Monday, February 13, 2017

Absorbing and Atmospheric, Historical Novel with Big Sur Setting Makes for a Compelling Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Gertrude "Trudy" Swann knows exactly what to expect from her future.  After graduating from the Milwaukee College for Females, she'll marry sweet, straightforward Ernst, settle into a house not far from her parents', and rear a brood of well-tended children.  It will be a pleasant life, placid and predictable.  If only Trudy could settle for that!  But, no, the 19-year-old longs for adventure, something more than mundane Midwestern married life.  

When Trudy meets Ernst's cousin, Oskar, she's smitten with his charming, ambitious nature.  Despite her family's misgivings, the couple marry and set out on what promises to be a thrilling endeavor in California's rugged, remote Big Sur.  Point Lucia, the untamed island on which Oskar will be working as an assistant lighthouse keeper, is more primitive than the newlyweds ever could have imagined.  The only other people on the island are the Crawleys, an enigmatic family with plenty of secrets.  Immediately taken by the Crawley children, Trudy becomes their teacher, playmate, and co-explorer.  As she and Oskar adjust to their hardscrabble island existence, trouble soon surfaces in paradise.  Between Mrs. Crawley's constant disapproval, Oskar's increasingly unsettling behavior, and a shocking secret hiding in the rocks, Trudy's little adventure will turn into an extraordinary experience destined to change her life forever.

The Edge of the Earth by Christina Schwarz is a quiet, but compelling novel about finding oneself in the most unexpected of places.  Big Sur makes for a vivid, exotic setting.  Details about marine life and lighthouse keeping give the story authenticity without dragging it down.  Trudy, Oskar, and the rest of the cast are complex, intriguing characters.  I definitely wanted to know what was going to happen to them all.  Although The Edge of the Earth tells a sad story, I enjoyed this absorbing novel about the nature of a marriage, the nature of an island, and the nature of a woman on the cusp of discovering the person she is truly meant to be.  

(Readalikes:  Reminded me a little of At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (no F-bombs), violence, and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

3 comments:

  1. Oooo! I'm intrigued! Stop doing that to me. ;)

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  2. It was the lighthouse setting that drew me to this book when I read it; but I ended up only liking it, not loving it. Although now I couldn't tell you why. (Sometimes I suffer from a slight case of bookish amnesia.) :)

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  3. I love characters discovering who they really are and I absolutely adore the cover. It sounds like the book lives up to it in terms of atmosphere. I'll have to add this to my TBR!

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