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4.0 out of 5 starsA slow read that will pull you in.
Reviewed in Canada on November 1, 2018
A slow read that will pull you in. Ms. Bliss touches the storyline of depression and accompanying dark themes intertwined with romance with a deft hand. The lead characters of Ella and Kay are written with naked honesty and emotion. Highly recommend 4.5 stars.
5.0 out of 5 starsI'm Stunned and Pleased to Say the Least!
Reviewed in Canada on November 14, 2014
This is NOT the typical Harper Bliss drama. Don't get me wrong, all the heat we have come to know and adore is there and then some but this saga is so emotion driven! It is intense, strong, hard and weak, tender and tearful. It is more than wonderful....
Told in the first person we are able to see through Ella's eyes, experience the decisions that have brought her to West Water and the ones she makes after. We get to sense her falling in love, to forgive, to accept and finally to heal. It is a beautiful journey towards living.
This is a just so much more than a romance novel. It is a multi-dimensional, thought provoking, powerful and just excellent showcase of Ms. Bliss' talent and I for one am so grateful for the chance to experience it.
I am not a great fan of books I would read cross legged next to a warm fire on a cold rainy evening sipping chilled Chardonnay. I would rather have a flawed anti-hero battling its demons and in quest of itself.
What I found in Bliss' "At Water's Edge" is an intense and enormously humane description of the tumultuous journey of self discovery of a broken Ella Goodman.
Ella grapples with issues that some peope have to face: her alienation from her dysfunctional parents, her self imposed emotional hinterland, her relationships she sabotages systematically a a slf-fulfilling prophecy of hrr worthlessness and finally her failed attempted suicide -- the inevitable escape from the quagmire that is her life. Kay Brodi is hand that steadies the turbulrnt mirror in which Ella gazes at her chaotic emotions. Kay is at Ella's side gently but firmly accompanying Ella as Ella finally confronts her frightening demons. And then there is Dr. Haquim who exerts his ubiquitous influence on Ella through his multitude of pithy aphorisms.
Bliss' passion and magnificence of language, her profound insights explore the damaged soul of Ella, letting us readers see behind the walls Ella has barricaded herself.
Blisz' prose is uncanily beautiful; a perfect balance of lyricism and visual effects. The author's presence throughout the book is pervasive and yet not intrusive on the reader. Although the book is about Lesbian love it speaks to a larger audience irrespective of sexual identity or orientation.
What a powerful novel! Althought the subject may seem heavy, there is a lightness to this story. The road to Ella's recovery isn't easy. Kay's love and compassion - is she for real? - guides Ella's soul back from the edge. We should all be blessed enough to know such a love. This tale will warm your heart.
4.0 out of 5 starsExhausted, Ella Returns to Her Fractured Family
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 13, 2019
A dark and brooding tale, but not without a sense of hope and healing – 4 Stars
The story begins with Ella Goodman returning to Water’s Edge holiday park following a failed suicide attempt. It’s a place where she felt most comfortable as a child, and the place that Ella now believes holds the key to her recovery. On meeting owner-manager, Kay Brody, Ella feels an immediate connection to the woman, and within days of Ella’s arrival their relationship starts to deepen…
Told in the first person, the reader sees Ella’s family from her point of view. What this book does really well is show how Ella’s perceptions of the family-dynamic changes as she herself begins to come to terms with her own nature. However, although Ella perceives her as essential to her healing, I just couldn’t fully get to grips with Kay Brody’s character or her motivations. I felt many of her interactions with Ella seemed more about control than compassion.
This is a difficult story to tell, but one that’s well-written and does much to explain just how devastating depression can be. From the outset, the author excels at building a picture of just how fragile and volatile Ella and her family are. Given the subject matter, I wasn’t expecting a pleasant read (and it wasn’t), but it was compelling. Once I’d started reading, this was a book I wanted to finish; it was also a book where I was relieved to reach the end.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 2, 2015
Having read (I think) all of Harper's books and novellas, somehow this one passed me by. OMG what a read. So, so different from her usual, which are either very good or excellent (9 or 10), 'At the Water's Edge' goes to 11. I promise you will cry with Ella & Kay as well as at them. Very raw, very emotional.
The book is all told in first person from Ella's POV which isn't that usual for Harper's novels. It's not at all lovey-dovey as it starts from a very dark place. As others have said this is not a full on erotic lesbian ficton which Harper is best known for but fiction that has erotic lesbian overtones. It shows in the quality of her writing and how much you feel for the main protagonists that I virtually devoured the book in one sitting.
Harper acknowledges that the book helped her and ultimately there is a very, VERY positive message; its author and her writing.
5.0 out of 5 starsA difficult subject well written.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 31, 2015
An attempted suicide is a difficult subject to tackle be it a work of fiction or a true story. Surviving a suicide attempt and then facing the aftermath and facing one's family friends can be extremely hard, but this story was written with great empathy. Many of us have been in Ella's position and I bet a few of us wish we had Kay as a friend as her character was so able to keep things in perspective for the Ella.
This story was extremely well written and though a difficult subject not a difficult story to read. I would certainly recommend this book to my friends both the Ellas and the Kays and all those in between! Look forward to more books from this author.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 5, 2018
I’ve read a lot of Bliss’ works and she’s covered an array of interesting topics in her books; this one was handled beautifully. Bliss has an easy to read style and I love loosing myself in her books, I find them be be a wonderful way to relax and forget myself. However, not since I read Beneath the Surface (part of her Pink Bean series) have I really lost myself in her storytelling.
5.0 out of 5 starswho has become my favourite les-fic author
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 7, 2017
I can't speak highly of Harper, who has become my favourite les-fic author. The deep routes of this story will hit you in the feels but equally thrill you. I enjoyed the development and journey of these characters and haven't a bad word to say about this book, nor any from this author!