Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Edge of the Earth by Christina Schwarz

This novel takes place on Point Lucia, California.   In 1898, Trudy moves from Milwaukee to Point Lucia with her new husband Oskar, to become one of three lighthouse keepers on a remote spot of California coast.  Way out of her comfort zone, Trudy struggles to adjust to a life where she has no privacy, eats out of tin cans, and is thrust into the position of teacher to the Crawley children.  Oskar's zest for life and adventure has brought them to this place, how will she be happy?

Christina Schwarz writes beautifully; I found myself smelling the ocean, wading through thick fog, and dazzled by the blues and greens of the coast.  Trudy is a woman who knows she did the right thing leaving her old life behind, but uncertain of how to make a new life on Point Lucia.  The Crawley children are instrumental in pointing Trudy towards what will become her passion:  the tidal pools that form near the beach.  Trudy's natural ability to draw and her skill at observation both become her saving grace.  

But there's more to this story, of course.  Oskar keeps struggling to find a new and innovative way to make himself famous; the children talk about the "mermaid" that leaves them gifts and lives in a cave.  And there is the small cairn which holds the body of a small child.  The story unfolds over a one year period towards a nail biting conclusion that is not what you expect when you first pick up this book.  

I liked this book, even though it turned out to be not at all what I expected.  I thought it would be about a husband and wife, isolated in a lighthouse, and something terrible happens to one or both.  This is much more!  It really is a love story between a woman and nature.  And it reminded me of a favorite book that I adored as a child:  

I would spend so much time pouring over this book, trying to imitate the drawings of Pagoo, the hermit crab.  It's a perfect book for any child who's interested in the sea, tidal pools, or the beach.  

Rating:  7/10 for a book that was completely different than what I expected--in a good way.  The writing is beautifully expressive and will have you yearning to visit a lighthouse and experience the beauty of the ocean.  

Available in paperback, e-book, audio book, and hardcover.

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