Friday, April 15, 2016

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water's Edge


23209927After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind.

To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war.

Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants.

The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.

I have been a big fan of Sara Gruen since I read Water For Elephants several years ago.  Her writing style sucked me in and I read her other books as soon as I could.  When I saw that At The Water's Edge was coming out I requested it from Netgalley immediately.  After reading a few reviews, I was prepared to be disappointed.  To anyone wondering if they should give it a chance I'll say this: Give it a few chapters.

The first few chapters were a chore to get through, not because of bad writing or boredom, but because the three main characters were so selfish and thoughtless that I despaired of ever liking them.  Things quickly picked up.  Maddie wasn't who I thought she was and I began to understand her better.  I liked Maddie a lot.  She was brave, intelligent, and long as her husband wasn't around. 
The characters are all very interesting and fleshed-out.

One thing Sarah Gruen does extremely well is atmosphere.  Scotland and the war were so well-written that I could envision every scene very clearly. 

This book had everything: romance, adventure, was a wonderful historical novel with a touch of magic and wonder.  I highly recommend it.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for sending me a copy to review.

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