Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Edge of Lost

The Edge of Lost
by Kristina McMorris

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:  On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz.  A prison guard's only daughter-one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island-has gone missing.  Tending the warden's greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously.  Only he knows the truth about the little girl's whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search's outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs.  Talented and shrew, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America.  The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorries delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay.  As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell-and believe-in order to survive.
from the book jacket

Review:  This book was not quite what I expected.  I thought there was going to be more a mystery in this book and there really wasn't any at all.  That did not detract from my enjoyment of the book, however, as I am a fan of historical fiction.  The book takes place between the 1920s and 1930s which is not a time frame I have read much about.  The book starts off with a short prologue about Tommy Capello on Alcatraz and a little girl who has gone missing.  Then the book jumps back in time and tells us about Shanley's life in Ireland.  I had no idea the connection between the two people and the first few chapters about Shanley's life were slow so I was a bit frustrated by the book.  As Shanley travels to America and his subsequent life there develops, I became much more involved in the book and Shan worked his way into my heart.  He was such a sympathetic character because of the tough life that he had led.  Without giving too much away, Shan is taken under the wing of an Italian family and his life improves greatly.  The story continues through Shan's childhood, teenage years and early adulthood.  We see love, compassion, jealousy, loyalty, friendship, trust, betrayal, and sacrifice all in one book.  This was a good read and one that I enjoyed but it is not one that stuck with me after I finished it.

Rating: 4 stars

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