Sunday, April 23, 2017

TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD





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To the Bright Edge of the World, Eowyn Ivey, Little Brown and Company, 2016, 413pp


Summary from Goodreads: Set again in the Alaskan landscape that she bought to stunningly vivid life in THE SNOW CHILD, Eowyn Ivey's new novel is a breathtaking story of discovery and adventure, set at the end of the nineteenth century, and of a marriage tested by a closely held secret.

Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska's hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. The Wolverine is the key to opening up Alaska and its huge reserves of gold to the outside world, but previous attempts have ended in tragedy.


My Review:
I loved reading this novel so much. I read and deeply enjoyed Eowyn Ivey's first novel, The Snow Child, but her new one feels like the novel she was born to write.

It is a story of journeys, external and internal. Every principle character experiences major changes in their personal world views.

Colonel Allen Forrester leads an expedition into the wilds of Alaska in 1885, sent by the US Army to map and evaluate the territory for a future we now know as our 49th state. His new much younger wife, Sophie, stays behind at Vancouver Barracks in the Oregon Territory, pregnant and alone except for a young housekeeper.

Like any journey worth taking, the book starts off slowly, takes seemingly forever, and is filled with harrowing events and states of wonder.

Blended in is a modern story about two men, distantly related to a member of the expedition and to Sophie, respectively, who both want to preserve their history.

The author clearly did excellent research and some readers may find that too present in the novel, but I felt even during some tedious passages that she enriched me and the story with it. 

As in The Snow Child, she includes some mythical stuff. The man in the black hat who can turn into a crow acts to keep Allen and Sophie connected over distance and time. Allen is gone for almost a year; letters are slow or lost. A native woman who joins the expedition as a guide was once married to a wild animal. I think she might have been my favorite character.

There is much more, but I leave it to readers to discover as I did, the breadth and width of this story.

When two "civilized" people brush against the wilderness, as Allen and Sophie did, change is inevitable. The suspense of their love story almost drove me around the bend by the end. This is a tale as stark and beautiful as the Alaskan wilds and as rewarding as the most romantic love story.


(To the Bright Edge of the World is available in various formats by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)


  

6 comments:

  1. Nicely done! I'm excited about this one since I'm big on exploration types of novels, and my friend in S.F. also liked this one a great deal. It sounds like my cup of tea; I plan to get to this one in 2017! Glad you liked it.

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    1. Thank you Susan. I am so excited for you to read it!

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  2. This sounds like a really fascinating read. And yet again from an author that I didn't know. Thank you for the introduction.

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    1. You are most welcome Dorothy.

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  3. Perhaps I'll read this one as it is a topic similar to the Polar explorations in Minds of Winter, which I read earlier this year and enjoyed a great deal.

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    1. If you do, I hope you like it. It is an amazing story.

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