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At the Edge of the Sea Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Generic chick lit? It is anything but! It's not obvious by the cover or the book information above but I recognized about 25% in that it might have been inspired by "Pride & Prejudice." Though not blatant--different names and scenarios--the male & female protagonists, Lizzy & Billy Ray, do seem to have a little too much pride as well as prejudice...and through out the novel, there are little nods to that timeless masterpiece. Everyone knows Lizzy’s bad reputation and won’t let her forget it. But in the summer of 1959, when Billy Ray Davenport, son of preacher arrives in her small Southern town, they become friends--better than friends--before he heads off to medical school. Told from Billy Ray's POV, with the primary story from 1959-1961, we see how each recognizes the value of the person--and not what society demands. I'm just sorry I waited so long to read this Smart, Poignant, Timeless, and Heart-pounding love story.
As related in other reviews this story is told from Billy Ray Davenport's POV. And as expected, he knows his scripture, he has listened and taken to heart many of his itinerate preacher father's sermons and words to live by...especially, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Billy Ray has to use that verse to correct his own social blunder in repeating small town gossip AND (like Darcy in P&P) being overheard by the person the gossip concerns. Please do not think this tale is a Bible heavy sermon, it does use scripture, but it is in terms of Billy Ray applying correction and insight and guidance in his life and then to help Lizzy make some changes, with a heavy emphasis on knowing herself and accepting/forgiving herself and growing from there. Wisely, he allows her the time to do so.
I, like Meredith, had tears more than once, but had to keep reading through blurry eyes as I was totally drawn in and read this in one day. This has a lot of angst in the relationship. Billy Ray's father, with whom he is very close (the mother died by drowning years ago) has made a judgment about this fallen girl (Tsk! Tsk!) and expresses his disappointment when coming upon Billy with his arm around Lizzy’s shoulders. Billy is a college grad, interning with a small town Dr. before going off to medical school. Any attachments might derail this plan. Lizzy is a girl who will act just as you judge her to be – to throw your opinion in your face.
I loved making the connections in the characters from this story to those in P&P. We almost immediately meet Charles and his girl, Jeannie Quinlan, who is one of 5 girls. Then there is his viper of a sister, Marlene, who clings to Billy Ray and makes snide comments about all and any in their town. A med school friend, Richard, comes to Bill’s rescue and gives words of advice all his own…like a certain Colonel I like in P&P. Mrs. Gardener plays a big part with her herbal concoctions and words of advice - it was like meeting old friends. But do not think you can be complaisant in your expectations about these characters. The author has her own roles for each to play.
Billy Ray may be a gentlemanly old-fashioned character but he is a man and like any other human man, his body does react to temptations. He is well read so thinks he knows how it works but he is an innocent. In this experience there were some humorous descriptions and "scenes implanted on his retinas". Elizabeth has a few lessons to give him but whoa, Nelly! He...well, I must stop and allow you to read as Bill tells us all about the conflicts of body and soul here.
This tale is set in the late 50's and early 60's (my own time for coming of age, also) and we read a little of the sexual revolution and of the creation of "the pill" and also of double standards as feminism was just coming into its infancy. This book may be a “sleeper” – only 9 reviews on Amazon but it deserves so much more attention. I hope that is not a reflection of how sales have gone for this book, as although it is a little different from the usual premise I enjoy (I like escapism) with some sad events, harsh realities and life struggles it is one that should be widely read. So please do read…you may be surprised and pleased.
In Pride and Prejudice,Darcy and Elizabeth are separated by social standing, upbringing, and wealth - in At the Edge of the Sea, Karen Cox creates an even bigger chasm between her principal characters by making Billy Ray the son of an evangelist preacher and Lizzy Quinlan the town's "sadder but wiser girl" with a reputation for being "fast and loose." Taking us back to the summer 1959, Karen Cox tells the story of a young man and how his decision to show compassion to another person changes him, changes her, and changes the course of their lives.
Oh my! There was so much I adored and admired about this novel! I loved that this coming-of-age story is about a young man's transformation into adulthood, and that we see the whole novel from his perspective. What a refreshing change! I deeply enjoyed the characters in this novel, especially Lizzy and Billy Ray, whom I felt a lot a strong sense of connect and empathy towards. They are both such strong, admirable characters, and I loved witnessing their inner battles, discovery of self, healing, and personal growth. In addition, I greatly enjoyed the time period and setting; I thought Karen Cox did marvelous job of capturing the tone and social climate of this revolutionary era. And lastly, I loved that this book made me feel like I was on an emotional journey with the characters - experiencing their joyful highs and despairing lows, engaging me in such a way that I would frequently laugh, sigh, and feel tears well up in my eyes.
As you might guess, I most definitely enjoyed finding all the subtle connecting links to Pride and Prejudice peppered throughout this story. Billy Ray's got Darcy written all over him with his reserved manner, fastidious nature, and responsible demeanor. And although Lizzy Quinlan's got a bad reputation and prickly temperament, she puts one in mind of Elizabeth Bennet with her spiritedness, independent attitude, and penchant for teasing. Other recognizable personalities include Miss Bingley, Lydia Bennet, Mr. Bennet, and Mrs. Gardiner - all who I greatly enjoyed. I also loved spotting the clever inclusions of familiar Pride and Prejudice events like the overheard insult, refused proposal, sister in need of rescue, and truth-bearing letter.
I was utterly charmed and enthralled by this novel! Having read the other two superb Austenesque novels by Karen Cox, I knew I could expect a high-caliber story rich with dynamic characters, intelligent insights, and evocative prose. At the Edge of the Sea is a poignant and expressive love story that should not be missed! I highly recommend!
*Because of the inclusion of a few intimate scenes, I'd recommend this book for Mature Audiences only.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
1. the cover looks kitschy, as if it was only meant for a summer read;