Date: November 24th 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Own book
On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.
Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.
The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris gripped my attention right from the beginning and never at any point did it slip. I fell in love with Shanley and many of the people that he connects with. The story begins on Alcatraz in 1937 where a child is lost and a prisoner is preparing to escape and then moves back a couple of decades into 1919, Dublin, Ireland. We first meet Shanley as an almost penniless urchin in the care of his uncle. His mother is dead and his father unknown.
Shan was a character I really liked. He knew tough times, and was often standing on the edge of darkness and loss. His heart was kind and this shone through time after time. Sometimes he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and his luck turned. But then again there were times when there were others there to lend him a hand and set him going forwards.
When he is left stranded on the wharf in New York the Capello family are there for him, and become family for him. He had befriended Nick their son on board and it turned out to be very fortuitous. This friendship would see many ups and downs, loyalty and trust tested, and interesting dynamics in the relationship. I loved how Shan related to Mr and Mrs Capello and Lina the daughter.
Many of the characters carry secrets, there are many twists and turns in the plot, and I don't want to discuss too much because that would take away the pleasure from the reading for someone just taking up the book. It is a story of second chances, love, forgiveness and redemption. It is also about generosity and compassion. And for sure the seedier side of life shows through.
There were a few surprises along the way, at some point in the story I knew who the prisoner was that we first met, but how that person got there was a mystery to wait upon to be revealed. The climax was tense and I wanted to close my eyes and jump a few pages! Perhaps it ended a little too tidily some might say, however I found it very satisfying, and loved how the story circled around itself and even with one element having a bittersweet mirror image.
Loved this story.
This is one of the She Reads selected books of winter 2016.
Visit the She Reads' Page to read more about the
other books for this winter.