February 4, 2016

The Edge of Lost. Kristina McMorris

book cover
The Edge of Lost
Kristina McMorris
Published: Kensington
Date: November 24th 2015
Format: Kindle
Pages: 352
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Own book
4.5 stars                           Add to Goodreads
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.
My thoughts banner
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.

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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. 

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  1. Okay, I'm off to check on this book and She Reads!

  2. Great review Kathryn! I loved this novel and how it 'circled around'.

  3. Great review Kathryn The Edge of Lost made my best of list in 2015. I just adore Kristina's novels always so poignant and Shan's story was especially so. There are so many fateful things going on in it. I'm going to check out She Reads

  4. I also loved this book! My review will be up this week. The only thing that kept it from being a 5 star was related to what you touched upon with the ending being a bit tidy :)

  5. Awesome review....I am so jealous.

    I so want to read this book.

    THANKS so much for your thoughts, Kathryn.

  6. This sounds fantastic! For this kind of emotional read I'm okay with an ending that seems tidy. When I'm really emotionally invested I want everything tied up in a nice little bow! I'll definitely be adding this to my TBR.

  7. Sounds good, I wonder how they connect in the end

  8. Very tempting...I do love books with secrets, as well as twists and turns. Thanks for sharing.

  9. So far I've read only good reviews of this one. It's on my must-read list now. Such a compelling storyline!

  10. This sounds like a wonderful story; I don't mind tidy endings - I like them a LOT better than open ends or ends that make no sense at all! :)

  11. My first time here and I sure like what I see! Lovely blog, thoughtful review. Nicely done!

  12. I read about this story around and it sounds really amazing. I also listen to an interview with the author and sounded like she did a lot of reserch and was very involved with the story.
    I will seek it out :-)

    1. Her research is amazing as I just discovered with the Bridge of Scarlet Leaves.


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