Title: The Edge of Nowhere
Author: C.H. Armstrong
Publisher: Penner Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Won Audiobook
I have a soft spot for historical fiction, especially those set in difficult times. While fantasy is my go-to favourite, I do enjoy a good historical fiction novel. This book was not good; it was phenomenal.
The Edge of Nowhere follows the life of Victoria Hastings, a woman who is constantly thrown the hardest parts of live. You join her as she lives through poverty, fear and death while trying desperately to look after her 12 (yes 12) children.
Inspired by the life of the author’s grandmother, you know it’s going to have a personal touch to it and the humanity that comes from the words of the book strikes you at your core.
While the hardships Victoria faces are extreme, they are also relatable. The worry over money, ensuring there’s enough food in the house, dealing with people who aren’t particularly pleasant and looking after children – they are all things which are prominent in today’s society. I’m fairly sure anyone who reads this book will find some way to connect with it.
While Victoria’s life is unfortunate, there are also periods of happiness that give both Victoria and the reader a break. While there is always the danger of a book like this being too down-hearted, Armstrong does a brilliant job of balancing the good and the bad. She dares the reader to hope and, with the solid connection to Victoria that Armstrong develops, that is what they do.
I loved Victoria as the main character. Her development throughout the book is as heart-breaking as it is believable. The woman at the end bares very few similarities to the child at the beginning, yet you know it is the same person and you can understand the change. Her voice is incredibly strong throughout the book and the narrator of the book (Beth McIntosh) was brilliant at drawing it out.
The other characters were also solid in their creation and realistic in the character (scarily so in some cases). The only one which did not seem as realistic was Victoria’s mother-in-law whose cruelty was something I could scarcely believe.
I know very little about American history; I know basics but nothing of any real depth. The Edge of Nowhere provides that depth, and a great deal of it too. While we don’t see much of location, the sense of the world that Victoria has to live in comes across very well. It works alongside her, or against her as in some cases, and so it is easy to see why Victoria makes the choices she makes. It is a setting which becomes more and more three dimensional as you read it.
I think it is fair to say that I loved this book. It got to the point where I could only listen to it when I had nothing else to do for an hour or so because as soon as I started listening, I was captivated and just wanted to sit there (not ideal when there is work to be getting to). Even days after finished, I am still thinking about it (and occasionally thinking in the voice that McIntosh gave Victoria). C.H. Armstrong has created a powerful book in The Edge of Nowhere and it is only enhanced by Beth McIntosh’s wonderful narration.
Amazon.com (includes option to purchase as audiobook): https://www.amazon.com/Edge-Nowhere-WR-Tragedy-Survival/dp/1940811422