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To The Bright Edge of the World

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  16,991 ratings  ·  2,911 reviews
Set again in the Alaskan landscape that she brought to stunningly vivid life in The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey's second novel is a breathtaking story of discovery and adventure, set at the end of the nineteenth century, and of a marriage tested by a closely held secret.

Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska's hithert
Hardcover, 417 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by Little, Brown and Company
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Carla Reading this book at the moment - there is a letter from Walt to Josh Sloan (pp.139 - 141) which mentions Harry, an older brother (injured during the …moreReading this book at the moment - there is a letter from Walt to Josh Sloan (pp.139 - 141) which mentions Harry, an older brother (injured during the Civil War) and a younger brother, who he states is his grandfather.(less)

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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  16,991 ratings  ·  2,911 reviews

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Angela M
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read this book because The Snow Child is such a beautifully told story and Ivey's writing is so captivating . Although this one is a very different kind of story, it is gripping and beautiful as well and told in a unique way. It's a different kind of narrative consisting of journal entries, drawings, photos, diary entries, descriptions of artifacts, newspaper articles, official army reports and my favorite selections, the beautiful love letters. Ivey does a masterful job of blending ...more
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve finished the pages, closed my kindle, and yet, I still feel held in this otherworldly moment, unwilling to rejoin “this” world that is my real life. Even that seems untrue, because this story feels so real, it’s hard to believe that any part of this is fictional, not real.

Eowyn Ivey’s novel, “To the Bright Edge of the World” is lovely, the prose is gorgeous, and the varying points of view made this all the more compelling.

Walter, Walt, Forrester wants to find a home for the boxes of lette
May 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
epistolary novels usually arent my kind of thing (i didnt know this was one before i picked it up), so im surprised that i enjoyed this.

i think it helps that there is an outside plot/reason as to why the letters, journal entries, photographs, artifact logs, sketches, and army orders are being compiled. the museum curator is an effective way at creating a greater purpose, as it feels we are discovering the letters with him.

what really got me was how much i came to adore allen and sophie as a pa
Kevin Ansbro
"Ivashov and his men were sleeping in their sleds when, at a prearranged sign, the Midnooskies crushed each of the men's skulls with axes."

At first glance this is a story that I shouldn't like: it's essentially an account of an expedition into the frozen wilds of Alaska, expressed in the form of diaries and historical documents.
Sounds boring, right?
This is, in fact, an epic tale of love, nature, historical adventure and North American mythology that had me absorbed from start to fi
This is an enthralling and atmospheric historical novel set in late nineteenth century Alaska. The narrative takes the form of interwoven articles, photographs, journals, diary, letters etc.. There are three different storylines. Recently married Colonel Allen Forrester is entrusted to map the impassable Wolverine River in Alaska and document information on the various native Indian tribes. His journal gives an insight into this harrowing and pioneering expedition, including their experience of ...more
Always Pouting
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did because the premise makes it seem like it's going to be slow and tedious but wow I was so drawn into the story when I actually started reading it. The writing was fantastic and I enjoyed all the characters. Sophie was particularly enjoyable for me. I love how the myths and culture of the natives was weaved into the story line, and I always enjoy books with magic realism in them usually. Also the old man was hilarious. Really well written and con ...more
Amalia Gkavea
''I once thought to kill myself so that I would no longer wander through a fog such as this. How could it be any greater crime than that which I have already faced, committed, failed to undo? Yet I am a coward.''

I had included To the Bright Edge of the World on my list, long before I know of Ivey's The Snow Child- a book that touched me deeply. My interest was picked for two reasons: First, I have a deep love for the region of Alaska, and second, the book synopsis brought to my mind a beauti
How is it that we tell a story?

The best of them are true extensions of the human spirit relayed through journals, diaries, letters, photos, and the like. It's the hand that grips us tightly and takes us deeply into the experiential catacombs of another.

Oh, Eowyn Ivey does it so well as she did with such finesse in The Snow Child before this. To make us, the readers, feel with this finite acuity is a gift. If you take away anything from this novel, just read the letter from Lieutenant Colonel For
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

“I found myself inadequate in the face of it… I begin to try to comprehend: gray rivers that roar down from the glaciers, mountains and spruce valleys as far as the eye can see. It is a grand, inscrutable wildness. Never are the people here allowed to forget that each of us is alive only by a small thread.”

I had the chance to visit Alaska once, more than twenty years ago now. Such a majestic landscape, almost otherworldly in its uniqueness from anything else I had ever seen before. From
Diane S ☔
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Colonel Forrester leaves from the army barracks in Vancouver, he is charged with exploring the Wolverine River in the newly acquired territory of Alaska. He leaves behind his wife, Sophie. As he blazes a trail in the wilderness, filled with tribes of different Indians, horrific snowstorms, lack of food, loss of supplies and many surreal and some dangerous happenings, his wife is blazing her own trail. After suffering a personal tragedy, Sophie, bored with gossip and teas with the other army ...more
Larry H
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Eowyn Ivey is one of those rare authors whose talent shines brightly when they are capturing small, quiet moments, as well as dramatic occurrences. Her first book, The Snow Child , was an absolute wonder, and it made my list of the best books I read in 2012. In her new book, To the Bright Edge of the World , Ivey returns to her beloved Alaska and dazzles once again.

One of the things that's so remarkable about Ivey's talent is that this book is so tremendously compelling despite the fact th
Bam cooks the books ;-)
Note: rereading for my library's book club. It was chosen at my recommendation so I am hoping they will love it as much as I did!

I fell totally head-over-heels in love with this book! Through NetGalley, I've been fortunate enough to read several books being published this year with advanced reader's copies and this is by far one of the finest--many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity!

Now the question is: how to do this gem justice in my review? How to describe
First off. . . let's start here. . . do yourself (and this book) a favor, and don't rush this read. This is not something to be plowed through or set on a schedule, or read on an airplane or in a noisy room. This story should be given the dignity of your time and a special space, and it deserves it.

This is one of those rare novels that starts out at a solid 3.5/4.0 rating, and then crawls its way to a 5.0 read and stays there.

How good is this book? Like, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and National B
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a put on the fire, heat up some hot chocolate and wrap yourself in a warm fluffy blanket kind of read. It is slow paced, atmospheric, detailed, an exchange of letters.
The year is 1885. Allen Forrester is on an expedition traversing the Alaskan wilderness with a small group of men to map out the territory.
He writes to his wife, Sophia, who sits at home in confinement, waiting for her husband to return. He writes of the terrain, the hardships.
She writes back of her own challenges she face
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, favourites
Eowyn Ivey returns with another sensational novel set in the heart of Alaska. Though completely different from her first piece, it is sure to intrigue curious readers, as did her debut novel, The Snow Child. In 1885, Lieutenant-Colonel Allen Forrester received a commission from the Army brass to lead an expedition up the Wolverine River in the Alaskan Territory, where he is to provide topographical sketches, detailed reports, and engage in significant interactions with the local Indian populatio ...more
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This story is full of adventure and discovery as Colonel Alan Forrester is commissioned to go to the Wolverine River in Alaska, with just a few men, the year is 1885.

This story tells of everything the men encountered, how his new wife Sophie got on without him while she stayed in the military barracks, and tells a simultaneous story, in modern day, of Forrester's great nephew and his handling of Forrester's artifacts and journals from the adventure

I did like this very much, but not nearly as muc
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful cover, intriguing title, by the same author as The Snow Child - this book was just begging to be read. So I read it and I am very glad I did!
Eowyn Ivey knows Alaska well and it shows in her beautiful descriptions and her understanding of the country. I have never been there but it is certainly on my bucket list now.
I enjoyed the presentation of the story very much. There are diary entries and letters from the past between the two main characters, letters in the current day from other i
Elyse  Walters
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
From sparsely settled and poorly explored,.... ["an avalanche of snow, ice, earth, & rocks, that spilled down the gully, swept through our camp"]....
......."an adventure of a life time"......
Present Day Rafting trips down the Wolverine River with comfortable sleeping quarters and freshly prepared meals. "The adventure of a life time".

It's hard to believe 'anything' about this novel is fiction. "To The Bright Edge of the World" is a 'novel' ... but feels like a historical biography. The sto
I don’t know if I can explain how much I enjoyed this book. I postponed reading it, thinking it might be long and slow, but for me, it was completely absorbing and fascinating.

This may be helped because my mother was a Lewis and Clark enthusiast and had a wonderful leather-bound edition of their journals. I didn’t read them, but I did read some of her other mountain men and fur trapper books and about opening up the American West. “Opening up” from a colonial-European standpoint, that is. I im
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 stars. I admired To the Bright Edge of the World more than I enjoyed reading it. I’m not sure if I can put my finger on why, because as I write my review I have mostly positive things to say about this book. Essentially, it tells the parallel stories of Colonel Allen Forrester and his wife Sophie in 1885. That year, the Colonel led an expedition into Alaska, while his wife Sophie stayed in Oregon. Their story is told through journal entries, letters, articles, artifacts and photographs. Adde ...more
Eowyn Ivey's new novel is a breathtaking story of discovery and adventure, set at the end of the nineteenth century, and of a marriage tested by a closely held secret.

Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska's hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. The Wolverine is the key to opening up Alaska and its huge reserves of gold to the outside world, but previous attempts have ended in tragedy.

Eowyn Ivey’s intricate second novel weaves together diaries, letters, photographs, and various other documents and artifacts to tell the gently supernatural story of an exploratory mission along Alaska’s Wolverine River in 1885 and its effects through to the present day. If you have read Ivey’s 2012 debut, The Snow Child, you’ll remark once again on her skill in bringing the bleak beauty of Alaska to life on the page and blending magic realism and folktales with a nonetheless realistic view of h ...more
I loved this adventure tale of an exploratory U.S. Army expedition deep into the Alaskan interior by way of a frozen river, glacier, and mountain pass in 1885, followed by a descent of Yukon River watershed to the northeastern Alaskan coast. We are treated to the pleasures of teamwork of a small company against all the dangers you can imagine in this harsh wilderness and the excitement of first contact with certain Alaskan Native tribes. Rather than stick to a version of a single comparable hist ...more
Based on the real-life story of Lieutenant Henry T. Allen’s 1885 Alaskan expedition, Eowyn Ivey creates the fictitious character of Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester. The fictitious Forrester must share many characteristics with that long-ago adventurer, fortitude, discipline, the ability to capably lead, and the courage and curiosity for the exploration of a heretofore unmapped region. Colonel Forrester has been tasked with exploring and mapping the Wolverine River and beyond to the Tanana Riv ...more
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's so much in this book to love, but in the end it just didn't quite get me in the way I hoped it would.

As a historian, I am drawn to stories like these, based on real events or incredible places, and formatted as a collection of documents: letters, newspaper cuttings, diary entries etc. Ivey does this well, with an interesting balance between the daily reports of Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester and his attempts to navigate the Wolverine River and his wife Sophie, who suffers her own ha
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
It is hard to believe that what I just finished reading is fiction. This novel is told in beautiful prose and in the form of diaries, letters and descriptions of artifacts from Alaska, which seem to be something that I would find in a museum. That is exactly where this book starts.

Walter Forrester sends boxes of letters and journals from his great aunt and great uncle’s 1885 Alaskan expedition to Joshua Sloan who is the curator of a small museum in Alpine, Alaska. Mr. Sloan isn’t really sure th
Cathrine ☯️
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was such a well developed adventure story. An Alaska version of a Lewis and Clarke-like exploration with more feminine input yet unspoiled by romanticism. Inspired by an expedition led in 1885, the author utilizes fictional journals, letters, and photographs and four alternating narrative strands in epistolary style which all come together in a credible and absorbing tale. As she did in The Snow Child, Ivey leads the reader into to a ruggedly beautiful and brutal Alaskan wilderness but th
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an enchanting work of historical fiction. I enjoy stories about Alaska, so I was intrigued by this tale of an expedition in the late 1800s.

I had loved Ivey's previous novel, The Snow Child, and was eager to read her latest work. Both books have elements of magical realism, which is part of their charm. I also liked that Bright Edge told the story from three different perspectives: one was a modern-day archivist, reviewing the historical diaries and records from the 1885 journey; anothe
Marilyn C.
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
5 Stars for a story that is full of adventure and survival!

In the winter of 1885, Colonel Allen Forrester and his small company of soldiers began a risky expedition up the Wolverine River Valley in the untamed Alaskan Territory. His job was to map the region and gather information from the tribes that they would be encountering. Although they were prepared for this mission, they were also hesitant at what they might encounter, as this is uncharted territory and known to be extremely dangerous.

Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
Excellent book! Written in a very unique and clever format. The story felt so 'real' with the journal entries, letters, photos, newspaper articles, etc. I really enjoyed this! ...more
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Eowyn Ivey's first novel, The Snow Child, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and an international bestseller. Her newest novel To the Bright Edge of the World will be released August 2, 2016. Eowyn was raised in Alaska and continues to live there with her husband and two daughters.

Learn more:
Blog: Letters from Alaska

Articles featuring this book

There's magic, metamorphosis, strange fish, and a punk rock Orpheus in these recs from the To the Bright Edge of the World author.
15 likes · 10 comments
“That is excitement. We catch only glimpses, a burst of movement, a flap of wings, yet it is life itself beating at shadow's edge. It is the unfolding of potential; all of what we might experience and see and learn awaits us.” 15 likes
“There is a mythical element to our childhood, it seems, that stays with us always. When we are young, we consume the world in great gulps, and it consumes us, and everything is mysterious and alive and fills us with desire and wonder, fear, and guilt. With the passing of the years, however, those memories become distant and malleable, and we shape them into the stories of who we are. We are brave, or we are cowardly. We are loving, or we are cruel.” 12 likes
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