The Girl on the Cliff, By Lucinda Riley

Almost enough to push you over the edge

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The Independent Culture

Lucinda Riley's novel is narrated by Aurora, a girl struggling to come to terms with her mother's death.

When she meets Grania, a sculptor mourning her own loss, the two strike up a friendship, and discover a familial connection. As Riley relates this shared genealogy, she tacks back and forth between wartime London and contemporary Ireland, manipulating the strands of her plot with some skill. But the reader's engagement with the story is frustrated by an infuriatingly didactic commentary, in which the narrator dispenses hackneyed life lessons ("never lose faith in the beauty and goodness of human nature") and helpfully reminds us when we're supposed to cry: "Oh dear", she sobs at one point, "it's so dreadfully sad."