Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Book Review: The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

Pages: 368
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date:  November 14, 2017
Publisher: Harper
Source: Library
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "In the bestselling tradition of Fannie Flagg and Jenny Colgan comes Felicity Hayes-McCoy’s U.S. debut about a local librarian who must find a way to rebuild her community and her own life in this touching, enchanting novel set on Ireland’s stunning West Coast.  As she drives her mobile library van between villages of Ireland’s West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things. Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman. Or that she’s back in Lissbeg, the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother’s retirement bungalow. Or, worse yet, her nagging fear that, as the local librarian and a prominent figure in the community, her failed marriage and ignominious return have made her a focus of gossip.   With her teenage daughter, Jazz, off travelling the world and her relationship with her own mother growing increasingly tense, Hanna is determined to reclaim her independence by restoring a derelict cottage left to her by her great-aunt. But when the threatened closure of the Lissbeg Library puts her personal plans in jeopardy, Hanna finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the Finfarran Peninsula’s fragmented community. And she’s about to discover that the neighbors she’d always kept at a distance have come to mean more to her than she ever could have imagined. "

Hanna Casey is a librarian on Ireland's remote southwestern coast and has returned home after living for some time in England. You see her husband has cheated on her, so she has returned home to start her life over in Ireland.  Hanna isn't your regular librarian though. She drives the library van all throughout the coast to the small Irish villages.  Hanna currently lives at home with her mother and although she appreciates her, she knows it's time to find her own place.  Her great-aunt has left her a run-down cottage on the coast and she decides now is the time to restore it, but it's going to be a big job.  Hanna does have the time to focus on this though since her daughter is an adult now and off on her own.  Hanna's plans go awry though when she finds out developers want to close the library. She knows she needs the community's help regarding this and she'll have to ask the very people she avoided to help her out for the sake of peninsula and the future of the library.  Felicity Hayes-McCoy's The Library at the Edge of the World is a quiet read that will warm your heart.

I really liked the character of Hanna in The Library at the Edge of the World. Who doesn't love librarians? I was really intrigued by the fact that she wanted to restore her great-aunt's cottage on the coast. Can I move in? With the news of the library's possible closure, Hanna realizes that not only are her plans to restore the cottage may not come to fruition, but she has to rely on people in the community to deal with the possible library closure. Some of these people she has avoided interacting with since she returned from England with her tail between her legs.  I love that she has to grow in a sense and I loved "meeting" the cast of characters in her hometown.

Hayes-McCoy's descriptions of the coast of Ireland were fantastic in The Library at the Edge of the World. I felt like I was there and it had me dreaming of an afternoon exploring the beautiful Dingle Peninsula, one of my favorite spots in Ireland. In fact, her descriptions made me feel like I was reading a Maeve Binchy novel, which is high praise coming from me.

I have to admit that parts of The Library at the Edge of the World were a bit slow, but I liked that it was one of those quiet reads that you can curl up with knowing that there's no violence, murder, or horrible secrets. It's more focused on small community drama and for that I was grateful as I needed a palate cleanser after reading a psychological thriller.

So, if you are ok with a slower read or you want a change of pace and love stories set in Ireland, check out The Library at the Edge of the World. I loved being transported to beautiful Ireland.


  1. This book sounds charming. And an armchair trip to the west coast of Ireland sounds like the perfect thing right now amidst the holiday bustle.

    1. It really was! I love all things Ireland, so the setting really stole my heart. Thanks for visiting!


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