I recently discovered Lucinda Riley and read her debut book, The Orchid House (review here), which I absolutely adored. Despite its shortcomings in the second half, the intricate storyline placed it near the top of my list for best books of 2012. Naturally, I was ecstatic when I bought her second, The Girl on the Cliff and was looking forward to another equally-captivating story.
Unfortunately, The Girl on the Cliff failed to impress me (it disappointed me so much that I went back and checked the publication dates to see if maybe this was her debut novel, rather than Orchid). Don’t get me wrong, it had all of the ingredients for a great book: family secrets, early deaths, orphans, families tied together by a century of entanglements, and love. But unlike in Orchid, the ride from start to finish was fairly flat. I didn’t experience the highs and lows along with the characters and the main character, Grania, was both over and under developed at the same time (meanwhile, most other characters were just “there”).
Overall, the book told three great stories, one for Grania, Aurora and Matt, respectively. However, the author failed to weave their stories together in a way that made sense and the book was all over the place. It reminded me of the game 52-pickup, where all of the cards in the deck were there, but were not in the correct order. Although the story was punctuated by diary entries that were intended to move the reader forward, it confused me more than it helped.