Book Review: The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner
I initially wanted to read The House at the Edge of Night for the title alone but when I read the blurb, I definitely knew I had to read it. I’ve always had a weakness for island stories, perhaps because I come from an island nation, and this one had the added attraction of being set on an island off the coast of Italy with one of the main characters, Amedeo, starting off life in Florence.
On a tiny island off the coast of Italy, Amedeo Esposito, a foundling from Florence, thinks he has found a place where, finally, he can belong.
Intrigued by a building the locals believe to be cursed, Amedeo restores the crumbling walls, replaces sagging doors and sweeps floors before proudly opening the bar he names the ‘House at the Edge of Night’. Surrounded by the sound of the sea and the scent of bougainvillea, he and the beautiful, fiercely intelligent Pina begin their lives together.
Home to the spirited, chaotic Esposito family for generations, the island withstands a century of turmoil – transformed in ways both big and small by war, tourism and recession. It’s a place alive with stories, legends and, sometimes, miracles. And while regimes change, betrayals are discovered and unexpected friendships nurtured, the House at the Edge of Night remains: the backdrop for long-running feuds and the stage for great love affairs.
The House at the Edge of Night tells the story of the island of Castellamare, and in particular one island family through the generations, for just shy of a century. And in turn, as outside events and developments bring about change and impact upon island life, it tells the story of Italy throughout this period.
It’s cleverly done, beautifully written, and peopled with a terrific cast of characters who felt very real to me: I imagined them continuing to go about their lives whenever I set the book down. And I feel as if they continue to live on even now I’ve finished following their stories. I completely fell for the island, the islanders and felt drawn to the strange House at the Edge of Night. I can understand why its family felt so invested in its survival and continuing presence on the island.
I loved this book very much, it’s an incredibly special story, completely enchanting and a little bit magical.
The House at the Edge of Night is Catherine Banner’s debut adult novel and is published today in hardback and as an ebook by Hutchinson. You can buy the book from Amazon UK, Book Depository, Foyles, Hive (which supports your local independent bookshop) or Waterstones. To find out more about Catherine and her books (she’s previously published a YA trilogy), visit her Author Website or Follow Catherine on Twitter or on Instagram where she’s documenting A Year in the Life of a Writer.
I received a review copy through the Amazon Vine program.