James's Reviews > Sea Cliff

Sea Cliff by Mary Deal
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 1-fiction, 7-arc-giveaway-won, 8-next-chapter-authors, 9-read-2018-10-october

Sea Cliff is a very appropriate title for this book. Not only is Mary Deal's story about a beautiful area in San Francisco named Sea Cliff, but it's also the way to describe the main character's emotions as she struggled with overcoming a haunting past and accepting love for a promising future. I've read many of Deal's books before, and even though I don't usually read in the love / romance genre, I read this one because the author is just that good of a writer. It did not disappoint on any level.

Main character, Rachael, is an author who finds inspiration in Matthew, a handsome guy she meets in a park. At first, she's hesitant because he's too forward and overly interested. She suspects ulterior motives, but pushes herself to extend her boundaries. She's been emotionally and physically abused in the past which has left her unable to trust others. She lost both her parents, has a difficult relationship with her brother, and isn't able to keep friendships all because of this pain. But life's not all bad... she's published two books, she's inherited some money and a house, and she is starting to open up. As the story progresses, she lets Matthew in but not consistently enough resulting in several moments and interactions that leave them both uncertain of their future. After an emotional and turbulent event changes the course of their relationship for a few months, readers are never certain how it all might end up.

I daresay this isn't a typical romance novel. While there are definitely large chapters and chunks of the book focused on the growing romance and subsequent roadblocks, it's more a study in the life of a woman over the course of about 18 months as she goes through many changes to accept herself. There are several romantic scenes, but it's not a huge piece of the action. It's more of an emotional and psychological tale where we see the ebbs and flows of Rachael's ability to open up. As she meets new characters and takes on bigger roles in her career, we see confidence and pain emerge. She struggling, and we root for her, which makes the story easy to read.

Deal is a very talented writer who can evoke emotion from her readers. I don't want to give away too much more, but there's a climactic event that truly tests Rachael (and Matthew) where as readers, we can't decide what to feel or think... and we want to grab hold of someone and shake them for what they've done... but ultimately, we might be misunderstanding what's really going on. There's a little bit of suspense, a hint of 'coming of age' although Rachael's already a fully grown adult, and a gripping saga about how to move on from damages. Deal pushes readers to explore how they'd react in some tough situations, then provides a calm relief where things seem to be okay. Only they're not... and it takes a lot more to overcome something we didn't realize was so powerful in the past.

Although I'm still not sure romance books are a go-to genre for me, Deal's writing and style makes this a much more genre-crossing story for me that I'd be open to sampling a few others who tread the water in this realm. I'm thrilled with this book and the fact that I devoured it on a 3-hour train ride should show how true it is. I never wanted to put it down nor did I get bored of any plot or setting which I'd been worried about purely because of it being a non-norm genre for me. I should've known better... the genre might spook me a bit, but the author consistently delivers no matter what she writes. If you're read her work before, but don't read in this genre, it's got props and strength - very worth the read. If you love romance and like a little extra, give this one a shot. It's full of depth and hope, sorrow and worry... but the ups and downs the characters go thru are worth it. Solid read... definitely recommended.
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Reading Progress

October 15, 2018 – Shelved
October 15, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
October 15, 2018 – Shelved as: 1-fiction
October 15, 2018 – Shelved as: 7-arc-giveaway-won
October 15, 2018 – Shelved as: 8-next-chapter-authors
October 20, 2018 – Started Reading
October 21, 2018 –
50.0% "Sweet and slow romance. Both have complex pasts. Written well. Not my normal genre but branching out. :)"
October 21, 2018 – Shelved as: 9-read-2018-10-october
October 21, 2018 – Finished Reading

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