Alex was in harmony with the water. He taught himself to swim, and liked working the sea off Prince Edward Island as his fisherman father did, but he always yearned for something more. His brother Reggie despised it all — the water that brought death, the seasickness — and he longed for escape. Mercy Coles lived on the same island as Alex and Reggie, but lived in Charlottetown’s society and yearned for experience, wanting away.
All three would get their wish, but coincidence would shape those wishes in profound ways. Alex would find himself on a circus trapeze fated to meet the Niagara Falls tightrope artist, Farini. Reggie would join the farmers’ protests against the rent collectors, and battle the demons of guilt in the supposed death of his brother. Mercy would find herself landlocked on John A Macdonald’s mainland, a part of his campaign to promote Confederation. Repelled by his looks (he was considered by some to be “the ugliest man in Canada), but attracted by his charm and wit, she is unable to resist what he can offer her.
Anne McDonald weaves a series of spells that pull this beautifully written novel through a tightly woven script. Rich in tone and textured for a very rewarding reading experience, To the Edge of the Sea combines great storytelling with polished literary control.
Winner of the 2011 Saskatchewan Book Award for First Book