From Molly's Reviews 2002 Molly Martin Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry By Amanda Hughes-First Edition 2002
Interesting read ... Recommended 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 becomes acquainted with Etienne's brother, 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.