The Library at the Edge of the World

The Library at the Edge of the World, the first novel in a proposed trilogy, introduces readers to Hanna Casey, a 51-year-old who left the Finfarran Peninsula--a fictitious setting on the west coast of Ireland--to attend university in London. There, she became a museum art librarian, but later forfeited her career for love--marrying Malcolm, a barrister, and giving birth to their daughter, Jazz, while enjoying a cultured life. But after 25 years of marriage, when Hanna learns that Malcolm has been cheating on her with a good friend, she leaves him--returning home and taking refuge at her mother's small house on the peninsula. Prideful and stubborn about the settlement with her ex, Hanna lands a job at the local library. She remains broke and at odds with her brash, opinionated mother. She also bears the brunt of small-town gossip, and misses Jazz, now based in France while traveling for her airline job. Driving a mobile library book van between rural coastal towns keeps Hanna afloat as she tries to finance the renovation of an old, rundown cottage left to her by a great-aunt. Along the way, the library faces a challenge that puts Hanna's dream in jeopardy and rattles the whole town.

Felicity Hayes-McCoy (The House on an Irish Hillside) crafts her characters well. Rich details of the Irish countryside, along with colloquial expressions and literary references, enhance an enchanting story about self-reliance, coming home and starting over. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

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