Sea Cliff

A Love Story

Romance - Contemporary
347 Pages
Reviewed on 11/29/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Mary Deal is an Amazon best-selling and award-winning author of suspense/thrillers, romance, a short story collection, a writer’s reference, and self-help. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her first feature screenplay, Sea Storm, was a Semi-Finalist in a Moondance International Film Festival competition. She is former newspaper columnist and magazine editor. Mary is currently writing the third story in her Sara Mason Mystery series.

She has traveled a great deal and has a lifetime of diverse experiences, all of which remain in memory as fodder for her fiction. A native of California’s Sacramento River Delta, where some of her stories are set, she has also lived in England, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and now resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is also an oil painter and photographer. Her art is used to create gorgeous personal and household products from her online galleries.

Sea Cliff – A Love Story was her first novel written back in 1991 but not published till recently. Some of the story takes place in areas where she has lived. The lives of the characters are fictionalized from people she has known. Their story needed to be told. The book may not have been published had she not researched and learned about the lingering aspects of child abuse as affects the adult.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Rachael Connor, outwardly successful and a budding author, seemed to have it all. An inheritance from her father had assured her financial stability and she was able to choose when she worked for wages and when she indulged in her one true passion, writing. In Sea Cliff: A Love Story by Mary Deal, we find that Rachael has a dark secret that rules her life, even now as an adult and long after her father has died. Rachael and her brother Brandon were brought up by a tyrannical and abusive father who ruled their lives with both physical and mental abuse that Rachael still carries to this day. She is unable to form lasting relationships with men as she simply doesn’t know how, and consequently has resigned herself to a life of solitude with writing and meditation as her solaces. Enter Matthew Knight, a successful, ridiculously handsome and well-adjusted man who sets his sights on winning Rachael’s heart. True love, though, rarely runs smoothly and both Matthew and Rachael have to overcome the many barriers that life and their pasts put in their way before they can truly find each other.

Sea Cliff: A Love Story is a simple, carefully crafted romance, but what lifts it above others in the genre is its willingness to address societal issues that might otherwise be glossed over. Author Mary Deal has imbued her character of Rachael with all the angst and fear a sufferer of an abusive childhood would feel. As readers, we want to take Rachael and shake her, telling her to “get with the programme.” She has a man who clearly adores her and yet she looks for and finds myriad ways to push him away. Although both of the main characters are too perfectly beautiful/handsome for my liking, there was no stopping me from enjoying the twists and turns their convoluted relationship took. The concept of combining the feelings and actions of the characters in this story with the characters in the story Rachael was writing had the potential to be trite and clichéd and yet Deal made it work well. The writing style is simple and unpretentious, which I did enjoy, and I found myself flying through this book. I can definitely recommend this story to lovers of romance.

Ray Simmons

If you’re looking for a contemporary romance novel, something that will restore your faith in love and life, look no further. I have the perfect novel and writer for you. Sea Cliff by Mary Deal is a great read. Especially if you've been bruised and battered by the struggle of trying to find the real thing. The thing that will last through all the troubles that we know life will throw at us. I don’t read contemporary romance much, to be perfectly honest. I prefer the historical version. But Sea Cliff takes place in one of my favorite cities in the whole world. The city by the bay; San Francisco. I haven’t been there in years, but Mary Deal reminded me just how unique and wonderful the San Francisco Bay Area is.

Mary Deal writes about life. She writes about friendship and family relationships. Romance is something we find while navigating our way through all these other important relationships…if we’re lucky. I liked the plot in Sea Cliff. These were real modern-day characters with lives and relationships just like mine and people I know. I loved the setting. I have lived in the Bay Area and I believe Mary Deal has too. She took me back to it and I really appreciate that. The characters are great. Not perfect but very real. What I liked most about Rachael, besides her being a red-head is that she is very self-aware and constantly trying to improve herself. That’s what it takes in modern life.

Amanda Rofe

Sea Cliff: A Love Story by Mary Deal is a contemporary fiction novel set in San Francisco. It portrays a woman called Rachael Connor who grew up in the farmlands of the Sacramento River Delta. She is someone who experienced abuse in her childhood and who is now trying to renounce the past. Her brother, Brandon, who suffered similarly, is also struggling to come to terms with adult life. While Rachael tries to help him as best she can, she has her own demons to contend with, in particular how to form healthy relationships with men. There is one man called Matthew, who pursues her despite her obvious reluctance to get involved with anyone. In an attempt to work through her issues, she writes a novel which turns out to mirror her life in more ways than one.

Mary Deal writes a rather unusual love story, bravely tackling the difficult subject of childhood abuse and the impact it has on adults later on in life. She portrays the adult survivors, Rachael and Brandon, sympathetically and with a great deal of insight. The disparity between Matthew's rather normal family and Rachael's dysfunctional life has been ably portrayed, adding an edge to the story line. I thought Sea Cliff was an engaging novel which dealt with very challenging and painful issues. Both Rachael and Matthew, the main protagonists, made me feel uncomfortable at times and I like this in a book. As a point of interest, the title 'Sea Cliff' is a fascinating link which runs through the narrative, drawing the story threads together.