Customer Reviews (17)
SB from Amazon US. A masterful piece of writing by James Morgan-Jones. A must-read.
'On the Edge of Wild Water' is likely the best novel I've read in a very long time. It's suspenseful and thought-provoking, as the story is written within the framework of unique narrative elements. There is the old Victorian Reverend's journal, and then there is the more modern-day story that centers around Bethan. Without giving too much away, the stories collide, quite vividly, in ways you don't expect. I like stories that make me think and keep me on the edge of my seat, and this novel really kept me engaged.
The novel has a tremendous balance of beauty and ugliness, which is what makes 'On the Edge of Wild Water' have such an impact. They say art imitates life, and this story is no exception. As you will read on the back cover (just so you know I'm not giving anything away), the main character, Bethan, is struggling with an eating disorder. It's easy to write an anorexic character, but James Morgan-Jones actually creates Bethan as a very human, authentic character. She is flawed, ill-tempered at times, difficult and stubborn, but curious and humbled by some experiences. Rather than painting her as a tragic character, Bethan emerges as a complex figure. I found myself annoyed by her despondence at times, which means she's real enough to elicit a reaction from a tough reader like me. There is a part where Bethan is alone and examining her body: read this part multiple times. It's a harrowing, poignant moment that will make you uncomfortable with the reality of Bethan. It's an incredible scene.
As for the literary elements of the novel, James Morgan-Jones does not disappoint. The imagery is really striking, which I would compare along the lines of A.S. Byatt (whose work I enjoy). Like Byatt, James Morgan-Jones uses imagery throughout the story that is held together by a common thread. It stems from a place of observation and natural awareness. Flowers and color are especially significant motifs, as are other elements of landscape and architecture. From a purely academic standpoint, I can see how this novel could be taught in a university setting with an Eco-critcal reading.
It was refreshing to read a story that wasn't set in a conventional place. James Morgan-Jones takes readers to Carmarthen, Wales, and even includes a sketched map of where the 'On the Edge of Wild Water' unfolds. The story is authentic to its setting in this respect, as there are Welsh words, names, and elements of culture. This is the first book of the 'Glasswater Quintet Series,' so I actually hope forthcoming stories also take place in a similar setting. It has a far-away nostalgic feel that is organic and successfully supports the story.
I highly recommend 'On the Edge of Wild Water.' It's an engaging read for casual readers, an academic study, or in an audio book format. I actually think an audio book reading would be quite interesting considering the way the narration is executed. Regardless, you will find that James Morgan-Jones has a lot to offer as an author, so I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series.
Adrian Gilpin from Amazon. An utterly compelling read. This is a gloriously clever and thrilling book. The author cuts through spacetime, leaving not just his readers but his characters in an unsettling universe of overlapping realities. I could not put this book down. In part, the tone of the narrative is absolutely "normal" and grittily unforgiving in its observations of family dynamics and psychology. In part, the narrative is spooky and haunting - creepily raising the hairs on the neck as time falls away causing history to inhabit the here and now. The storytelling is compelling, the wordsmithery a joy.
Adrian Gilpin - Amazon. An utterly compelling read. This is a gloriously clever and thrilling book. The author cuts through spacetime, leaving not just his readers but his characters in an unsettling universe of overlapping realities. I could not put this book down. In part, the tone of the narrative is absolutely "normal" and grittily unforgiving in its observations of family dynamics and psychology. In part, the narrative is spooky and haunting - creepily raising the hairs on the neck as time falls away causing history to inhabit the here and now. The storytelling is compelling, the wordsmithery a joy.
Ms D from Amazon. This is a gripping and evocative read with its roots firmly tethered in rural Wales. The strong storyline is peopled with vivid characters that weave between past and present in an atmosphere of brooding suspense. Teenage Bethan is taken to a remote Welsh cottage to help combat anorexia but history and long dead lives begin to seep through into the present. In this place, the past can’t let go. If you enjoy a good story tinged with the supernatural I’d highly recommend this book.
Ada from Amazon. A compelling read. I very quickly became immersed in the different worlds that Bethan was inhabiting (or enduring) and the writer's skill with events and timings meant that they didn't become confused. I loved the vivid descriptions of the countryside and flora, which brought the area to life and as I was previously unaware of the Rebecca Riots it was good to be enlightened with credible personal narratives of those involved. The dramatic events carry you along, whilst I often paused and reread passages to enjoy the richness of language, and the Welsh phrases - plus translations - enhanced this. I am eagerly looking forward to reading the next book in the Quintet.
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