Book Reviews

Book Review: The Edge of Belonging

The Edge of Belonging

By Amanda Cox

397 pages

Published in 2020

This debut novel tells the heartwarming story of Ivy Rose Lashley, caught in an emotionally abusive relationship and unsure of her place in the world.  When her grandmother dies, Ivy flees from her ex-fiance back to her hometown to sort through her grandmother’s estate.  What she finds is clues to her life before her adoption at three months old.  While digging for the truth behind her birth and how she came to be taken in by the Lashleys, Ivy discovers that far from being a child that no one wanted, she was the glue that brought her family together.  

The story is told in a dual timeline, with Ivy taking the lead in the present day story as she searches to uncover decades-old secrets and reconcile her feelings for not only her ex-fiance, but also for her best friend, Reese.  The second timeline takes place  primarily in 1994 and is told through the eyes of the rest of her family:  Harvey, the homeless man who found Ivy abandoned on the highway, determined to raise her as his own; Pearl, the widow who takes Harvey and Ivy in and lovingly mothers Harvey through the trauma of his early life; and Thomas and Miriam Lashley, the new town pastor and his wife, who are struggling through the heartbreak of being unable to conceive a child of their own.

Through love and support, each character deals with themes of loss, trauma, and letting go, ultimately growing into a strong extended family.

This was a lovely novel.  Each point of view was strong and deep and I felt for every character.  The resolution of each story line was ultimately uplifting, proving that love can overcome almost every problem – from infertility to feelings of abandonment.  

I usually have a rating in my head by the time I’m about 50 pages into a novel – although this one rose from a 3 star to hovering closer to a 4 star from start to finish.  The initial lower rating was due, in part, because Ivy’s fiance was so horrible, I couldn’t figure out why she was with him.  I kept thinking “Why doesn’t she just leave?”  However, this was before her backstory was laid out, with her feelings of not quite belonging and her defense mechanism of keeping those who care for her at arm’s reach.  Once that was presented, I settled more deeply into the story and read the majority of the novel in one day.  I hadn’t planned to and got way too little sleep that night, and although the ending wasn’t a great surprise, I was swept up enough in the story that I didn’t want to save it for the next day.

Seeing as this is faith-based fiction, I was a little surprised that it wasn’t nominated for a Christy Award in 2020.  Although I’m not sure what the cut-off date is and the publication date was in September.  Maybe this year?  

My final rating was 3.5 stars.

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

My rating system:

5 stars – Wow, I could not stop thinking about this book and/or I wish I’d writtn it.

4 stars – This was an awesome novel, I’d recommend it to friends.

3 stars – This was a good novel, I will look for more by this author.

2 stars – An okay novel, but I probably won’t look for anything else by the author.

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