Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Edge of Lost Description of Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes an ambitious and heartrending story of immigrants, deception, and second chances.

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.

My Thoughts on Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

Shanley Keagan is a young boy living in Dublin with his alcoholic uncle.  His mother had died and he doesn’t know who his father is other than he is from America.  His uncle has little Shanley work in pubs that will have him as a vaudevillian.  He earns a bit of money and usually gets a free meal for his efforts.

Eventually Shanley gets on a boat heading for America and is taken in by an Italian family and takes on the name Tommy Capello.  A lot happens during this time however, eventually Tommy ends up at the notorious, Alcatraz Prison.  Is he really guilty of the crime he is convicted of and will he get out?  You will have to read the book to find out!

I started rooting for Shanley/ Tommy from the first chapter.  He has a zest for life that is contagious and is very talented.  He doesn’t want to be a burden to anyone yet loves his new Italian family and learns how to fit in.

It is clear to me that Kristina McMorris really did her research on both Ireland and American in the era.  Her writing is poetic and makes the story come alive.  This book would make an excellent movie if it were to land in the right hands!  In fact, it came alive and made me feel like I was watching a movie.  Sometimes I even felt like I was in it!

I love books about the immigrant experience and this is one I can highly recommend.  It has catapulted into my top 5 in the genre! If you love historical fiction books about the immigrant experience. Life on Alcatraz as both a inmate, worker, and family living on the Island is also riveting.  ‘The Edge of Lost’ is a must read!

I received the ebook edition for my honest opinion.


About Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris Kristina McMorris

KRISTINA MCMORRIS is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and the recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, as well as a nomination for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, RWA’s RITA® Award, and a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. Inspired by true personal and historical accounts.  Her works of fiction have been published by Kensington Books, Penguin Random House, and HarperCollins. 

The Edge of Lost is her fourth novel, following the widely praised Letters from Home, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, and The Pieces We Keep. Additionally, her novellas are featured in the anthologies A Winter Wonderland and Grand Central. Prior to her writing career, Kristina hosted weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, and has been named one of Portland’s “40 Under 40” by The Business Journal. She lives with her husband and two sons in the Pacific Northwest, where she is working on her next novel. For more, visit www.KristinaMcMorris.com 

Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle

Posted by Teddyrose@1 on May 15, 2010
Posted in Books Read in 2010Immigrant Experience  | 3 Comments

For those of you who have been reading my blog within the last year, you know that my newest favourite short story author is T. C. Boyle. I thought it only fair to read a novel to compare with his longer writing.

Candido and America are illegal immigrants living in the outer jungle of Los Angeles California. They came here to make a better life for themselves and their unborn child. They don’t have high aspirations. They want a job that will put food in their bellies and a proper roof over their heads.
Delaney and Kyra live with their son within a gated community in Los Angeles, with the outer jungle behind them. Delaney is a nature writer for a magazine and is a stay at home dad. Kyra is a high power real-estate broker. They consider themselves healthy and eco conscience. Their son and them are partial vegetarians.
The story opens with Delaney driving and running into Candido by mistake. He wants to help the man but he just motions for money and Delaney gives him the $20 in his pocket. Candido limps off and Delaney drives home. He feel terrible about what happens both for the man and the possible legal ramifications if he is to be reported as a hit and run driver. His lawyer/neighbour puts his mind at ease but he still thinks about the man and wonders if he survived.
Because of the accident, Candido isn’t able to try to find work for awhile. America goes to the “make-shift” work exchange for illegal’s, every day and finally finds work cleaning Buddha statues. However, one day on her way back to their camp site she gets stopped by 2 illegal immigrant men. They take her money and rape her. By then Candido is ready to work and he starts going on the daily walk to the exchange, leaving America at the camp site where he thinks she will be safe. 
At the same time, Delaney and Kyra are having problems of their own. A coyote gets into their yard and kills one of their dogs. Kyra is devastated. The strata has a meeting and Delaney interrupts it to tell people to stop leaving litter and food out. He believes that is what is attracting the coyotes to their neighbourhood. He gets kicked out of the meeting for being off topic.
Delaney and Kyra decided to have a chain-link fence in their yard but eventually another coyote jumps over it and kills their other dog right in front of them. One of the jobs Candido gets is to help put up a chain link fence. Yes, the same fence. Candido and Delaney don’t see each other then but they will see each other again, later in the story. Eventually their lives intertwine to a devastating way.
T.C. Boyle has a special relationship with words. He can write both short stories and novels equally well. I listed to the audio version of this book and Boyle was the reader. It rarely works for me when an author reads their own material. They don’t all have the gift of narration as well as the gift of words. Boyle has both! He made his characters come to life.
Boyle tackles ethical and political issues with respect and makes the reader feel compassion for both sides. I can hardly wait to read another novel and more short stories by T.C. Boyle.

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Copyright 2007-2010: All the posts within this blog were originally posted by Teddy Rose and should not be reproduced without express written permission.

In the 1950’sJohanna and her sister, Greta lived with their parents, Lily and Big Tom and their brothers in Ballyroan, Ireland. It was a very quiet little town, as many people from the town had immigrated to America. They lead a simple life of farming and fishing salmon. Joanna and Greta went to school while their brothers farmed with Big Tom. The family didn’t think that Greta would really amount to much, she was quite awkward and they called her a goose. She stuck to Joanna like glue and rarely left her side.
One day a gypsy woman and her son, Michael came to their home looking for a handout. Johanna was drawn to Michael right away, wondering what it was like to roam the country side and not live in any one place.
Then, Johanna and Greta’s father was shot for poaching salmon and died. It left the family without much means to survive. All except for one of the brothers, Little Tom went to Australia. They found work and send what money they could back home to help the family. Joanna then got the idea that her and Greta should also find work and they did in a nearby town, lying about their ages. They worked in a bed and breakfast however, there were very few customers and they were finally let go.
They ran into Michael every once in awhile and then one day, he showed up on their doorstep again. He was fascinated by the family and wondered what it would be like to live in a house. Lilly let him stay and he pitched in with chores and farming with Little Tom.
Johanna started sneaking out at night to visit Michael in the barn , where he slept. She wanted to convince him to go to America with her. She told Greta of the plan and she wanted to go too. Lily didn’t know about it until Greta spilled the beans by purposely leaving a letter out from a family friend in America. Lily decided that it would be a good idea for both her girls to go with Michael to America and work for awhile. They could send some money home and eventually move back home to Ballyroan.
It was now the 1960’s and Johanna, Greta, and Michael end up in New York. It is quite disconcerting at first, coming from such a small town with few people to the hustle and bustle of a big city. Also, soon after they arrive, Joanna discovers that she is pregnant from the nights she spent with Michael on the ship.
The Walking People is Mary Beth Keane’s first novel. Though not perfect, I really enjoyed it. She wrote in beautiful prose about the people and landscape of Ballroan, Ireland. The character development was very strong and rang true for me. She effortlessly transitioned the story to America and captured the heart of 1960’s New York. There is a lot more to the story but I don’ want to risk giving away spoilers. I recommend this to historical fiction fans and lovers of the immigrant experience.
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If I missed your review, please leave the link in the comments.

I think Mary Beth Keane qualifys for Woman on Wednesdays (WOW).  Want to know about other excellent female authors or do you have any to share?  Go to West of Mars’ Rocks ‘n Reads every Wednesday and look for Susan’s WOW post.

Copyright 2007-2010: All the posts within this blog were originally posted by Teddy Rose and should not be reproduced without express written permission.