Title: At the Water’s Edge
Author: Sarah Gruen
Synopsis: After 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 color-blindness. 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. Meanwhile, Maddie undergoes a 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.
Huge thank you to Random House Canada for this ARC!
This was a book I put off for months reading, worried I wouldn’t like it. I adored Water for Elephants, a book I assumed by title alone I wouldn’t enjoy. I was worried afterwards that At the Water’s Edge wouldn’t live up to my expectations of what Sarah Gruen is capable of.
However, I flew through this book. I couldn’t stop turning the pages because I was so engrossed by Maddie’s narrative, along with the quest to see the Loch Ness monster. I found myself completely enchanted by the way in which the story was woven together, and I loved how Gruen opens this novel and then surprises readers by the end of it with a reference to the beginning. There’s so many subtle nuances in this story, and the writing is quite lovely.
Mostly though, I loved Maddie, Anna, and Meg. I found each of the heroines in the story so strong in their own right, and I found that how they approached others in the story to be quite interesting. I wanted to hurl things at Ellis and Hank, but I understood their rational in a lot of the situations within the story. I gotta say though, the ending quite surprised me, and I loved how the story wrapped up.
Is the story a tad melodramatic and ridiculous? Absolutely! And if you don’t like that, then I definitely don’t recommend this book. However, if you don’t mind a little drama, and some really, really, lovely writing, I definitely recommend At the Water’s Edge, because if anything, it’s quite a page-turner.