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To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

We have gathered all the fantastic reviews our Book Club Members have sent us this month.

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Sue Delaney

A fascinating book, all the more interesting, as I have just returned from a trip to Alaska and the stories of intrepid explorers are still fresh in my mind. Eowyn writes beautifully making each character so real emotionally and physically. A great read

Susan Dowsing

A slow burning novel that gradually took hold of me. Through reports, letters and journal entries, we are led through an Army expedition along the Wolverine River in Alaska in 1885. At the same time the story follows the spirited wife of the expedition leader who is left behind in Vancouver. Vivid and persuasive description brings the wilderness to life. I really enjoyed the times when the animal and human world mixed, with dream like results. Interspersed throughout the narrative are present day letters, linking research and giving a neat device for further character development. Finally the ending is very clever, the author rounded everything off to perfection. All in all, well worth a read.

Pauline Horemans

I have just finished reading To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey and have to say what an unexpected delightful read it has proved to be. Beautifully written and so precise that you can easily imagine the journey of Lieu Col Allen Forrester and the hardships he endured.

By having the book divided into parts with his accounts, his wife's accounts and a smattering of information and photos made the story so interesting and gave it depth. Also the correspondence between Mr Joshua Sloan, Exhibits Curator and Walter Forrester, a great nephew added another dimension to the story. These two men began writing as strangers and then began a great friendship.

There were two sentences I particularly liked - nothing is impossible. Take one step, and then another, and see where the path leads. Don't think of the obstacles, only the way round them.

The insight of the love Allen Forrester had for Sophie which is written about at the end of the book is beautiful and poignant.

I found it such a compelling read. An amazing book and a joy to read.

Marilyn McDonnell

If you enjoy a book about adventure and danger you will enjoy this story of Alaska and its wilderness.

The story is told through the diaries of Lt.Col Forrester and his wife Sophie.

The diaries were written in the late nineteenth century but are now being read by Josh, a young curator of the Alpine Historical Museum in Alaska.The diaries were sent to Josh by Walt, a descendant of Sophie and Forrester,who had enjoyed reading them as a young boy.

Lt. Col. Forrester was sent by the army to Alaska to map the territory and to study the natives.His task was to explore the Wolverine River and its surrounds with his two companions; Pruitt and Tillman.

His pregnant wife is left behind to wait for his return. Sophie is determined not to be idle and develops her love of photography and birds. Her aim to capture the perfect light.

The story develops with Josh and Walt discussing the diaries and furthering the theme of mysticism, felt by Forrester whilst in the mountains and maybe the crux of the book; the argument of the effect of white explorers on the native Indians lifestyle.

The style of moving from one diary to another moves the book along at a fast pace. As a reader you want to know if Forrester and his men will survive and if Sophie will get her perfect photograph.

An enjoyable read.

Steven Hutton

Set in 1885, this truly inspirational story is about a small band of courageous explorers on a US mission to navigate and map the Wolverine River key to opening up the newly acquired territory of Alaska. The pioneering team, led by Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester, must face many dangers. These include unruly native Indians, wild animals, treacherous landscapes and wildly unpredictable weather. Forrester’s pregnant wife Sophie must also summon every ounce of fortitude during their enforced months of separation. It is a taxing time for them both.

Spiritual elements hang over the story in the character of an Indian Shaman, a lame old soul referred to as ‘The Man who flies’. Can he really turn into a bird, and what are his motives?

Despite being fiction, the novel written as a journal of historic documents, diary entries and letters reads like a true account, giving the reader a sense of the immense difficulties faced by early prospectors and cartographers surveying and mapping the Alaskan wilderness.

Other than ‘Meet Hector Thump’ by Alexander H. Stevens, I have never read a novel so quickly. It is a ‘must read’.