"Will grab your heart on page one and won't let go until the end."
—Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants
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.
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
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Dublin, IrelandMarch 1919
The foul haze of whiskey and cigarettes was lighter tonight than usual — a shame the same couldn't be said of the mood. Not that this surprised Shanley Keagan. At nearly twelve, he'd performed in enough pubs to understand the patterns in a calendar.
Fridays were a sure bet for nice crowds, men eager to spend their fresh wages. They would sing and laugh with old pals, toasting God's grace shining down upon them. If in an especially generous mood, they'd even buy a round for strangers. And when they were hushed down enough to welcome Shan to the "stage" — sometimes a solid platform, more often a crate from the kitchen — they might mumble over the disruption, trading dirty looks, but by the delivery of his second joke, third at most, they were roaring with laughter, as attentive as parishioners at Easter Mass.
Mondays were the worst of the lot. Even Uncle Will, who was far from choosy when scheduling Shan's shows, knew Mondays were to be avoided. If there was a crowd at all, it was mostly customers addicted to the drink, or veterans just back from the Great War hoping to drown their memories. The few others were brooders in search of refuge from their wives, having no more interest in being nagged about finding a job than in actually doing just that.
Wednesdays, on the other hand — now, those were tough to predict. They could resemble Fridays as easily as Mondays, or fall somewhere in between. And on this particular Wednesday, as Shan stepped onto a splintered crate, he sensed precisely which it was.
Of the dozen patrons seated about, two were passed out at their tables. Up in front a pair of scabby fellows looked deep in conversation with no mind for anything more. The rest stared at Shan, their eyes right quick to judge.
"Hoi, now! Get on with it," ordered a grizzled man from his seat. "Or be Jaysus, bring on the dancing girls!"
Another shot back: "'Tis the closest you'd ever get to seeing a lady in her knickers. Aside from that ugly sister of yours."
Several customers chuckled, egging on a retort.
Shan needed to regain the spotlight before sneers could turn to punches and squelch any chance of a show. Of this he was well aware, even before catching a glimpse of his uncle.
Across the room William O'Mara stood at the bar, scowling between sips of his pint. The freckled skin of his bony face, normally pale next to Shan's dark features, was reddening to the shade of his patchy beard. Perform well, his firm eyes said, or I'll be wise to drop you at an orphanage, where you'll be sleepin' with rats on a dingy floor and eatin' rotten cabbage soup.
The man had spoken these words often enough that Shan could hear them in his mind. And he knew better than to ignore the warning.
With a loud clearing of his throat, Shan straightened to feel grander than his average build, ignoring the hollow ache in his stomach. "Good evening, ladies and gents. I'm Shan Keagan."
He had learned early on not to use his proper christened name unless he wanted to be heckled — "Shanley" being traditionally reserved for a surname. He'd change it altogether if it weren't among the few things left from his mam.
"I'll be entertaining you tonight while you enjoy your pints." Now that he'd gained their attention, he started with a reliable joke. "There's such a chill out, it brings to mind a tale of a terrible snowstorm. The drifts were so high one night, a priest and a nun found themselves stuck in a church alone. When the sister complained of being cold, the kindly father searched about and fetched her a blanket. Again and again this happened, but the heap of blankets failed to help. At last, desperately freezing, the sister insisted the Lord would surely forgive them for acting as a married couple to keep warm for a single night. Full of joy, the father agreed. 'Aye,' he cried, 'from now on, you'll fetch the blankets on your own!' "
Shan paused to read the audience. Only tepid smiles, but not to fret. Experience had taught him to skip to his impressions, normally the second part of his act.
From endless practice, he proceeded to reshape his voice into a colorful range of characters. Fists on his hips, he transformed into a harping Irish mother. A lick of the lips and he was a whistling Yankee, his new favorite for many a reason. With shoulders hunched, he became a dumber-than-ox Englishman.
Still, for all of this, he earned only a sprinkling of snickers.
His palms slickened with sweat. Insulting the Brits usually endeared even the hardest Irish crowd. Since late January, when the War of Independence began, sentiments against the Crown had ratcheted to a higher level — if that were even possible. Perhaps this explained why Shan sensed a swelling desire in the room to take aim at a target. And that was just what he'd become if he didn't switch course. A silly song would hopefully do.
In the warbling style of folk singer Eugene Fitzpatrick, he belted out "'Twas Sure I Fell in Love When I Fell into Me Ale." Nerves magnified cracks in Shan's voice, a growing curse of his age, and he found relief at finishing the tune — though none from the room's intensity.
The few sounds from the audience came from an old man being repeatedly woken by his own nasally snores, and from a lady giggling at a far table, where a scruffy man in a flannel shirt tickled her sides. She wore a dress as bold as her red lips, the sort of woman who, according to Uncle Will, charged for the pleasure of her company. When she leaned forward, her bosoms rose in large white mounds, resembling loaves from the baker.
Shan fought the urge to stare. He mined his memory for material and remembered Murphy, a made-up fool of a drunk. If nothing else, the tales could fill enough time to secure a free supper, his personal reward from the pubs.
His stomach growled as he launched into a story. He was halfway through when a burly man pushed back from his table and shot to his feet.
"What's that you're sayin' about me, boy?"
"Ah, Murphy," hollered an older man. "The lad wasn't talking about you. Sit down on your arse."
Murphy swayed, as if riding the internal waves of his liquor.
Shan forced a swallow. "Did I say 'Murphy,' sir? What I meant, of course, was 'Mickey.' My apologies for the error."
The man held a stern face but slowly reclaimed his seat. Shan sighed to himself before praying to the good Lord that no one in the room was a Mickey.
"Now, then," he tried again. "I believe I was describing the day Mickey awoke covered in mud and feathers, head to toe."
No one spoke out, a fortunate thing. Shan was about to continue when, once more, his belly grumbled. This time it brought a hunger so strong it jellied his knees. He tightened his legs to keep his balance, but the shift of weight caused a loud crack beneath his boots. Before he could adjust, the crate gave way and he landed hard on his rear. Laughter broke out in the room. He hurried to rise from the wooden floor, brushing grime and spilled ale from his clothes.
"What's that you were singing about?" a man called to him. "Something about fallin', was it?" The laughter spread, but Shan didn't rejoice. Embarrassment and anger formed a bitter reply on his tongue. The words churned and expanded, preparing to spew free. Just in time, he gulped them down, remembering Uncle Will.
Shan dared to look over. Beside the bar, his uncle and the pub owner were engaged in a chat. A welcome discovery, until Shan noted the sharpness of their eyes. Uncle Will shook something — a coin — in his right fist. The owner stood a good foot shorter, but in the manner of one not intimidated by height. As if to prove as much, he crossed his arms and jutted his chin. The challenge wasn't missed by Uncle Will, whose clenched jaw signaled a rage in the making.
Shan bristled, a reflex. His body was well aware of where those rages led. The scars on his neck and hip throbbed as a reminder, urging him to take cover. Alas, he had no choice. The last thing an orphan needed was for his only relative to be carted off and locked in a cell.
"You heard me, all right," Uncle Will said as Shan approached to intervene. "I called you a cheatin' bastard, because that's what ye are. The deal was for a shilling, not a goddamn sixpence."
The owner's nostrils flared as if swiped with smelling salts. "You're lucky to get that much. The boy would bring in a crowd, ye said. Would make me more money, ye said."
"And he bloody would have, if this place weren't such a hellhole. I've taken a shite in privies better than this."
"Uncle Will, please," Shan implored. But his uncle ignored him and spat at the owner, who burst into a fit.
"That's it! Get out. Right this minute, or I'll thump ye in the — "
The threat stopped short. Uncle Will's knuckles made sure of it by plowing into the man's face.
Shan reached for his uncle to coax him away but a bartender and another man moved in, pushing Shan aside. A whirl of punches flew. Barstools toppled and a pint glass shattered.
Two hands grasped Shan's shoulders. He started to wrench free, but a woman's voice entered his ear. "Shh, 'twill be all right," she said, drawing him away from the scuffle and shards. She was the lady with red lips and loaves for a chest.
The owner swung hard at Uncle Will's gut before ordering his helpers to put the rubbish where it belonged. Dutifully the men dragged Uncle Will, short of breath and doubled over, out to the street.
Shan just stood there, already dreading the long walk home. He wasn't dim enough to think a free bowl of corned beef remained an option. Around him, people returned to their lives as if nothing had happened.
Except for the woman. She swept passed Shan, picked up the dropped coin, and tenderly curled it into his hand. "You've got real talent, sweet lad. Don't let it go to waste." She gave him a smile that seemed heavy to wear before returning to the man in flannel, a fresh giggle in her voice.
That was when it dawned on Shan that he wasn't the only actor in the room.CHAPTER 2
Murmurs drifted up from the alley. They lured Shan to the window of his uncle's one-room flat, as they often did this time of night. Every sound was amplified in those dark, empty hours before Dublin settled in for sleep. Or most of it, rather. A few times a week the husband next door would drink through wages meant for food and rent, and he'd stumble home bellowing songs, promptly cut short by his wife's furious shrills.
Then there were the rats. They'd scratch and scamper well into dawn, between the walls, in nooks and crannies. They were nomads on a constant hunt for food, shelter, and safety. Same as Shan and Uncle Will. And those in the alley below.
The pane too dingy for a decent view, Shan tugged the window upward. Cold air shot through his thinning cotton shirt. The paraffin lamp flickered on the table by the bed. He rubbed his arms against the chill. His wool coat and sweater sagged on a rope strung over the coal stove. The garments, damp after his walk from the pub, released a musty smell.
Shan gazed down the back side of the building, a shabby stack of four bricked floors. A web of laundry linked them to the next set of flats. Each line drooped vacantly in the rain but for one. A widow from the second story had a habit of leaving her sheets out on rainy days, which was most of the year in Ireland. She would drape them like a canopy, attracting a small herd of vagrants, mainly young, from the shadows.
Shan would hear tenants in the halls and stairwell exchanging their disapproval, blaming the widow's friendship with the landlord — on the word "friendship" they would raise a brow — for leaving them unable to state a complaint. "We're doing these children no favors," they would say, "by encouraging a life on the streets. Many are there by choice, you know. They'll be tinkers and knackers for good, expecting the government to support them forever."
Their expressions matched the harshness of their words. But Shan was a listener, a studier of more than pitches and accents. And what he heard, as faint as a whisper, was the truth behind their unease: the fear, and the guilt.
No man wants a daily reminder of the hardships that in a blink could be his own, nor to carry the shame of being unable, or unwilling, to help those in need. Such burdens were easier to discard when not planted outside your window.
All the same, Shan couldn't help but look.
Beneath a roof of linen, the strangers huddled around a fire set in a metal barrel. They held their gloved hands over flames that glowed orange across their faces. All appeared to be boys, Shan's age or older. Orphanages favored infants and toddlers, as did parents willing to adopt — unless they were seeking free labor. The overflow went to local churches, where girls were given priority for meals and beds. Even in the house of the Almighty, beggars had a pecking order.
Already Shan knew this. He also knew very little prevented him from standing in that queue. The money left from his parents — no doubt the reason his mam's brother first took him in — had been spent long ago. And when it came to the government's weekly charitable dole, the few extra shillings his uncle received for fostering Shan hardly made him essential, as Uncle Will told him on a regular basis. One wrong step and he'd be out on the street, his future far more grim. Sure, he could read and write at a level beyond his age, but now, without schooling, without parents ...
At the thought of them, Shan felt the weight of their absence, as heavy as stone on his chest. More and more they were fading from his mind. Like people he'd only imagined.
He closed his eyes now and strained to summon his mam: her long auburn curls, her angelic skin. He could almost smell her talcum powder, a sweet lavender scent, and hear the rhythmic creak of her rocker. In their old house in Dunmore, on the coast of County Waterford, she would sway there for hours and read her books — a love she passed down to Shan — and she would send him a wink as he played on the floor with his jacks and marbles and wooden train.
Meanwhile in the evenings, his father — a doctor with silvered temples and a forehead lined with wisdom — would flip through articles in the Irish Independent and puff on a hand-carved pipe —
Well. Not his father precisely. Rather, the man Shan had known as his da. Back before the faÃ§ade had been yanked clean away with the discovery of a letter.
"Jaysus, Mary, Mother o' God. Are you heatin' the bloody neighborhood?"
Shan twisted around to find his uncle glaring from the doorway. "Sorry, Uncle Will," he spouted, and rushed to shut the window. He braced for a verbal lashing, not unlike those he'd received from his teachers, back before his performing schedule replaced schooling altogether.
But Uncle Will simply tossed a paper sack onto the kitchen table. "Open it," he said with a trace of a slur.
Shan held in place, knowing better than to trust a glimmer of his uncle's kindness. Same as the fairies from his childhood tales, it could vanish as quick as a snap.
"Go on," Uncle Will said. "Eat."
Shan had briefly forgotten how famished he was. He hurried to the table and emptied a U-shaped sausage from the bag. Half as thick as his wrist, it had a greasy sheen and light black crust. One flight up, the butcher's wife must have retired for the night, unable to stop her husband from trading the last of their supper for a jelly jar of moonshine.
It was one of Uncle Will's rare talents, brewing the concoction himself with ingredients bought with the dole. He called the drink "liquid gold." To be used only for bartering, he'd said.
From the current reddening of his eyes, however, it was clear yet again that no rules applied to Uncle Will. Not that this concerned Shan. His sole interest lay with the meat before him, worlds better than the weak broth he'd expected. Only from his proper upbringing did he find the willpower to fetch a plate, utensils, and a glass of water.
As Uncle Will hung his cap and coat over the stove, Shan took a seat at the table. To savor every ounce of flavor, he sliced up small bites and forced himself to chew slowly.
"Would you look at yourself." Uncle Will reclined in the chair across from him. He mockingly waved around a match and hand-rolled cigarette. "Eatin' like British royalty, ye are."
Shan kept his gaze low. Mealtime together was like wading through a swamp: one wrong step could pull you under.
Fortunately a distraction arrived in the form of a cry. The new tenants upstairs had a newborn girl who wailed, according to her mam, whenever hungry or tired or just plain fussy.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Edge Of Lost"
Copyright © 2015 Kristina McMorris.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a terrific story - The prologue grabbed my attention and the first chapter set the hook I couldn't put this down. I can only give it four stars because I need to know what happened to Sadie! I'd also like to know more about what happens with Shan, after the wonderful surprise he was given at the end.... So loose ends force me to rate this a four-star book. If a sequel ties up those loose ends I will undoubtedly have to revise this rating to five stars. If you like historical books with boot-strappin' characters I highly recommend "On The Edge of Lost".
Kept my attention the entire time...Likeable characters and the historical links meshed within puts you right in the story and it brings it to life.
Loved it. Very disappointed when the book ended!,
Good movie material (remanisant of "The Godfather"). Many of the character descriptions could have been elaborated, howerver, there was just enough action and human emotion without relying on explisit sex or brutality to make it more interesting. The personality of the mother of the "adoptive" Italian family was so very chactetistic of Italians during that time period in American history.
Captured my thoughts and feelings in such a way that I had great difficulty getting back to my day's focus. WHAT A WRITER YOU ARE!
This was a marvelous book. The story seemed quite real to me.
Great story! I couldn’t put it down!
This is the first book written by Kristina McMorris that I have read. It won't be my last! Besides a great story line, her characters are richly developed, their stories are interesting, and the settings and environment are just fabulous. Great attention to detail!
In just a little over 300 page paperback book, a man's life story is told with surprises galore. This is an excellent historical novel. It includes: great poverty, finding and losing family, gangsters, prisons, a fire, entertainers, plumbers, gardeners, kindness, jealousy, honesty, lies, and more. The history includes Alcatraz prison, Ireland, and the USA. This book - full of fast paced twists and turns - deserves an A+++++++
I would love to see a sequel.. ..including a romance for Shan, for example..with all he experienced in life, he would be a wonderful husband and father!
I liked this book very much. From Ireland to New York City, I found this boy's life to be very believable. The story was well written and held my interest throughout. Very good characters and descriptions that grab you and hold you through the book, to the end. My only disappointment was the hero who saved the day in the end. I will not spoil it for you but I wish it had been someone else.
I enjoyed every part of this book.
This book was not at all what I was expecting based on the description. I was so excited to learn about civilians living on Alcatraz. I didn't even know that happened until reading about this book. Unfortunately, McMorris' tale is really a slow narrative about Shan Keagan, an Irish boy who immigrates to the U.S. in 1919. His uncle dies on the boat over, so he's taken in by an Italian family while he searches for his birth father. The story follows Shan over the next 20 years, but he doesn't end up in prison on Alcatraz until the last quarter of the book. And the portion of the plot involving the young girl is very brief. I was disappointed. This isn't a bad book. It's just not at all what I was hoping to read. Based on the description I also thought the story might be told in alternating time periods or by using flashbacks, but other than a short prologue, the story is laid out linearly. Based on the author's note, she seems to have set out to tell a story about Alcatraz, so a different approach may have better suited that goal. I enjoyed some elements of the story, but overall I found it to be too slow and too descriptive. I would classify this book as literary fiction, as well as historical fiction, and I don't particularly care for overly detailed prose. http://www.momsradius.com/2016/03/book-review-edge-of-lost.html
4.5 I love visiting San Francisco. It’s one of my favorite cities to explore. One of the main reasons? Alcatraz. It’s a must every time I’m in SF. I also love the movie The Rock (Sean Connery Internet), so it’s safe to say I’m a bit obsessed with the history of this little island. You add that as a piece of the story? A girl simply can’t resist. I loved this book! This story was so much more than Alcatraz (although those parts were fabulous as well!). A majority of the book leads us to what was hinted at in the prologue. From the intriguing beginning to the last page, I was 100% enthralled by this novel. I hated that I’d have to go to work, because don’t they know I need to know what happens with Shan?! A saga spanning decades, with each new chapter and each new year, the characters grew on you more and more. I loved all of them because I grew with them. With all of their changes, their hopes, their choices. It all made for an incredible story. And Shan is my favorite. From the beginning I adored the family. McMorris paints such a clear picture of life for immigrants in America, New York City, Prohibition and the years that followed. I thought the time frame worked perfectly for the story as well. There’s heartbreak, bad choices, good choices, love, sacrifice and the bond of family that not only captivates, but reminds readers of hope and second chances. And friends, just when you think you know how things are going to play out…Kristina drops the mic. No lie, I was reading and then out loud to the air said “whattttttttt??????” Man, do I love books that do that! So yes friends, I highly recommend. This is one of my favorite reads this year. Have you been to Alcatraz? How about one of your favorite reads so far this year? (This was a winter pick for She Reads. Thank you to She Reads and Kensington Publishers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review) Originally posted at: http://booksandbeverages.org/2016/03/03/edge-lost-kristina-mcmorris-book-review/
This novel was written by Kristina McMorris. The story starts out in 1919 in Ireland. Shan is a young orphan who is being raised by his gruff and abusive uncle. He performs vaudeville type acts and entertains to have a source of income. This keeps him from being turned over to the orphanage by his uncle. Shan doesn't want to stay in war torn Ireland. He desires to cross the sea and go to America. He wishes to try doing his acts and earn a better living, maybe even become rich. He convinces his uncle that he could do what the performers in America are doing, and maybe they won't be so poor. So his uncle agrees to go to America with him. Unfortunately his uncle dies during the trip from a failing health condition just as they reach the shores of America. Shan doesn’t know how he’ll get through immigration. Fortunately refuge is offered by the family of an Italian boy he helped while aboard the ship. Shan is not alone even though he is now an orphan once again. He sets out for a new life with little to his name. He had another reason for coming to America that he didn't share with his uncle. He wants to find his birth father. He doesn't know much about his birth father, only that he is a musician and in the US Navy. Shan is determined to find him with this information and a photo he has. Shan's journey to get there is a bit of challenge, full of twists and turns. I love Kristina's style of writing. I love the research she puts into her books even before she starts writing. The details she includes will pull you into the story and let you imagine being there. I really enjoyed this novel!
Within the wonderful pages of The Edge of Lost I found myself wondering how a young boy could be done wrong so many times and still come out with such a strong sense of self worth and a true heart. Shanley (Tommy or Shan)’s integrity never wavered, his kindness was shown in everything he did, and his sense of family was true. Even as a young lad, before coming to America, he had the cards stacked against him with an uncle who was a drunk and abusive. Yet, he arrived and showed what a great person he was. He respect authority, worked hard, and stayed true to what he knew was the right thing. Shanley was a character that spoke to me. A fun aspect of this story was the history it shared. From the streets of New York with the self segregated neighborhoods, the immigrants settling in, the crime, and prohibition it was brought alive within the words from Kristina McMorris. Shan travels to other places and they are also shared with the reader in ways that make them feel like they are right there with them. The Edge of Lost is a book that has so much to offer. There are well developed characters, wonderful description of Dublin, New York, and another place, and so much more. I recommend checking it out ASAP.
4.5 Stars - Original review at 125Pages.com Please do yourself a favor and do not start reading The Edge of Lost while sick and on plentiful doses of cold medication. I made that mistake and at first found it very confusing. Realizing that it was my brain and not the book I put it down for a week and then started over. And I am so glad I did. The Edge of Lost is so richly nuanced it needs to be savored. The story ebbs and flows between countries and time in an extremely well paced manner and the world created was extremely real. Starting in Ireland with a poor orphan child performing in pubs for food money the emotions peaked quickly. I found myself truly caring for Shan and wanting the best for him. Then the story moves to an Italian-American family and their three children. Focusing on one of the sons Tommy, the story painted their Brooklyn neighborhood as a vivid, crackling land of the haves and the have-nots. Speakeasy’s, gangsters, the FBI and family loyalty permeated the landscape and made for such a rich story. The final part of the novel clipped along at a very strong pace and the bleak descriptions of Alcatraz interspersed with the thoughts of a gentle man made for a very strong juxtaposition. The Edge of Lost was gripping beginning to end and while I was very satisfied with the ending, I kept hoping for more chapters as this was a world I did not want to leave. I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
First of all, let me say, I love any and everything that Kristina McMorris writes. She is one of those gifted storytellers who just knows how to grab her readers and keep them entranced to the very end of her tales. Her latest book, "The Edge of Lost," is a perfect example of Kristina's storytelling skills. As she weaves the story of Irish immigrant boy Shanley Keagan, through his transformation into Tommy Cappello to his dashing life of crime and his subsequent sentence to the famous Alcatraz prison, Kristina spins a spellbinding story that takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride of adventure and heartbreak. Kristina captures the time era brilliantly and has created a cast of characters that are intriguing and memorable. Plus there is a bit of romance, a healthy dash of mystery and a huge portion of history found within these pages - absolute bliss for the reader! This is definitely a novel that will cause readers to stay up all night long - I know I did!
First, I want to say this was such a great book! I thoroughly enjoyed it right from the very first page. That being said, it was not what I was expecting. The blurb about this book makes you believe that there are 2 tales being told, one about a missing girl on the island of Alcatraz and one about a young Irish boy coming to America in the early 1900's. I was fully expecting a book that jumps back and forth between the 2 time lines and the 2 story lines and having them merge together at the end to bring the story to a close. This is not the case at all. Which is fine, because the book was amazing, but the synopsis is quite misleading. In the introduction, you are introduced to Tommy Capello, working in the garden of the Warden's house on Alcatraz Island and the search for the missing girl is being conducted. Then for the next 300 or so pages, you learn about the life of Shanley Keagan, how he comes to America, how he comes to be Tommy Capello, how he gets to Alcatraz and why there is a search for the missing girl. There are probably 5-10 chapters devoted to the story line of the missing girl and the rest of the novel is really a coming of age story of a young immigrant, growing up in Brooklyn in the early 1900's. I would highly recommend this book, as the story was very interesting and well told and even the ending had a nice twist to it.
The Edge of Lost begins in Ireland with a young Shanley Keagan who earns a living for him and his impoverished, abusive uncle as a comic in pubs. When he learns above the love story between his mother and his "real" father who lives in America, he is determined to escape his Irish homeland to find him. While crossing, he meets and befriends a young Italian boy named Nick and his family who help him enter New York under the name of their dead son, Thomas Capello. With his adopted family, Shan finds love and family and he grows to manhood while searching for his father. When Nick becomes involved in organized crime, Thomas comes to his aid, but is accidentally involved in a crime for which he takes the blame to save Nick. Thomas finds himself serving time in the notorious prison of Alcatraz where he befriends a young girl, the daughter of a guard, who has a painful secret of her own. This emotionally provocative story is one of adversity and hope, enduring love and incredible sacrifice. It brings to life the plight of immigrants as they struggle and sacrifice to achieve a better life. From its nail-biting opening pages, to its ultimately satisfying ending, and all the heart-wrenching scenes in between, this is one luxurious story! With its many subplots and little mysteries, there was much to keep me entertained and flipping pages. The characters drew me in because they were so credible and unpredictable. Plot and characters combine to thrust readers onto a roller coaster like ride of emotion. The details of life for prisoners on Alcatraz was well researched and meticulously written. This is one novel worth reading because it is so perfectly written and highly entertaining. Every page is rich with life, betrayal, sorrow, and above all, love! Than you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
It was Shan’s character that pulled me into this novel and I just couldn’t get enough of him. This story fascinated me as what I found inside was more than what I had anticipated. I found depth and a journey through the eyes of young man who was determined to create a life for himself. The cover of the novel said nothing for what the book held, the cover was deceptive. Shan wanted a family, a family besides the uncle who collected on him and used the money to make illegal drink. Shan wanted to be loved by someone besides the uncle who had a bad temper. Shan was determined to get want he wanted and what he wanted was to get to America to find his father, John Lewis. Shan got to America, the Land of Opportunity but things didn’t go as he planned yet Shan made things happen. On the boat to America, he befriends Nick and this relationship is a lifesaver to both of the boys over time. Shan resorts to his talent that he had in Ireland but things are not the same here in America so Shan must look to other means to survive. Nick must also find work, these boys are so different yet their paths cross repeatedly through life. It was a remarkable read as it was the time of the prohibition, mobs and bootlegging and I was taken back in time as I read. I enjoyed her writing and will definitely be reading more from her in the future.
The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris is an interesting historical novel. The novel begins on Alcatraz Island with Inmate 257, Tommy Capello, trying to escape and hoping they do not find lost little girl of one of the guards. Then the novel goes to 1919 to begin the story. Shanley Keagan is twelve years old in and lives in Dublin, Ireland. He is an orphan at the mercy of his Uncle William O’Mara. Shan is good at impressions, acting, singing, and comedic routines. His uncle books him into various venues to earn money (which the uncle spends). Shan discovers that his biological father was an American sailor named John S. Lewis. Shan wants to go to America to look for him and works at convincing his uncle that it would be a good opportunity for them. After a bout of sickness, his uncle agrees to go. Upon arriving in New York at Ellis Island, Uncle Will is dead in his bunk. Shan does not want to be sent back to Ireland. He had rescued Tony Capello from some bullies on the ship, and he is hoping Tony can help him get into America. The Capello family agree to let Shan pretend to be their deceased. The Capello’s take Shan into their home and he has a good home for the first time in years. Shan goes on a search for his father while forging a new life for himself in America. Find out what happens to Tommy Capello and Shan Keagan in The Edge of Lost. The Edge of Lost is an intriguing novel. I was not sure I would like this novel (I usually do not read books with a male main character), but this novel captured my interest right from the start. There are a couple of slow areas, but overall an enjoyable novel. There is some violence and foul language in the book (as well as sex). The story takes us through the 1920s and we get to experience bootlegging, speakeasies, and boys growing up into men (and the choices they make). The Edge of Lost is well written (the author did a good job showing us New York in the 1920s). The writer takes us from Ireland to New York (provides great descriptions). I liked the authors writing style and how she wove the story together. The Edge of Lost has an enjoyable ending that will leave you smiling. I give The Edge of Lost 4 out of 5 stars. I received a complimentary copy of The Edge of Lost from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.