Friday, 16 March 2012

To The Edge of the Sea

Finished March 16
To the Edge of the Sea by Anne McDonald
This short novel is lyrical and flows between four characters. Set in the summer and fall of 1864, this book begins in PEI and takes us across the Canadas to Niagara Falls. Two young men in PEI, brothers, Alex and Reggie are very different. Reggie, the oldest, is seasick every time he goes out on his father's fishing boat, yet he is the responsible one, the one who asks before he acts. Alex is impulsive and a natural fisherman. When a circus comes to the island, Alex leaves in the night to go to town to see it. He is drawn to the actions of the highwire performers and follows them beyond his island home. Reggie is changed by Alex's disappearance and makes choices in his own life that change his life forever.
At the same time, the leaders of Upper and Lower Canada come to PEI to try to get agreement to form a nation. This is the start of a road trip from the island across the Canadas and we see things from the eyes of John A Macdonald himself and the eyes of Mercy, daughter of PEI delegate George Coles, a young woman both drawn and repelled by John A. This is a journey, and a discovery and a leaving.
Mercy leaves behind her younger, more innocent self. John A leaves behind part of himself as a cost to forming a new country. Alex leaves behind his island home and family. Reggie leaves a life he was born into, but not without cost. From Canadian history to the famous Farinis, this novel explores change and a sense of inevitability. Very enjoyable.


  1. Thank you for the review! I'll try to get one out of the bookstore.

  2. This sounds very interesting. Thanks Shonna.

  3. Rutch, they should be able to get it. It came out in late 2011. Thistledown Press.

  4. Hi Shonna

    Thanks for the lovely review of my novel, To the Edge of the Sea.
    I just wanted you to know that it has been shortlisted for a Saskatchewan Book Award for First Book! You can see more and with links to the Sask Book Awards at
    Hope your readers enjoy it as much as you did. I loved researching and writing it.
    All best,
    Anne McDonald

  5. Thanks Anne. Congratulations on the award nomination. I admit I'm not that familiar with the Sask Book Awards, but will check it out.
    I admit I'm always honored when an author comments on a review.
    I'll look forward to future books.