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The Edge of the Earth: A Novel Paperback – April 22, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (April 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451683707
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451683707
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Guest Review of “Edge of the Earth”

By Kate Alcott

Christina SchwarzKate Alcott

The Edge of the Earth begins with a classic scenario for adventure or disaster: a restless young woman in 1897 Milwaukee, hungry for experience, chafes at the idea of marrying predictably and living a comfortably predictable life – so she marries a dreamer, another restless soul – and off they go to ---what?

This is where Christina Schwarz’s outstanding novel swoops into refreshingly new territory. She invites us into the lives of the young couple, Trudy and Oskar, as they arrive to work at a lonely, rugged lighthouse above the forbidding cliffs of Point Lucia, California – an isolated spot filled with marine life that few have seen before and, perhaps, a mermaid.

The only other inhabitants of the lighthouse are the sturdy members of the Crawley family, including three children living wild and free. Mrs. Crawley kindly but quickly strips away for Trudy any illusion that, at the lighthouse, there is a use for fancy tablecloths – or anything else from her former privileged existence. The human secrets begin to emerge – and as you learn what they are, you will almost hear the shouts of the children and the crashing waves. And then….

But wait. This isn’t just an adventure story. What is the truth about Point Lucia?

Though Trudy is slowly drawn to nature, collecting marine samples, studying artifacts, finding excitement in documenting the creatures within a tide pool, the real heart of her experience lies with one major discovery: that of a strange creature who lives hidden in the rocks above the crashing surf.

That discovery slowly cuts between Trudy and Oskar – who, more than they realize, are indeed poised on the edge of the earth they know. It is a convergence of discovery with the grasping need to possess that takes us into the dark, eager heart of an emerging capitalist America.

In short, it’s not just about a marriage and an isolated lighthouse. This book explores the turn-of-the-century American psyche- what is won, what is lost – when, inevitably, everything changes. Once you step onto that lonely outpost, surrounded by the sea and all the mysteries within, you are immersed. Inhale deeply – you are there, caught in the roiling energy of passion, regret, loss – and always the sea. In short, The Edge of the Earth is a bold and original story that goes beyond self-discovery.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In turn-of-the-century Milwaukee, the lovely, refined Gertrude Swann has a well-planned future with a well-connected fiancé and a well-stocked trousseau. But when a distant cousin breezes into town, she finds herself married and living on the remote coast of California with a man she realizes she barely knows. Her new husband has taken the post of assistant lighthouse keeper, and their only companions are the family of the chief keeper, including his four children. It’s a difficult transition, eating canned food and living in rustic conditions, but Trudy finds that her new life has unexpected rewards. Shedding her corsets along with her leisure, she begins teaching the children and studying the marine life of the coast. The discovery of an Indian woman living nearby tests the values and priorities of all the members of their small community. 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. --Lynn Weber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Love the characters, and well written.
Renee C. Lennon
Once you start reading this book you will not want to put it down!
misfit
Her characters are richly detailed and realistic.
JMK

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Koch VINE VOICE on April 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Trudy is very smart and has a bright future ahead of her. Her family can almost hear the wedding bells ringing for Trudy. There is just one problem. They did not expect Trudy to fall for a guy like Oskar.

Trudy and Oskar move away and accept a job at a lighthouse. Trudy becomes a teacher to the Crawley children. The other family that lives at the lighthouse. Whereas Oskar is fascinated by his inventions and electricity. Oskar finds a cave and a mysterious woman living in it. He finds her intriguing.

What a story. I was not in love with this book but I did like it. The first half I kind of struggled to get to the half way point. I just was not connecting with any of the characters and found the story moving at a slow pace. I admit that I even found the children annoying in the beginning. However the second half of the book told a better tale.

I got into the story better then as more was happening. The mysterious woman in the cave I really liked. What I identified the most with Christina Schwarz is her descriptive writing. This was both a plus and negative. Plus because I liked the detail as it helped me fully see the world and the story she was telling. On the other hand for the negative this is part of why I found the first half to be so slow because of a lot of the details. Overall I did find this book to be a good one.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By JMK on April 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Schwarz writes beautifully, using metaphors and descriptive language that one notices and remembers. Her characters are richly detailed and realistic. They remind me of people I have known. Schwarz also gives the book a strong sense of time and place, drawing vivid scenes of both Trudi's life in Wisconsin and its contrast to the new landscape and life she experiences in Point Lucia, California. It is fun to live in each of Trudi's worlds for a while, and Schwarz's writing really transports. Additionally, the book raises interesting questions about choices we can make about how to live our lives: new experiences offering excitement and passion, versus the comfort and safety of the life we might expect for ourselves.

Schwarz is not merely an excellent writer. She is also a masterful storyteller. Sometimes well-written books require one to be satisfied with admiring and appreciating the writer's beautiful language. Yet who doesn't enjoy a great page-turner? Here, Schwarz has accomplished the unusual feat of writing a compelling story full of literary riches.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Pam Asberry on July 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A fascinating story with enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!

It is impossible not to admire our heroine, Trudy, who is sacrifices her home, friends and family to seek a life of adventure with the charming but troubled Oskar. At first, she is overwhelmed with the isolation of her surroundings, homesickness, and concerns over her husband's increasingly erratic behavior. But as time goes by, she becomes accustomed to the rhythm of the days and begins to lets go of the conventions of her former life. Eventually, she comes to befriend the Crawleys and becomes their children's teacher, helping them learn to read, write and do sums. In turn, they teach her about the sea creatures that surround them. Together, they begin to identify and catalogue the rich variety of flora and fauna.

As time goes by, Trudy begins to understand that her husband nothing but a dreamer with great ideas but lack of ability to see his projects through from beginning to end. When he comes up with a scheme to achieve fame through the exploitation of a native woman who lives in a cave nearby, Trudy is forced to choose between the man she loves and doing what she believes is right. Her last-minute decision affects the lives of everyone on the island and irrevocably changes the course of her own life.

This book has it all: history, science, romance, suspense, an irresistible setting and a great cast of characters. It will transport you far away from your everyday life and keep you turning the pages, reluctant to return when you reach the end. Five stars! Recommended!

NOTE: I received a copy of this book for FREE in exchange for a written review.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By SJA on July 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is the most beautiful book I've read in a long time. I love the way Christina Schwarz writes--love her characters and the way she captures a sense of place, love the lyricism of her prose. And her books surprise me, which is always a delight.

I had the good fortune to read this book as I was taking a road trip on the coast from Southern California to Northern Oregon. It was rainy and foggy; it was sunny and bright--that coast is just magical and Schwarz captures it perfectly in the book. The landscape and the weather there are mercurial and moody; one gets the sense that mystical things are afoot and that anything could happen.

In The Edge of the Earth, mystical magical things do happen. I don't want to write too much about the plot because it's filled with juicy surprises and I don't want to give anything away. Suffice it to say that you'll care about the characters--(and even better, because Schwarz is such a good writer, you'll feel like you recognize a lot of them); you'll get hooked into the plot; you'll feel like you're in that rocky, lonely landscape; and you'll be inspired and fulfilled by the perfect use of language.

I was touched by this book, moved by the ending so much that I got teary. What a wonderful book, what a pleasure and a privilege to read. If you like literary books that read as easily as a romance novel, I think you'll really like this book.
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