Be careful what you wish for—this adage rings true for The Edge of the Earth protagonist Trudy, a young, educated girl living in Wisconsin in the late 1800s. Her upbringing is sheltered and traditional: After college, she is expected to marry her childhood friend, Ernst, and enter into a life of security and domesticity. Feeling overwhelmed by these preordained arrangements, Trudy is caught off guard when Ernst’s cousin, Oskar, returns to town. Na├»ve and vulnerable, she quickly falls for the intelligent and adventurous Oskar, abandoning the safe path that lies before her, and the two marry.

When Oskar takes a job as a lighthouse keeper, the couple moves across the country to Point Lucia, California. Their new home is surrounded by choppy waters, rugged mountains and impenetrable fog. Isolated from all but the other lighthouse keeper and his family, Trudy finds her world quickly changed. Burdened by work, Oskar grows distant and cold, and Trudy relies on letters from her parents and her childhood friend, Lucy, to keep her afloat. She becomes fascinated by the sea and its inhabitants, embarking on a scientific quest that uncovers some of the island’s secrets and alters each character’s fate.

Author of the 2000 bestseller Drowning Ruth, Christina Schwarz has created a haunting story. While many surprises are revealed within the final chapters, Schwarz slowly and beautifully describes the depths of each character throughout the novel. Set in a murky, isolated portion of the Pacific coastline, The Edge of the Earth paints a rich picture of mountainous landscapes and the aquatic life that Trudy comes to know so well. Told in brilliant detail, this is a memorable tale of an uncommon woman who embarks on the road less traveled.

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