Audiobook Review: THE EDGE OF LOST by Kristina McMorris

51xq96dh05L._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_

If you follow me regularly, you might remember that back in December I was part of a Historical Fiction Book Blast for THE EDGE OF LOST by Kristina McMorris. The book sounded so good I put it on my TBR list!

Here’s the overview:

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 shrewd, 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 McMorris 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.

******************************

There’s a lot going on in this novel — from Ireland to coming to America to NYC to Alcatraz. Shan/Tommy goes from being a poor child immigrant with no family, to being part of an Italian clan, to trying to make a solid adult existence for himself, to ending up in Alcatraz. I enjoyed reading his journey along the way. Ms. McMorris’s writing kept me engaged and I felt connected to Shan, especially when things were not going his way! While I would have loved even more scenes/details about his life in Alcatraz (Alcatraz was my 5th grade field trip!), the book is already over 300 pages, so I am guessing that she needed to keep it trim.

With themes of forgiveness, self-fulfillment, and the undying bonds of family, THE EDGE OF LOST is a great read and one that lovers of historical fiction will enjoy.

The Audiobook is just under 11 hours and is read by Charlie Thurston. He did an amazing job because this book has Irish accents, New York accents, “gangster accents” (if you know what I mean), Italian accents, and voices that are male, female, and child. It must have been a task to do it and do it well!

I purchased mine from Audible.

Review: The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson

Through Net Galley I got a copy of “The Underside of Joy” to review. This is the debut novel of Sere Prince Halverson and I enjoyed it a lot.

When Ella Beene’s husband Joe dies tragically, Ella plans to continue her life with the family store and as stepmother to Joe’s two young children. But soon their absent biological mother shows up, and she wants to be part of their lives. Ella is torn between holding on to the children she has called her own, while trying to reconcile the presence of their biological mother, who she was told had abandoned them. Ella soon learns that Joe did not share everything with her, and she struggles to find the truth and make the right choices for her and her family.

This was a fascinating book as the main moral dilemma was just that: a dilemma. Paige, the biological mother, was not evil incarnate. Ella, the protagonist, was not perfect. I found myself often asking: what would I do in this situation? While the story concluded quickly, I felt it was well-written and compelling. Additionally, there was interesting information on postpartum extreme depression (actually psychosis I believe it would qualify as) and also internment camps for Italian-Americans during WWII (I’m IA and this was new to me).

This book came out this month – I recommend it!

Thanks to Net Galley and Dutton Publishers for my copy!