My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Garrett Leigh understands the human psyche and I’m so glad she went ahead and published this book independently after the whole Dreamspinner debacle (Google it, it’s too complicated to summarise here).
In The Edge of the World we get two protagonists who each have complications in their lives which mean it’s not an everyday boy meets boy, boy falls for boy, boys stroll off into the sunset together narrative (although don’t worry, there’s definitely a HEA but this is set mostly in England, it rains a lot 😉
What we get is a fascinating mix of a free-spirited Shay finding out more about his past through Ollie’s genealogy research while also having to deal with life on the road as a touring band and a medical condition which affects his daily life.
I loved the dynamic between the two characters, it’s a slow burn romance, but there’s a spark which kicks off the moment they meet and which just grows more steadily as the tour bus winds its way through the British Isles (geographic location not country!).
Ollie has his own demons and they’re powerfully motivating ones, I felt so badly for him and his struggle to shut off his attraction to Shay because of what it might ultimately lead to. The exploration of his feelings about this, which I won’t spoil, were superbly handled and I never felt like Shay had performed some miraculous cure which made everything alright.
The story winds its way into your heart as easily as the tour bus traverses the length and breadth of the country and there’s a few shout outs to Garrett’s Heated Beat Bundle series as well as ties to the excellent What Matters which were a surprise.
I love how interconnected, albeit loosely, Garrett’s various series’ are, it really gives a sense of place to the settings.
She is a great teller of stories and by that I mean, the feelings you get when listening to elderly relatives talking about their younger days, or the emotional connections which form between people who love the same music.
It’s an examination of the folk music scene, a look at the diaspora of cultures, a tribute to the love that can come from outside of a blood family and, ultimately, it’s about taking a chance and joining in with living, rather than just existing on the edges.
As a PS, being a massive folk music nerd, I spotted what instrument Ollie gives Shay straight away, and it really tickled me to see one in a book 😁 they make the most incredible sounds.
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review