a hard hitting gritty tale filled with lusty well developed characters who raise empathy from the reader. The players peopling "Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry" are most human notwithstanding their predictable wholly understandable desire for self preservation. Dialogue is believable, at times harsh and filled with the pathos of the time portrayed.
Hughes has done a fine job of research to help fill the gaps the reader might have concerning the day to day lives of those caught up in that frightful time. The famine period of the 1700s was a desperate time filled with desperate people forced to scrabble just for existence from babyhood forward. Hughes has done a fine job creating settings, characters and circumstance to bring the reader into the duration portrayed.
The reader is caught up in the narrative from the opening paragraph when we find Darcy standing in her kitchen. We are caught fast and carried along on a breathless trek from Kerry to the American colonies, through the war between England and France and back once more to Kerry.
I enjoyed the read.
Amazon Reader Review
This was Hughes' debut novel and it is clear to me she has a great writing career ahead of her. Set in Ireland and America, beginning in 1755, this is a captivating tale of a beautiful young Irish girl, Darcy McBride, who has a thirst for knowledge and a spirit of adventure. She survived The Hunger in Ireland that claimed most of her family and when the story opens, she is keeping house for her embittered brother. To pay taxes and put food on the table, Darcy and the young men of County Kerry become smugglers, illegally trading their wool with the French for brandy. In one shipment, they also smuggle in a Jesuit priest who befriends Darcy and teaches her to read and write and gives her a love for literature. When British soldiers discover the smuggling, Darcy is transported to the English Colonies for 7 years of indentured service, which for a beautiful young woman meant sexual servitude to her owner. One day at Fort Lawrence, Darcy meets Jean Michel Lupe, a surveyor for the Crown and an educated man, who will change her life.
This is a romance, to be sure, but quite unusual in that the hero isn't introduced until half way through the book. Much of what would be "back story" in other historical romances becomes an intense, well-told tale that at times is heart rending. It is also exciting as we experience the brutality of cruel English soldiers and savage Indians on the American frontier. But there are many warm, charming moments and we see how times of great hardship affect people for both good and bad. And there are some truly, desperately sad moments that will tear at your heart due to the hard life in Ireland and on the American frontier. Darcy is a wonderful heroine with a strong heart, a giving nature and great courage--a true survivor. Hughes brings to life a cast of wonderful characters, including the wise and kind-hearted Father Etienne, a kind of hero. Darcy's story has great realism.
I highly recommend it. (It's going on my Best Irish Historical Romances list to be posted on St. Patrick's Day.)
Amazon Reader Review
This book was just enthralling from the beginning. You get caught up in the story from the instant you open it, and it is hard to put down. Because of 'busyness' I would reluctantly put it down, only to anxiously pick it up again as soon as possible. I am excited to start 'The Pride of the King'. I love Ms Hughes style of writing, and the era it is written in.