My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

ARC Review: The Library At The Edge Of The World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.  Also, I have linked the book cover with Amazon.  If you buy the book through the link, I will get a small fee.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
Local librarian Hanna Casey is wondering where it all went wrong ... Driving her mobile library van through Finfarran's farms and villages, she tries not to think of the sophisticated London life she abandoned when she left her cheating husband. Or that she's now stuck in her crotchety mum's spare bedroom.

With her daughter Jazz traveling the world and her relationship with her mother growing increasingly fraught, Hanna decides to reclaim her independence. Then, when the threatened closure of her library puts her plans in jeopardy, she finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the fragmented community. Will she also find the new life she's been searching for?

I recently did a writing exercise in preparation for NaNoWriMo where we listed things we like to see in books.  Mine included a small town setting,  strong female characters, a central meeting place,  and an underdog.  All those wonderful aspects are part of The Library At The Edge Of The World, by Felicity Hayes-McCoy.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and left me with a massive desire to visit Ireland in the future.

What I Liked:
Strong Female Character:
Hanna Casey once had dreams of being an art librarian in London.  But after her marriage and high-flying lifestyle crumbles, she must return home to Ireland and live with her shrew of a  mother.  She finds employment at the local library, a big step down, but she is somewhat content there.
I love how Hanna regained her self-worth by renovating an old home.  Through her builder, she learns to compromise and to realize that accepting help from others doesn't make you weak.
Once she realizes the county plans to consolidate services (and close the library), she spearheads an effort to mobilize the whole village to act.

Small Town Setting:
While the little peninsula of Finfarran is fictional, the book's vivid descriptions and colorful characters created a living place.  

There are beautiful beaches with stunning coastlines.  Quaint farms, and family-run bed and breakfast inns, all struggling in an economy that is fading.  They see their economy, which is mostly tourism, slowly slipping away as wealthy businessmen guide lucrative government contracts towards larger towns.  If they don't do something soon, younger people will be forced to leave, in order to find work.
A Central Meeting Place:
At the heart of the story is the library.  As an avid reader, I loved how the library went from a rigid, sterile place to an active community center.  It really became the heart of the town.

And in the library, there were wonderful secondary characters that enriched the novel.  From the chatty moms with strollers, to the man who comes to the library, systematically looking at each book, this feels like a real place.

An Underdog:
The whole town is the underdog as they fight to keep the county from consolidating vital services.  The county's plan may seem like a smart way to save money, but it doesn't take into account the impact it will have on the smaller communities.

As the town bands together to develop an alternate plan, they all realize how much they have to gain by helping and supporting each other.  They know that if their plan succeeds, younger people will have a chance to stay in the community.  But if they fail, it will mean the slow death of the village.

What I Didn't Like:
While I enjoyed the ending, there was a plot device that was used to move certain characters into place which I thought was unnecessary.  I don't like to include spoilers, but this small event felt totally thrown in and artificial.  I wished that the author could have made a different choice.



Release Date:  November 14th, 2017

Genre:  General Fiction

Publisher:  Harper Perennial

Page Length:  339 pages

Source:  Edelweiss

Format: ARC E-Book 

Recommendation:  Full of wonderful characters, this would make an excellent book club selection. 

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2019 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 10 books toward her goal of 120 books.


80% 80% 100 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge
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