Hanna Casey believes she is living the perfect life in London with her barrister husband and teenage daughter, Jazz. Then Hanna discovers her husband has been having a long-term affair with a family friend. In a fit of anger and desperation, Hanna throws a few clothes into bags for her and Jazz and the two return to Hanna’s childhood home in Finfarran, Ireland. Hanna and Jazz live with Hanna’s widowed mother while Hanna comes to terms with her life and her disappointment.
The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy takes place in the fictional town of Finfarran, located on the West Coast of Ireland. Luckily, Hanna finds a job as librarian of the Lissbeg Library. Jazz is now an adult and working as a flight attendant, sharing a flat with coworkers in Paris, but she makes frequent trips to see her mother and grandmother.
I have a fondness, one might even say a weakness, for books about libraries and book stores, so the title The Library at the Edge of the World caught my eye. The fact that it is set in a beautiful part of Ireland was also a draw.
Hanna feels in many ways that her life has been on hold since she fled from London and a bad marriage. Suddenly, she discovers reasons to be involved and active again. The first is that she decides to renovate a house she inherited years ago from her great-aunt. The house has sat abandoned for years, but the structure is sound. Hanna finds a local carpenter who is actually an artisan with a talent for finding excellent bargains which he purchases for Hanna’s home project. He is saving Hanna money, but she takes her time understanding that Fury, the carpenter, has her best interests at heart.
Then Hanna’s livelihood is threatened because a larger nearby town has caught the Council’s eye. The Council members think if they pour resources into Carrick, they can save money and draw tourists. Of course, this plan comes at a cost to Finfarran and the Lissbeg Library. Hanna and others in Finfarran decide to develop their own plan to save the town as well as the library and to provide much-needed services to the whole community.
The Library at the Edge of the World is a feel-good-story. And I felt a great need for such a story during this pandemic.
Felicity Hayes-McCoy has been compared to one of my favorite authors: Fannie Flagg. Both Hayes-McCoy and Flagg capture small towns and the people who live there with skillful descriptions. Having grown up in a small town myself, I am fond of reading about people who live and succeed in such towns. Read more about Felicity Hayes-McCoy and her other books: http://felicityhayes-mccoy.blogspot.com/.