Diane L. (Huntsville, AL)
Titanic meets Island of the Blue Dolphin
What was disappointing to me was the predictability of this plot.
Trudy is a highly educated young woman at the turn of the century who begins to become self aware that the planned course of her life (finish college, then scrap that and get married to a nice but stolid, unimaginative young man) is more constrictive than she would like. Enter Oskar, a passionate, brilliant romantic who has prescient ideas about the future. Does any of this sound familiar?
Of course Trudy ditches the seemingly looming boredom of her life and latches her fate with Oskar. He has obtained a job as a lighthouse keeper off the remote coast of California. This position is attractive to Oskar because he will have plenty of quiet time to work out his latest great idea. Although it is because of Oskar they make this leap into the unknown, it is Trudy who falls in love with the island.
Initially Trudy thinks that she, her husband and another family are the only occupants on the island. Then mysterious homemade gifts begin to appear for Trudy. The children have been telling her stories about a "mermaid" that Trudy has initially put down as over-imaginative minds. But, could there be some truth to their tales? Enter The Island of the Blue Dolphin.
These two stories crash together in a predictable climax. Although this story is nicely written, it's not worth more than a casual read.
Mary M. (Lexington, KY)
An unusual book, not at all what I expected.
The book takes place at an isolated lighthouse.
Christina Schwarz did a good job of describing the time and place. Maybe too good because I felt the book was as gloomy as the location.
For me there was too much emphasis on the marine life. At times I felt I was reading a text book.
None of the characters with the exception of Helen were very likable. I wish her character had been more developed.
I did not like this book and would not recommend it. However it might be a good choice for book clubs. There were a lot of things that happened that would make for good discussions.
Shaun D. (Woodridge, IL)
The Edge of the Earth
I think people who will best like this book will be those who've read others by Christina Schwarz as they'll be familiar with the seemingly slow pace that gradually builds to an interesting conclusion. Those unfamiliar with her work might give up too soon, not realizing that Schwarz likes to build to an eventual surprise ending. Although those who have previously read Schwarz may wonder about the use of water and resultant drowning used again in this new book. I liked the book, I didn't love it. Like her prior works the female characters seemed more developed, more interesting than the men. My favorite of hers remains 'Drowning Ruth'. I would recommend sticking with the characters in TEOTE as the end has a nice surprise and a satisfying conclusion for the protagonist.
Gigi K. (Lufkin,, TX)
Simply haunting and not even about Halloween
The writing style of this author kept me wanting to read more. How can you really know someone until after you are married. What you see is not always what you get. This story feels haunting as you read it and the ending left me wanting to say, "wait, wait". Think it would make a great read for my book club here in Lufkin, TX.
Pamela S. (Winnetka, CA)
The Edge of the Earth is easy to read and moves along swiftly. It was interesting to read how people would live in such an out of the way place & to learn what goes into attending a lighthouse. I found myself liking Trudy for she was interested in learning about her new environment so different from her previous & the people there. I wasn't was particularly fond of her husband Oskar. Overall I enjoyed the book.
Hazel R. (North Eastham, MA)
Exciting Novel, or Tedious Anthropological Journal?
Don't judge a book by its back cover. Noted to be "gorgeously detailed, swiftly paced . . . magical", this novel is somewhat of a disappointment, little more than an isolated woman's journal of unfamiliar shore life and small family dramas. Secrets do come to life, and the pace picks up for the last quarter of the book, but you might find yourself hard pressed to justify Trudy's tolerance of her paternalistic, condescending husband, even in the historical context of a century past. The inaccessibility of the light station was well described, but the wild beauty of landscapes such as Big Sur was not captured.
This book will appeal to the reader that has patience, and is willing to meander along, quietly observing. Book clubs might consider the relationship of Trudy and Oskar, if it was consistent with the era and the locale, and if the story resonates or disappoints.
Christine P. (Salt Lake City, UT)
The Edge of the Earth
I instantly liked Trudy Swann. She is a woman born in Wisconsin at the end of the 1800s. Trudy marries a dreamer, moves to "the edge of the earth", a lighthouse on the wild Central California coast. This is a life she is unprepared for, but I loved how she adjusts to this new life. Her exposure to the marine life along the coast is an awakening of sorts, a discovery of the kind of person she wants to be. This is a book about women, the power of their friendships, their shared experiences and the strength and knowledge that women take from each other to make life more bearable under harsh conditions. That's what makes this a great book for discussion groups. Once again, Christina Schwarz gives her readers an unforgettable experience.