Sunday, December 22, 2013

Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry by Amanda Hughes


Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry

It seduces her like a lover. It bewitches her like a spell. It is something mysterious and powerful that Darcy McBride must follow beyond the cliffs of Kerry. Ireland in 1755 is a terrible place ravaged by famine and the brutal occupation of the British, there seems to be no escape. Darcy joins a group of smugglers who trade illegally with the French and when operation is discovered, she 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."
Kindle EditionText to speech enabled414 pages
Published April 2011 by Amazon Digital Services (first published 2002)
original title
Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry
Leona's Review:
Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry by Amanda Hughes
This is my first read by Amanda Hughes and I was not disappointed.
The story begins in 1755 in Ireland where Darcy McBride and her brother are part of a  smugglers group in order to survive in hard times. Life in Kerry has been difficult for Darcy and her brother, Liam, They are the last of their family; the others have died during the Great Hunger of 1740. The smugglers are caught and Darcy becomes an indentured servant. She is bought by Nathan Lawrence, a British soldier. Her new life begins in Massachusetts where it is still the "frontier".
I like the use of defining the chores at this time period such as the skinning deer, baking the beans, making a Sally Lund cake and gardening. I have never heard the term "three sisters" which is corn, beans and squash. Years ago, I was a volunteer in the exhibit of the Maya Indians of Mexico at a museum in St. Paul, Minnesota and I referred to corn, beans and squash as a staple. More information is available on the Web for those interested.  When reading a book such as this, we are reminded of how easy we have it when we can go to the store and buy so many things pre-made. It also details the clothing at the time as well as building the cabins.
This is a love story and there are sexual times in the book. As an indentured servant, a woman must obey the commands of the man who bought her; it is still well done. Some bad language but it fits the time and occasion.
There is death as the settlers fight off the Indians and the English and French are at war. Some gory scenes during the fights and the heart begins to beat faster as people flee and run for their lives. "Life on the frontier was indeed cruel". (page 337 Kindle edition)
God is present on the book even though it is not a Christian love story. "When he (Jean Michel) became frustrated he remembered what Etienne had told him years ago, that God always reveals the way; simply wait for it to unfold." (page 309 Kindle edition)
Even though this book tells about the hard conditions there are still some good times in the book. Friendships are made and there is love and kindness.
Some characters are:
Darcy McBride- The main woman character. She has so much strength and is a true heroine of any book.
Jean Michel Lupe- A surveyor in America who falls in love with Darcy
Etienne- A priest from America who comes to Ireland. He teaches Darcy to read and they become close friends.
Nathan Lawrence- He buys the papers of Darcy and now owns her for seven years.
Liam McBride- Brother of Darcy.
Bran Moynaham- Sold into indentured servant for seven years and was returning to Ireland. He was to marry Darcy before he went to America.
Telia- A good friend of Darcy who lives in Ireland.
Raoul LaRoche- A French Voyager who befriends Darcy in America,
The book is dedicated : To my mother. She taught me to love books and to love Ireland.
Acknowledgements: Special thanks to Ronnell Porter for the cover art and design.
I downloaded this book on because it looked interesting. Ireland is one place I have not visited. I also have not read a book about the American frontier in years. I give it a 5 Star rating. I would re-read this book and recommend it to people who like historical novels. The opinions are my own.
You may find Amanda Hughes on and
Leona Olson

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Carolina Gold by Dorothy Love

Carolina Gold by Dorothy Love   


Book Description

The war is over, but at Fairhaven Plantation, Charlotte's struggle has just begun.
Following her father’s death, Charlotte Fraser returns to Fairhaven, her family’s rice plantation in the South Carolina Lowcountry. With no one else to rely upon, smart, independent Charlotte is determined to resume cultivating the superior strain of rice called Carolina Gold. But the war has left the plantation in ruins, her father’s former bondsmen are free, and workers and equipment are in short supply.
To make ends meet, Charlotte reluctantly agrees to tutor the two young daughters of her widowed neighbor and heir to Willowood Plantation, Nicholas Betancourt. Just as her friendship with Nick deepens, he embarks upon a quest to prove his claim to Willowood and sends Charlotte on a dangerous journey that uncovers a long-held family secret, and threatens everything she holds dear.
Inspired by the life of a 19th-century woman rice farmer, Carolina Gold pays tribute to the hauntingly beautiful Lowcountry and weaves together mystery, romance, and historical detail, bringing to life the story of one young woman’s struggle to restore her ruined world.
Leona's Review:

Carolina Gold by Dorothy Love takes us back to the time era after the Civil War of the United States.  The book begins in Charleston, South Carolina, 3 March 1868.

Charlotte Fraser has lost her father and is about the meet with his lawyer.  She is 23 years of age and alone as both of her parents are gone, her mother when Charlotte was 12 years old. Their plantation grew rice before the war and Charlotte if trying to grow the crop again.

Carolina Gold concentrates on a young woman trying to survive without help, a home that has been partially destroyed and money that is very tight for Charlotte as well as her neighbors who also lost so much during this trying time. It does not spend a lot of time on the war period but after the war and the problems they have. There are also some good times that are refreshing, the beach for example.

Charlotte tutors the children of Nicholas Betancourt, who has lost his wife; the children and Charlotte become very close. I really liked the character of Daniel and was so glad he was added to the book. In fact, all the characters played an important role. Every woman needs a good friend such as Augusta.

Charlotte's father told her "you must have patience and faith." (page 150)

"Circumstances has given me little choice" says Charlotte. (page 266)

Real life situations such as "swatting flies", "humidity and wiping the face with a handkerchief" and  "bleeding patients". Some politics and just enough to add to the time period.  Books and education were some of the main topics and played an important role.

Many occasions in the book which add to the story and always seem to advance the projects such as reading, drawing, sickness, crops ruined and searching for what and why her father was telling her before he died.

I liked this book and give it a 5 star. There was a lot of history and I personally thought feelings for the characters.  The clothes of the period, carriages, needlework, church, sickness, New Orleans, the South, books, the beach and when and how to do the crops. No bad language and a love story that is of the time era such as courtships.

I would have liked to see a recipe for Augusta's tea cakes, they sounded good.
The front of the book has a map (always appreciated) and the back has a Reading Group Guide. (page 323) Question # 3: How did the war change the roles of Southern women? How were these changes shown in the book?
The book is "Dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth Waties Allston Pringle (1845-1921), whose remarkable life and work inspired this novel" There is also a picture of her on the dedication page.
Author's Note on page 320.
Acknowledgements on page 325.
About the Author on page 328.
I received a complimentary copy of Carolina Gold from to read and review. The opinions are my own.
Dorothy Love may be reached at:
Leona Olson