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The Edge of the Earth

by Christina Schwarz

The Edge of the Earth by Christina Schwarz X
The Edge of the Earth by Christina Schwarz
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Nikki M. (Fort Wayne, IN)
    Something is missing...
    This was a quick read and, while parts were very interesting, I just wasn't quite vested in the characters or the story. Perhaps it was all of the "scientific research" of ocean life that was included, but I felt the author's research was over-arching to the story.
  • Mary O. (Boston, MA)
    I love historical fiction and couldn't wait to read this novel. I must say I was disappointed in the character development and the book did not keep me engaged. "Drowning Ruth" is one of my all-time favorites so maybe my expectations were unrealistic.
  • Mary Lou M. (N Royalton, OH)
    Disappointing novel
    Was looking forward to losing myself in "The Edge of the Earth", unfortunately this never happened. The development of the main character, Trudy, definitely something missing here. Previously read "Drowning Ruth" by Christina Schwarz, loved it, this novel does not compare.
  • Bonnie B. (Port St. Lucie,, FL)
    A LIfe Unexpected
    Trudy lives a stable and boring life in Wisconsin. She is planning to marry Ernst but, when when she meets Oskar, she is strongly drawn to him. She decides to marry him instead of Ernst. Together, they go to a light house island in California and Trudy finds out that Oskar is not what he seemed to be. She discovers some wonderful and surprising things on the island.

    I was disappointed with the characterizations. They did not run deeply enough for me. Most of the emotional life of this novel rested on geology and not people.
  • Deborah M. (Chambersburug, PA)
    Very Disappointing
    I remembered liking Schwarz's Drowning Ruth when I read it years ago, so I was looking forward to The Edge of the Earth. Sadly, I was greatly disappointed. Perhaps it's that my reading tastes have changed . . . but I really just don't think this is a very good book. The characters are stereotypes and the plot is predictable; the writing itself is rather pedestrian. Frankly, I had to really push myself to plod through it.

    The novel begins and ends in the present day. An elderly woman, who apparently lived in the now-famous St. Lucia lighthouse years ago, comes to visit with her grandson. As the tourists travel up the path, she prides herself on how much more she knows than their guide, and she launches into the central story. It's 1898, and young Trudy Swann travels with her new husband, Oskar, from Milwaukee to the California coast, where he has taken a job as assistant to the lighthouse keeper. Trudy is suitably naive and, of course, has a talent for science--particularly marine life identification and drawing--that no one has appreciated. As for Oskar, what is meant to be a rebellious nature comes off rather as petulant and spoiled. The family who lives at the lighthouse is, of course, made up of cranky oddballs, but, of course, their crankiness is only there to cover deep, dark family secrets--secrets that really aren't all that surprising. The Crawleys have a hoard of children who are a bit wild but sweet and eager to learn. But they know things that Trudy does not, and they have a collection of strange 'gifts' left to them by 'the mermaid.'

    I won't go into this any further and spoil (if possible) the 'discoveries' for other readers. At this point, I became very irritated with the book--not just because what happens is so irritating (it is), but because it was so predictable and so obviously aimed at tugging at the reader's emotions and making a 'big statement'. (Can you feel the hammer?)

    Another reviewer mentioned that those who enjoy Oprah selections would probably like this book. I'm not one to automatically pan anything Oprah recommends, as some do; in fact, I've enjoyed many of her selections, including Drowning Ruth. But not The Edge of the Earth.

    I might have rated the book a little higher, but I was really irritated that so many better books were waiting while I struggled to finish it.


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