All too often I run across an author I’m unfamiliar with and wonder how I could possibly not have known about this person’s work. That happened when I did some research after seeing the publisher’s description for bestselling and award-winning author Kristina McMorris’ latest historical novel, The Edge of Lost. Now I know logically that it’s impossible to keep up with every book published, even for a confirmed bookaholic like me, but it still surprises me for some reason. And after I read The Edge of Lost – well, let’s just say I’ve got a new favorite author to add to my stack. This is an immigration story of loss, betrayal, and redemption – a story about what truly makes up a family. The author autographed a copy for me, and sent me a compass necklace, both of which I’m featuring in a pay-it-forward giveaway that one of you will win!
The Edge of Lost opens with a 1937 scene set on Alcatraz Island. A prison guard’s daughter has gone missing and prison staff are frantically combing the island for her, fearing the worst. A convicted bank robber of Italian descent who works in the warden’s garden is waiting out the search anxiously, believing his fate and the fate of this small child hang in the balance.
Then in an abrupt shift, we are taken 20 years backward across the ocean to Ireland. There we are introduced to a young boy named Shanley “Shan” Keagan. Shan is very talented and has developed a vaudeville comedy act based on recordings he’s heard and things he’s observed. He’s eking out a living performing at local Dublin pubs.
Shan’s mom has recently passed away, so he’s been left in his uncle’s care. But Shan’s his fervent dream is to get to America to find his real father, a man in the American Navy who promised his mom that he’d come back for them or send for them one day. When Shan’s uncle learns there’s much more money to be made in New York for talented vaudeville comedians, he finally agrees to them taking a ship there. Unfortunately Shan’s uncle passes away before the ship even docks, leaving Shan a penniless orphan with a huge problem. Orphans are said to be turned away at Ellis Island.
And that’s when Shan’s generosity and cleverness save him. He had saved a young Italian boy from a beating, or quite likely much worse, one night on-board the ship. Now he appealed to that boy for help to somehow get through customs and into New York, where Shan is sure he can find his father. Shan’s good deed and the boy’s agreement to honor the debt will change Shan’s life in ways he could not have comprehended in this land so different from the rural Ireland he’s known for his short life.
The “saved” boy’s family, what becomes of Shan in the years that follow during Prohibition and the Great Depression, and how all of that ties into something that happens on Alcatraz Island 20 years in the future will have to be something you experience as the reader. I’m not providing any more spoilers because it wouldn’t be fair to you, and some things you may think are spoilers above may not be at all. This story unfolds very beautifully and naturally, and sometimes heartbreakingly and tragically; however, the life journey, with all of its ups and downs, is always leading to that fateful night on Alcatraz.
Shan is a wonderful kid, a good kid, and he grows into a good man…and that’s all I’m going to say about him. There are other equally wonderful characters and a few villains; however, even the villains are fully drawn. All of the characters have a great depth to them, even anyone who might seem like a villain at the time. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll find more than one character who will steal your heart in this novel.
I know I keep using the word “wonderful” in this review but it fits because Kristina McMorris really has written a really wonderful story in The Edge of Lost. I got so wrapped up in the characters’ lives that it was not just hard to put it down when it ended but I kept thinking about them and the choices they had made for days afterward. Maybe one reason that was true was that the author didn’t pull any punches. This is not some fairy tale. It is very real. Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes good deeds are rewarded and sometimes they are illogically punished – just like in life. If anything, that made it an even more compelling story to read. If The Edge of Lost sounds like your kind of novel then be sure to enter our giveaway or order a copy for your TBR pile.
Can’t wait to read it? The Edge of Lost is available in all formats from your favorite online bookseller below. Just click on a link below so you can start reading it asap.
I’d love to get your comments on The Edge of Nowhere, Kristina McMorris and/or her other work, and/or this review.
One lucky reader will win an autographed trade paperback copy of The Edge of Nowhere by Kristina McMorris as well as a compass necklace!
1) The deadline for entries is Saturday night, 1/23/2016, at 11:59pm EDST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
2) This giveaway is open to entries with U.S. mailing addresses only because we do not ship books outside of the U.S.
3) You must be at least 15 years old to enter this giveaway.
4) You must use the Rafflecopter form. Even if leaving a comment is part of the giveaway, you must use the form in addition to leaving the comment for the comment to count as an entry.
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6) If you do not provide a complete mailing address in the Rafflecopter form, your entry will not be eligible. We will use your mailing address to ship your book to you. Please allow 2-3 weeks for book delivery.
7) That’s it – it’s a very easy giveaway, so have fun and best of luck!