There was just enough wonder and variety to prevent this book from being too saccharine. It isn't the sort of historical writing that normally captivates me, but I give the author credit for introducing the correspondence between two unlikely contemporary characters, and the historical artifacts. While I began by listening to the audiobook, I quickly became curious about the route taken by the explorers. The maps, photographs, news clippings and other items saved from the 1880s added an interesting layer to the story.
An engaging historical novel based loosely on the 1885 expedition of Lt. Henry T. Allen to ascend the Copper River into Interior Alaska and westward, 1,500 miles into the wilderness. I gained renewed admiration for New World explorers, dependent on the kindness of the natives and cooperation of the elements and their own skill and strength. The story of Col. Allen Forrester and his wife Sophie gives you a feel for army life in 1885, the role of women, and the beginnings of avian photography. Magical themes from Alaskan folklore add to the richness.
To The Bright Edge of the World tells the story of a husband and wife, separated by circumstances yet both describing their new experiences in the form of journal entries. The story is further enhanced by other letters, newspaper articles and photographs that gives this tale a cohesiveness and brings the reader a true sense of learning more about the history of Alaska.
This is a great adventure story about discovery and survival. With it's compelling plot and a fantastic setting the author has delivered her story with exceptional writing skill. Ivey hasn’t totally abandoned the magical qualities that she likes to sprinkle throughout her writing but in this book she uses Indian folklore and mythical legends to bring that unexpected wonder to the story. This is an epic tale that captures the big picture with it’s sweeping vistas yet also hones in on the small details that makes this book also a touching love story.
This story is a fictional historical account of Alaskan exploration with all the grandeur and hardship you would imagine a story set in Alaska would have. It is told through a series of narratives, letters and even newspaper ads and articles of the time which all serve to keep the story fresh and engaging. I thought the characters were all interesting and well formed and it was a wonderful peek at society in that time and place in history. I think it would be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
In Kit Keeper with both regular and large print
One of the best books of 2016. The balance between historical fiction and mysticism is entrancing. Highly recommended for book clubs.
Ivey's choice of the epistolary novel as her vehicle to tell this story was a wise one, connecting the two stories (his and hers) as their letters go back and forth. I spent a too-brief period in this part of Alaska many years ago -- her description really brought back vivid memories of the land. The touches of mystery/myth make the native peoples (with whom Forrester is able to communicate only partially) approachable and sympathetic for the reader - but was a big risk for the author, That she pulled it off successfully may explain why this is an author who is gaining an reputation internationally. I very much enjoyed this novel.
Eowyn Ivey has written a novel that can be put into the same league as Edward Rutherfurd's New York: a Novel, and Ken Follett's Century trilogy. Multiple settings and characters are connected in both seen, and unseen, ways. People reveal themselves through the diaries and letters that are Ivey's chosen medium. Historical fiction intermingles with the spiritual world, and memories are seemingly alive. A tightly written saga that will be loved by those who like to be transported to different places, times, and worlds.
It's been a while since I read a book that is journal entries, letters, newspaper clippings, etc. all making up a story, and I really liked it. There's a lot of beauty in this book. It's not just about an expedition, but about friendship, and love, the fantastic, and so much more. Some parts are slow but overall, I found it very entertaining. I recommend this book if you want to read something different.
I enjoyed Ivey's beautiful descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness, stories of friendship, endurance and survival in the harsh and unforgiving climate, as well as learning about Alaska's indigenous people, their culture and legends the Colonel and his team encountered during his expedition.
This is a very leisurely read that will require many cups of tea, that will transport you into another time and place. Readers who enjoy novels from multiple perspectives through diary entries, journals, letters and military logs will enjoy this novel.
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