THE EDGE OF BELONGING
by AMANDA COX
Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction
Date of Publication: September 8, 2020
Number of Pages: 400
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When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee her late grandmother’s estate sale, she soon discovers that the woman left behind more than trinkets and photo frames—she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.
Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved.
In this dual-timeline story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth—both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others—takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.
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Interview with Amanda Cox, Author
of The Edge of Belonging
Can you please tell us about your debut novel, The Edge of Belonging?
The Edge of Belonging is a contemporary dual-timeline novel set in rural Tennessee that centers around the lives of Harvey James, a homeless man who is hiding the fact that he found an abandoned newborn; Pearl Howard, an elderly widow who recently lost her son; and Thomas and Miriam Lashley, a young pastor and his wife who moved to a small town to nurse their wounds. They all seek to help Harvey, but it soon becomes apparent that they need him just as much as he needs them.
In the present day, Ivy Rose is looking for the truth about where she came from, and she suspects there are things about her adoption that her family has not been upfront about. As she digs into the past, she begins to see the truth about the people she calls family. The Edge of Belonging is a story about finding family in unexpected places and reconciling both the broken and the beautiful elements of one’s past.
In The Edge of Belonging both of your main characters struggle with identity. How are their struggles different and how are they alike?
Harvey defines himself by what his experiences in foster care taught him—that he is incapable of love and real human connection and that complete isolation equals safety. He believes it is the only way to have control over his life.
Ivy, on the other hand, has had an idyllic childhood, surrounded by stability and love. She seems to have had everything she needed to be a well-adjusted and successful individual. When you meet Ivy as an adult, she’s trying to separate herself from her family in an effort to find out who she is without them by her side. When things in her life start to implode, her confidence is shaken, and she starts to doubt everything she’s always believed about herself. Compounded with that is the discovery that her family might have known more than they let on about her biological parents and her life before her adoption. Because of these missing pieces in her history, Ivy feels that her definition of selfhood is incomplete.
Though Harvey and Ivy have had vastly different experiences in life, both have faulty ideas about their identity, showing what a universal struggle defining one’s identity can be. All of us face moments in our lives when we have to reevaluate who we think we are because of life experiences or words from others. And we have to determine who gets to decide what our true identity is.
A main theme running through The Edge of Belonging is the theme of restoration. How did Harvey and Ivy grapple with their need for restoration?
Harvey has a skill for repurposing everything. He doesn’t want anything to be wasted or thrown away and makes sure nothing is considered useless. Everything has a purpose. It becomes important for him to transfer believing this about discarded things to believing it about himself.
Ivy suffers loss in a few different areas of her life early in the novel. So, her need for restoration involves understanding the difference between the things she needs to hang on to and the things she needs to let go of in order to heal and find her way forward.
What was the inspiration for your novel?
The idea for the story emerged out of such an ordinary moment. I was driving home on a long car trip and noticed, of all things, a baby bouncer sitting in the median just like it had been placed there. I can’t really explain my connection to that moment, other than knowing it felt significant. It was just the sort of thing my storyteller mind needed to occupy it on the way home. While I drove, I spun out all sorts of scenarios of the types of people that might be connected to this discarded baby bouncer—who would have lost it, and who would have found it. That quiet drive birthed the idea for this story.
Recently, when my five-year-old asked me about the book, I gave him a quick summary of the story in words he could understand. He nodded decisively and said, “Oh, it’s like lost and found. Because the people are lost and they get found. I think that’s what your story should be called.” His alternative title, Lost and Found, made me smile so big because underneath all the moving parts, the idea of lost things being found really is the inspiration for The Edge of Belonging.
Amanda Cox is a blogger and a curriculum developer for a national nonprofit youth leadership organization, but her first love is communicating through story.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and theology and a master’s degree in professional counseling. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers.
Amanda lives in Tennessee with her husband and their three children.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
1st: Copy of The Edge of Belonging + Fern Tote Bag
+ $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card
2nd and 3rd: Copy of The Edge of Belonging
+ $10 Barnes and Noble Gift Card
September 1-11, 2020
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|9/10/20||Review||The Adventures of a Travelers Wife|
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