[667]: The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner

27163154 The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner
Double Day Canada | July 12th, 2016
Adult Fiction | Historical
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

A sweeping, propulsive family saga set on a romantic and beautiful Italian island, for fans of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Beautiful Ruins.

On the tiny, idyllic island of Castellamare, off the coast of Sicily, lies The House at the Edge of Night, an ancient bar run by the Esposito family. There, over the course of three generations–from the eve of World War One to the aftershocks of the 2008 financial crisis–the Esposito women will fight to hold their family together against the threats that break across their shores. As lush and magical as the island at its centre, The House at the Edge of Night is a story of love and secrets, endurance, loss and, ultimately, triumph.

Admittedly, The House at the Edge of Night’s initial attraction was its similarities to Beautiful Ruins; a book that I’ve read recently and have enjoyed immensely. The  small town setting has always inspired a community ideal that’s magical to me. And the townspeople possess a certain magnetism that I fail to describe time and again. Catherine Banner showed the town’s beauty so viscerally at times that I can almost hear the cacophony of the tides lapping the shores and the seagulls circling the open seas for a snack or two.

The House at the Edge of Night is the  kind of book that you take to the beach because it is truly relaxing. The drama is virtually painless and much like Beautiful Ruins, it’s the perfect escape book. You will fall in love with the town and its people; its legends and myths. Castellamare may be fictional but it’s the very idea of such a town surviving in spite of itself, amid natural disasters and global economic collapse that makes it idyllic.

How do I explain the four generations of stories involved in this book? I suppose the story should begin with the patriarch of the Esposito family. So we start off with a foundling who grew up to be a doctor. After serving his time in the military, he found himself in a small town that was to become the root of his family genealogy. After a scandal involving this doctor and the count’s wife, he was shunned and was forced to either leave or do something else. But he loves Castellamare despite the humiliation and shunning he endured. He decided to stay put and opened a bar that  he called, The House at the Edge of Night. Over the years, this establishment will become more than just a watering hole.

Indeed, it wasn’t just a bar; it’s where he would raise his family for generations to come. It’s where he would lose two of his sons and watch another barely survive the aftereffects of war. It’s where he would see his daughter fall in love with an Englishman and watch her fight for her true self – broken heart and all. It’s where he would learn to appreciate the triumph of family and love amid loss; the strength of the townspeople’s faith in the face of troubles and camaraderie and comfort in what was simple and familiar.

This book might not be intellectually challenging but it’s viscerally beautiful. It is full of love and sensuality, superstition and charming candor. The simplicity of the way of life in the small town is its foremost attraction; the heart is its people. I’ve always said reading is the cheapest way to travel and Castellamare is as close as I’m ever going to being in Italy. This book reminded me of how wonderful it is to appreciate the comfortable and easy. Not everything we read has to break our hearts, reduce us to tears or make us think about the uncertainty of the future. Sometimes, we just have to watch the story unfold like a rolling film in black and white.

  • Ohh, I think that cover sort of looks like middle grade, haha 🙂 Pretty. <3 Sounds like such an interesting book too 🙂 So glad you enjoyed it so much Joy. <3 Thank you for sharing about this one 😀

  • Sometimes it’s refreshing to read about simple lives, without the huge amounts of drama that might occur in other books. I’m glad you enjoyed this Joy! I think I would also read anything that was set in Italy, or close to Italy haha.

  • oh this book sounds like a winner…I love a story that is charming and sensual and I do love a story you can relax into!!! Fabulous review.

  • Sometimes small town books really capture a heart of the town in its people and it sounds like it’s done really well here Joy! Thanks for sharing!

  • Omg, the cover makes me think of The Great Gatsby from the get go, but having read your review, it sounds like the complete opposite. Despite the trials and tribulations that this family goes through, this book sounds lovely and endearing and a perfect summer’s read. Even the dolphins on the covers give it a magical feel. So glad to hear you loved this book Joy!

  • RO

    This reminds me of novels I binged on many years ago. I enjoyed the sweeping stories, characters various generations, and the rich plots and scenery. This definitely sounds like a keeper! Hugs…

  • Wow. 5 stars. This just sounds so amazing. I had never heard of it before but it’s on my radar now. They used to call these “sweeping family saga’s”and I have read my share back when I was a lot younger. I am intrigued. Wonderfully written review!

  • Reading is sure the cheapest way to travel, I have many places cos of it

  • This sounds like a lovely read if you’d just want a break from all the fast-paced and mystery-filled books. I really need books like this since I usually find myself reading heavy books — emotionally or info heavy. So glad you enjoyed this, Joy 🙂

  • This book just sounds so relaxing overall. I love the sound of it being written in a lovely way and so descriptive, and then it maybe not being action packed but still maintaining interest all the way through. It sounds like a breath of fresh air!

  • OOHHHH! This book sounds so pretty on the inside and out!I love when you can visually picture a book, the characters, and the world without it being too info-dumpy and awakened sounding! So glad this one was a catch for you, Joyyyy!♡♡♡

  • Sometimes this is the perfect kind of book – something that makes you feel wonderful!

  • Sounds very lovely!

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    Ooh, this sounds so lovely! I love quiet books that pack an emotional punch more than anything else, so this sounds perfect. Thanks for putting this on my radar, Joy! 🙂

  • Oh it doesn’t always need to be intellectually challenging for me to like it. Sometimes you just need a vacay from it all and this book sounds like a mini vacation. I also have Beautiful Ruins on my shelf and I do think I need to get to that one even more now. 🙂

  • shootingstarsmag

    Wonderful review – I like that you say it’s a beautiful read, even if it’s not intellectually challenging. Sometimes that’s just what you need.


  • Read the blurb and was like wait, didn’t she read this before? Ha. It sounds like an incredibly richly woven story, Joy, and I’m so glad you got so much enjoyment out of it! I haven’t had a 5 star read in a while.

  • kindlemom1

    I know a book is a must if you rate it five stars Joy. Wonderful review and Happy Friday!

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    This sounds so great Joy! And so different from my normal fare, which is good because I need to step out of my comfort zone now and again. I want to spend time in this bar and feel all the love, heartache and joy through the years:) Gorgeous review!

  • I’m in love with this book just from reading your review, Joy! It sounds beautiful. I don’t pick up books like this, but I’m going to have to make an exception because I need to meet this small town as well as this big family.
    Lovely review!

  • Melliane

    I didn’t kno about this one but the cover is intriguing. It’s great to see you had such a great time with the story there!