British writer Catherine Banner’s first novel for adults, The House at the Edge of Night, takes place on the imaginary Italian island of Castellamare, off the coast of Sicily. Amedeo Esposito, the island’s only doctor, finds himself jobless after being suspected of sleeping with il conte’s wife. To support his own wife and their newborn child, Amedeo takes over a café bar perched high on the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean. Among the bougainvillea, serenaded by the crashing waves, this house at the “edge of night” becomes the place generations of Espositos and other islanders gather to gossip, pray, lament and face the changing times.
The novel begins in 1914 and spans almost a century. Life on the island is increasingly influenced by the two world wars, tourism, politics and other world events. In fact, so fine-tuned are the historic events within the story that one almost forgets that Castellamare doesn’t actually exist. Just like the characters, the reader is torn between the romance of island life and the world beyond. This magical novel is a fantastic Italian escape with just the right dose of drama, love and hope. If possible, enjoy with a glass of limoncello.