The Library at the Edge of the World

The Library at the Edge of the World

by Felicity Hayes-McCoy


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November 2017 LibraryReads Pick

In the bestselling tradition of Fannie Flagg and Jenny Colgan comes Felicity Hayes-McCoy’s U.S. debut about a local librarian who must find a way to rebuild her community and her own life in this touching, enchanting novel set on Ireland’s stunning West Coast.

As she drives her mobile library van between villages of Ireland’s West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things. Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman. Or that she’s back in Lissbeg, the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother’s retirement bungalow. Or, worse yet, her nagging fear that, as the local librarian and a prominent figure in the community, her failed marriage and ignominious return have made her a focus of gossip.

With her teenage daughter, Jazz, off traveling the world and her relationship with her own mother growing increasingly tense, Hanna is determined to reclaim her independence by restoring a derelict cottage left to her by her great-aunt. But when the threatened closure of the Lissbeg Library puts her personal plans in jeopardy, Hanna finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the Finfarran Peninsula’s fragmented community. And she’s about to discover that the neighbors she’d always kept at a distance have come to mean more to her than she ever could have imagined.

Told with heart and abundant charm, The Library at the Edge of the World is a joyous story about the meaning of home and the importance of finding a place where you truly belong.

“Heart-warming . . . reminiscent of Maeve Binchy and Roisin Meaney.”—Irish Examiner

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062663726
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/14/2017
Series: Finfarran Peninsula Series , #1
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 233,993
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Irish author Felicity Hayes-McCoy built a successful UK-based career as an actress and writer, working in theatre, music theatre, radio, TV, and digital media. She is the author of two memoirs, The House on an Irish Hillside and A Woven Silence: Memory, History & Remembrance, in addition to an illustrated book Enough Is Plenty: The Year on the Dingle Peninsula. She and her husband divide their time between London and Ireland.

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The Library at the Edge of the World 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very enjoyable read! It began slowly but I became very fond of these flawed, human characters and I did not want it to end. Eagerly waiting for the next book in the series.......
gaele More than 1 year ago
Some twenty-odd years earlier, Hanna Casey fled the oppressing and limiting Finfarran peninsula heading for London and dreams to work with art, maintaining library collections. But, a whirlwind romance and subsequent pregnancy led to a marriage. With the loss of that pregnancy and a decade-later birth of her daughter, she thought her life complete. But, when the realization came that her now ex-husband had a long-standing affair with a family friend, she packed up herself and her daughter and ran home. Refusing even a penny from her ex, she’s reinvented herself as a prim, proper and perhaps even coldly efficient librarian in the little town of Lissbeg, rebuffing opportunities for friendship and closeness with everyone. What emerges here is the slow unraveling and unburdening of Hanna’s grief, as she learns to see just who her ex-husband is, her own vulnerability and willingness to take a backseat to everyone else’s ideas, her own discontent with her mother and the gradual definition of her own life, made in her own making. Sure there are huge and small missteps, some impulsive decisions and outbursts on her part and a little piece of land with an overgrown garden, leaky roof and field full of abandoned appliances, she starts to find a path. Never easy or solely gentle, the self-interest that spurred Hanna’s growth was gradual, she often could be found kicking and screaming (metaphorically) with her ‘face like the backside of a chicken’ being her go-to expression through much of the story. But, what is most striking is the changes in Hanna – it isn’t that we get to know her better, for she is almost wholly unlikable in her pity-party prickles out persona early on, but the changes, the flashes of optimism and determination that arise through each moment she sees something new, or takes a moment to really listen. The strength from the elderly nun, the desperation of her assistant Conor, the brightness and optimism of the girls at HaberDashery, her mum, her daughter and so many others, the story reads simply with plenty of moments, characters and conflicts that brighten and enliven the read. The growth and changes in Hanna were contrasted with the rehab of her little cottage and the stalwart, strange and always bartering Fury and the Divil, you’ll want to head to this little peninsula, see the gardens and seal-cove and visit the new illuminated text in the Lissbeg Library. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous 8 months ago
It reaches for and fails to hit any kind of emotional richness, and nothing much at all happens in the plot. Save your money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FrancescaFB More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it!
Donna More than 1 year ago
Good book. I liked the characters and the setting.
smg5775 More than 1 year ago
Hanna left her cheating husband and moved back to Ireland with her daughter to her mother's home. She begins to rebuild her life but her ability to trust and fit in are sorely lacking. The council is deciding where to put their budget money and Hanna brings together the community together to defeat the council's plan where the taxpayers money for the Finfarran Peninsula. I liked Hanna. I could feel what she felt. I was rooting her on as she takes on the council. The people around her are fun. Her ex, Malcolm, is a jerk. Jazz, her daughter, needs to grow up. Her mother is tough. Conor and Fury are interesting and probably her best friends although she does not realize it. The story was good. I felt like I was there in Ireland. I look forward to the next book.
TopShelfTextBlog More than 1 year ago
Note: Top Shelf Text received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own! Lately I've gravitated towards books that are more inside my reading comfort zone. The Library at the Edge of the World was a perfect choice for me this month as I navigate this season of life & reading. As the title suggests, this is a book for book lovers, but also a book for those feeling adrift in their own communities and are searching for belonging. The Library at the Edge of the World follows a middle-aged woman named Hanna Casey. While at first glance, Hanna's life may seem picturesque -- a local job as head librarian in her hometown on the gorgeous cliffs of Ireland -- Hanna's life is a bit of a mess. She lives with her aging mother, is always missing her own teenage daughter while she's out exploring the globe, and resents her ex-husband for ruining the life she had built before their divorce. Hanna hadn't planned to live in her struggling hometown of Finfarran -- but when she found her husband in bed with a family friend, thus revealing a twenty-year affair, Hanna uprooted her socialite London life to recuperate in the safety of her childhood home. Now, she's tired of her reserved life and wants a fresh start. An inheritance in the form of a dilapidated cottage presents Hanna with an opportunity to create the home that she's desperately in need of, and gives her an opportunity to put down roots in a community that she's held at arms length. While the premise of this book is nothing new -- a broken relationship, the need to start over, and a project for the main character to use as therapy -- I really enjoyed reading this story. I loved the unfamiliar setting, and found myself pining for a trip to Ireland to see the gorgeous views that are described throughout. I also liked the rhythm of this story. It was a slower read for me, and more gentle than many of the books I've read lately. I liked rooting Hanna on as she found her footing and gained independence from her former life, and I found myself cheering on her community too. This novel falls into a category previously defined as "chick lit" but now more often referred to as "women's fiction" and although I sometimes scoff at that labeling for obvious reasons, I'm finding myself more open to reading similar books this year! There are two other books taking place in the same location and with recurring characters, so if you pick up the first and like me, find yourself a new fan of Felicity Hayes-McCoy, then make sure to pick up the others too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hanna Casey, age 51, lives with her widowed mother in Lissbeg Ireland. Some years ago, Hanna left her husband, Malcolm, when she found him cheating. Taking her daughter with her, she fled their home telling her husband in anger that she wanted nothing from him. Today, she regrets having said that because he refuses to give her a penny. Hanna works as a librarian, including driving the mobile library van around the communities in the Finfarran peninsula in Ireland. Her daughter is an airline hostess and enjoys her job. Hanna has grown weary living with her critical, belittling and hateful mother, Mary. Hanna’s father was always loving to her, but her mother has berated her all of her life. Hanna was left a small house by her great-aunt, Maggie. It is just a small place near the edge of a cliff and Hanna has not seen the place in 40 years. She is now wanting to fix it up and move in so she can have her own little place and some privacy from her mother. Contacting her ex-husband, Malcolm, she asks him to give her just a little money as she certainly deserves something from him but he again refuses. However, Hanna manages to get a small loan from the bank and is ready to carry on with her plans. Hanna asks Conor for some recommendations for getting someone to work on fixing up her place. A man named Fury helps with the restoration. He has been around for many years and knew Maggie when he was a boy. Conor McCarthy works at the Lissbeg Library and has lived in the area all of his life. He and some friends are trying to keep their businesses going but get frustrated at how difficult it is to do so. This leads to the community coming together to try and get help for their businesses. This book was interesting at first and I kept expecting something really spectacular to happen but I was disappointed. I quite honestly did not care for the book and found it rather mundane and boring. Copy provided by Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Poor charceter development