Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The Edge Of Belonging By Amanda Cox

The Edge of Belonging
by Amanda Cox
Publisher: Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800737405

Amanda Cox is a new author and I was looking forward to getting to know her writing. I was blessed to be on her launch team for The Edge of Belonging. I received the book from the author for participating on her team.

*I do want to give readers a heads up that suicide, sex trafficking, infertility, and abuse are covered in this book. Please be aware in case there are trigger situations for you as a reader. I know those topics are super heavy, BUT there's SO much hope in this story and it's beautifully written as you'll see in my review below.

Summary:

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee her late grandmother's estate sale, she soon discovers that the woman left behind more than trinkets and photo frames--she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy's adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he's ever loved.

In this dual-timeline story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth--both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others--takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.

My Review:

I want to start off by saying The Edge of Belonging left me incredibly satisfied and my heart feeling incredibly full. What. A. Story. I'm rather stingy on giving books five stars, but this one absolutely deserves it! I'm also beginning to believe that time-split novels need more room on my bookshelves.

The time is split between 1994 and present day. I couldn't decide which time period I kept wanting to read more! Thankfully the author gives us a great balance between both time periods. Believe it or not, all of the main characters worked their way into my hearts. They were all developed so wonderfully! Honestly, if you were to ask me which one I enjoyed getting to know the most, I wouldn't be able to pick.

Amanda Cox tackles difficult topics such as abuse in relationships as well as sex trafficking in a way that the reader can't help but feel compassion for the characters and disdain for those perpetuating it. Most of these topics are covered in an indirect way so that as readers, we understand what's happened, can see the pain through each of the characters, but explicit details are left out. She also covers homelessness in a beautiful way. This book is a great reminder that not every man or woman on the streets is a drunk or druggie. They each have individual stories as this one portrays.

I think the aspect I appreciate is that even in the rawness of the pain each of these characters are going through, we're able to relate to them in different ways. Loss, hurt, sadness are all experiences we have throughout our lives and because none of us escape life unscathed, we can see the beauty in the trials they each have gone through.

After reading this book, Harvey's story once again reinforces WHY I want to be a foster parent so much. Each child ends up in foster homes for different reasons, but for them to never feel loved or cared for breaks my heart. That's where Pearl becomes my hero, my example of the kind of person I want to be!

Ivy completely pulls on my heart strings for SO many reasons. She's been through so much and seems utterly lost when she should understand that she's completely found. And then there's Reese, Ivy's childhood friend. I want to believe that there are many more men like him in the world than we give them credit for. Ok, I guess if you were to twist my arm, he "might" be my favorite character in the book.

It's not typical for me to re-read a book, but this book is already calling me back for a second time around! Seriously, don't miss out on reading this story! It's simply beautiful!

About the Author:

Amanda Cox is a blogger and a curriculum developer for a national nonprofit youth leadership organization, but her first love is communicating through story. She holds a bachelor's degree in Bible and theology and a master's degree in professional counseling. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers. Amanda lives in Tennessee with her husband and their three children.

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