The Edge of the Earth: Book summary and reviews of The Edge of the Earth by Christina Schwarz

The Edge of the Earth

by Christina Schwarz

The Edge of the Earth
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2013
    288 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Polished, well-educated Trudy can argue Kant over dinner and play a respectable portion of Mozart's Serenade in G major. Her parents have laid out a lovely future for her, and everyone understands that it's only a matter of time before she marries the son of their closest friends. All should be well in her world, and yet Trudy is restless, and desperate for more stimulation than 1890s 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 Point Lucia, California - an unnervingly isolated outcropping, trapped between the ocean and hundreds of miles of inaccessible wilderness. They meet the light station's only inhabitants - the formidable and guarded Crawleys. In this unfamiliar place, Trudy will find that nothing is as she might have predicted, especially after she discovers what hides among the rocks.

Gorgeously detailed, swiftly paced, and anchored in the dramatic geography of the remote and eternally mesmerizing Big Sur, The Edge of the Earth is a magical story of secrets and self-transformation, ruses and rebirths. Christina Schwarz, celebrated for her rich evocation of place and vivid, unpredictable characters, has sup another haunting and unforgettable tale.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This novel is a wonderful story and a deep meditation on the meaning of work and knowledge. It's also a compelling imagining of its time and place, making it a good choice for lovers of historical fiction." - Booklist

"The disconcertingly abrupt tragedy that concludes this plot thread is disruptive, but fortunately, it doesn't detract too much from an otherwise compelling period story." - Publishers Weekly

"Strong characters and plotting - including a nifty final twist involving Jane - maintain the interest in a rather slowly paced narrative." - Kirkus

"A gripping story." - Kate Alcott, bestselling author of The Dressmaker

"Schwarz is a masterful storyteller." - Laura Moriarty, bestselling author of The Chaperone

The information about The Edge of the Earth shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Rosemary K. (Saginaw, MI)

a book indeed with an edge
Christina Schwarz's exquisite The Edge of the Earth relates the story of Trudy Swann, who travels to a remote California lighthouse in the very late 1800's. As Trudy assists her not-particularly-likable husband Oskar with the operation of the lighthouse, she also begins teaching the local (rather incorrigible) children.

The plot includes a grim mystery: the tangled tale has some elements of fantasy. The author's skillful storytelling keeps the reader enthralled. I read slowly, savoring.

A particular bonus of this book is its wondrous descriptions of sea animals and plants that Trudy finds as she explores the terrain of her new surroundings. (This puts me in mind of Tracy Chevalier's Remarkable Creatures, a book I also treasure.)

The Edge of the Earth is unique and gripping; I highly recommend it.

Barbara L. (Mill Valley, CA)

The Edge of the Earth
"Like countless others before us, we believed that we alone understood the dictates of love." This quote from "The Edge of the Earth" describes beautifully young Trudy and Oskar Swann as they travel to their new married life at a remote lighthouse off the coast of California, eager to escape the restrictions of a complacent life in Milwaukee. i think the readers will relate to their early romantic illusions as to what life will be like when they are free to live without conventions, while knowingly understanding that young love is sometimes not all that is needed to survive and endure. The secrets revealed slowly over the pages keeps one enthralled and dying to know what is really going on on that lonely island.

Lydia M. (Lakeview, Oregon)

It filled up my senses...
This novel taps into all sensory receptors. One can "feel" the sting of the ocean sprays and the driving rain. "Taste" the salt ever present in the air. The sweep of the powerful light searching the ocean for ships can be "seen" in the mind's eye. It also evokes emotions ranging from joy in the sense of adventure and early bonds formed from a fledgling relationship and anger unfairness felt from the dismissal of a woman's intelligence and her sense of right and wrong.
I can honestly say that this story resonated in me so powerfully that it will take a place in my "inner library" that few novels have found a permanent home within. I walked with the character "Trudy" as she sought to find a home physically, emotionally and intellectually among the rocks and ever present dangers in her Point Lucia lighthouse home. I felt apprehension so acute as the final pages approached that it became almost impossible to continue.
I now stand and offer my applause and admiration to Christina Schwarz for giving me this unforgettable opportunity within these pages to travel to "The Edge of the Earth".

Janet P. (Houston, TX)

Choices and Consequences
When an old woman returns to the place of her birth, she reminisces about the past, about the delights of childhood and the challenges of living on a peninsula off the northern California Coast. in Christinia Schwarz' novel "THE EDGE OF THE EARTH", an inherited manuscript takes the reader to the 1890's through the eyes of Gertrude Swann, early marine biologist and lighthouse-keeper. When Trudy breaks ties with her family to marry young visionary Oskar, she cannot foresee her future. The difficulties of Mother Nature in the form of cold, wind, rain, ice, relentless waves, isolation and rocky cliffs parallel the challenges of human nature as Trudy and Oskar struggle to find balance in their marriage. The addition of an unexpected family on the premises when they arrive at Santa Lucia and a strange figure at a distance will keep the reader engaged in the well-detailed plot and enchanted by the beautiful imagery.

Elaine M. (Beaver Falls, PA) Lighthouse Traveler

The Edge of the Earth
In 1890, Trudy Swann and her husband leave Milwaukee and travel to California's Big Sur country to tend to the Point Lucia Lighthouse.

The author writes this realistic story with such vivid details, that you feel you are experiencing the isolation, trials , and adventures with the characters.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical and adventure fiction.

Besides the adventures, the characters' interactions and the geographical setting would be perfect for a bookclub discussions.

Mary S. (Pinson, AL)

The Edge of the Earth
This was another excellent book by Christina Schwarz. I loved the imagery, I could almost hear the waves crashing against the rocks and feel the cold wind blowing off the ocean. This story is filled with secrets and surprises that will keep you reading late into the night.

...51 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Christina Schwarz Author Biography

Photograph by Deone Jahnke

Christina Schwarz was raised in southern Wisconsin on farmland that has been in her family for generations. She has a B.A. and M.A. in English from Yale. Christina taught high school English while she was working on her first novel, Drowning Ruth, which was published in 2000 and was selected for Oprah's book club in September 2000. Her novels range from modern satire (All Is Vanity) to the chronicle of a contemporary marriage (So Long At the Fair) to gothic drama set in the past (Drowning Ruth). Her latest work, The Edge of the Earth is a return to a historical setting and a mysterious plot line.

In addition to Wisconsin, she has lived in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, England, New York City, Boston, and New Hampshire. She now lives in southern California, with her family of ...

... Full Biography

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  • All Is Vanity jacket
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