THE EDGE OF THE EARTH by Christina Schwarz

Book review: The Edge of the Earth

Christina Schwarz
Atria Books, 288 pages

Hardback, $25.00, various e-readers, audio

Blurb from the publisher:  
 Trudy is a polished, college-educated young woman from a respectable upper middle-class family, and it’s only a matter of time before she’ll marry Ernst, the son of her parents’ closest friends. All should be well in her world, and yet Trudy is restless and desperate for more stimulation than 1897 Milwaukee will allow. When she falls in love with enigmatic and ambitious Oskar, she believes she’s found her escape from the banality of her pre-ordained life. Alienated from Trudy’s family and friends, the couple moves across the country to take a job at a lighthouse in the eerily isolated Point Lucia, California. Upon arriving they meet the light station’s only inhabitants—the Crawleys, a family whose plain appearance is no indication of what lies below the surface. It isn’t long before Trudy begins to realize that there is more going on in this seemingly empty place than she could ever have imagined.

Gorgeously detailed, swiftly paced, and anchored in the lush geography of the remote and eternally mesmerizing Big Sur, "The Edge of the Earth" is a magical and moving story of secrets and self-transformation, ruses and rebirths, masterfully told by a celebrated and accomplished author.

Trudy led a well ordered life, her future had been laid out before her, with her life plans as clearly structured as the roads on a map.  Until she decides to marry the "unknown factor" in her life,the cousin of her fiance, Oskar Swann.   They quickly pack up and move to Point Lucia in northern California, just so you know, as a reference, Point Lucia is now known as Big Sur. 

Pay attention to the first chapter, as author Christina Schwarz gives us a few bits from the world of 1977, as elderly Jane, and her grandson Danny, visit a lighthouse because of Danny's interest in marine biology.  It's a great reader "grab" and I think it's a perfectly brilliant first chapter!  All of the elements are there, you are drawn into action, both current and past, and the characters' story provide enough intrigue that you want to keep reading the mystery of how the story of Trudy Swann and Jane, and her family, the Crawleys, are woven into this story from so long ago.

Schwarz's descriptions and details of the area are just gorgeous!  And they are spot on! I love a book that is clearly placed in a spot the author somehow knows. I know the area and the history of the lighthouse and Schwarz did their legacy proud. I know the smells and sounds of the area, and Schwarz brought them all to me.

In a desolate area the personalities, strengths and weaknesses of those who live there, quickly come to the surface.  Schwarz wastes no time showing the reader the truths and the shadowy areas of these people. Her subtle shading of the traits of Oskar, Trudy and the other adults become clear when all are given the option to do the right thing and decisions are made.

I could go on and on about The Edge of the Earth, I think it's a well layered and intriguing story. People aren't always as they appear and there's enough of a mystery to make you keep turning the pages. I really loved it, it's one my favorite reads so far this year. I'll buy it, it's one that I'll give as a gift.

The Edge of the Earth is about people, opportunities and the choices they make. In other words, it's about life. The placement of the story close to 100 years ago doesn't change the moral and human choices, it just brings home the fact that we all must respect people's lives and their choice of how to live in their own world.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.  That's about as high as I can rate a book. Go read it. Now.

**This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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