top of page

A Love Transcending Time - an Editorial Review of "In Silence Cries the Heart"

Book Blurb:

“I’ll be waitin’ fer ye on the other side, my hand outstretched, till ye reach fer me when yer earthly time is done. Then our clasp shall ne’er be broken again...”

Sometimes love can be so strong that it ruptures the confines of a single lifetime, extending into those beyond. This is what Caitlyn Hegarty, an American schoolteacher, learns on her trip to Scotland where she soon becomes entangled in the tragic history of a pair of 17th-century lovers. Standing before the dungeon at Undlay Castle, she relives the romantic adventures of the roguish thief and poet, Donal Donn, and his doomed passion for Mary McElroy, the spirited daughter of the laird of Undlay. Unable to shake their spell, Caitlyn is drawn into the shadows of the past as she attempts to solve the mystery enshrouding their forbidden love.

Inspired by the true story of Domhnull Donn and Mary Grant, the novel depicts the timeless power of love amidst the lawlessness, superstition, and pageantry of a lost age.

Book Buy Link:

Author Bio:

Award winning writer, Catherine Hughes is a first-time author who, from her earliest years, immersed herself in reading. Historical fiction is her genre of choice, and her bookshelves are stocked with selections from ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Europe as well as those involving New England settlements and pioneer life in America. After double-majoring in English and business management on the undergraduate level, Catherine completed her Master's degree in British literature at Drew University and then entered the classroom where she has been teaching American, British, and World Literature at the high school level for the last thirty years.

Aside from teaching and reading, Catherine can often be found outdoors, drawing beauty and inspiration from the world of nature. Taking the words of Thoreau to heart, "It is the marriage of the soul with nature that makes the intellect fruitful," Catherine sets aside time every day to lace up her sneakers and run with her dog in pre-dawn or late afternoon hours on the beaches of Long Island. When her furry companion isn't busy chasing seagulls or digging up remnants of dead fish, she soaks in the tranquility of the ocean setting, freeing her mind to tap into its deepest recesses where creativity and imagination preside.

"In Silence Cries the Heart" was recently named as a Finalist in Fiction-Romance for the American Writing Awards and Honorable Mention in Historical-Romance for the Coffee Pot Book Club Awards.

Editorial Review:

There are many bargains one makes in life: honor for power; integrity for wealth; character for renown. And while most men readily surrender virtue for worldliness, Donal was not like most men. For him, there was only a single prize worth sacrificing one’s name, one’s reputation, one’s very life for. He had made such a trade and felt no pangs of regret. For even though that transaction brought him here—to this dungeon where the chill fastened upon his bones his heart remained impassioned with thoughts of her.

In the enigmatic exploration of hearts, from the very first lines, "In Silence Cries the Heart" embodies a fervent journey into the timeless tapestry of human passion. Caitlyn Hegarty, an ardent American schoolteacher, unravels the tether of a singular existence, delving headlong into the intricate, tragic saga of 17th-century lovers amid the haunting walls of Undlay Castle. This narrative unfurls the vivacious yet ill-fated liaison of Donal Donn, the audacious poet-thief, and the spirited Mary McElroy, daughter of the Undlay laird, weaving a visceral story that ensnares both protagonist and reader alike.

The soul-stirring prose, echoing with the essence of an era veiled in lawlessness, superstition, and grandeur, etches an indelible mark upon the consciousness. Such is the allure of this literary marvel, drawing parallels between the all-consuming ardour of yesteryears and the relentless echoes reverberating through Caitlyn's contemporary strife. Akin to the ghostly tendrils of mist enveloping the castle ramparts, the narrative grips the reader, entwining past and present in a mesmerizing dance.

The authoress, with deft strokes reminiscent of a master painter, conjures vistas that transport the reader across time and the character's voices truly embed into a reader's heart and mind. From the rugged hills where Mary stood resolute to the verdant forest, an abode of Donal's solace, the rich tapestry of locales mirrors the depth of emotional turmoil. Every page teems with the palpable vitality of Donal and Mary, their joyous union pierced by the venomous fangs of betrayal, laying bare the raw, poignant essence of human existence.

Somewhat embarrassed but eager to evoke the feelings from before, Mary agreed. “Well, I’ve told ye about the ones he left for me like bits of buried treasure in the forest, but this one in my hand didna’ come from there. He gave this one to me directly just a few days ago when we walked together by the shore.” Clearing her throat, she read softly:

Never wander from my side,

Be my love, be my bride.

Wedded now, we are as one.

My breath with yours will always run.

Thoughts of ye I canna escape

Dreams and visions, asleep or awake.

So lay down yer heart with me right now

And hearken to this, my solemn vow:

To hold and guide ye everyday

And lift all pains and cares away.

Be with me now, today and ever.

To live and love as one forever.

The spectre of history, embodied by the tempestuous relationship between the star-crossed lovers, resonates with an uncanny familiarity, bridging the chasm between past and present. Caitlyn's quest to untangle the enigma enshrouding their forbidden love echoes the ceaseless pursuit of truth, encapsulating the relentless human hunger for understanding and closure.

The novel's jewel lies in its ability to transcend the corporeal boundaries of the written word. It beckons the reader not merely to peruse but to inhabit the narrative's very soul. The author’s dexterity paints vivid landscapes, weaving an ethereal realm where the purity of love intertwines with the sinister machinations of fate.

This tale, inspired by the resplendent history of Domhnall Donn, a legendary Gaelic bard, and Mary Grant, the daughter of a Laird, emerges as a paean to the indefatigable power of love, transcending epochs to etch its mark upon the fabric of time itself. Despite reaching the final page, the ephemeral essence of Donal and Mary lingers, an indelible mark upon the recesses of memory, a testament to the indomitable spirit encapsulated within these two souls.

Once upon a time, she and Annag had roamed the glen together, building castles of pebbles and shells and imagining themselves to be the queens and princesses who ruled them. They went from skinned knees to broken hearts, from tumbling down hills to learning dance steps, from looking at Undlay as the entire world to feeling confined by its provincialism. She would miss their talks together, their shared confidences, and the mixture of titillation and horror she felt at Annag’s suggestive humor and her whispered secrets about the ways of love.

"In Silence Cries the Heart" isn't merely a tale; it's a relentless symphony echoing across centuries, entwining the disparate notes of existence into a song of unbridled ardour and undying devotion. A captivating odyssey that ensnares the heart and mind, beckoning readers to traverse the realms of history and emotion. This story stands as an enduring testament to the resilience of love, a poignant reminder that some stories transcend the confines of time, resonating eternally within the chambers of the soul.


“In Silence Cries the Heart” by Catherine Hughes receives five stars and the “Highly Recommended” award of excellence from The Historical Fiction Company



To have your historical novel editorially reviewed and/or enter the HFC Book of the Year contest, please visit


bottom of page