Cliff of the Ruin

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
416 Pages
Reviewed on 03/07/2013
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Bonnie McKernan started her career as an advertising executive before making the unconventional switch to copywriter years later. Her time living in Ireland--soaking up the rich culture, history and folklore--provided the inspiration and framework for her debut novel Cliff of the Ruin. Today, she lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children.

    Book Review

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.

Alice DiNizo

"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.

Maria Beltran

"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.