Obtained: Penguin Random House, ARC
Publish date: March 31, 2015
I hadn’t read a Sara Gruen book since high school, but knowing how quickly I fell in love with Water for Elephants, I began At the Water’s Edge with full optimism. I’m going to be blatantly honest: both of these books have something in common, and that is the fact that when I read the summaries, I didn’t think I’d like them. Not my usual thing, I don’t like historical fiction. Well, Gruen has made me realize that I should never count anything out.
At the Water’s Edge is about a woman, Maddie, and her husband and his best friend traveling to Scotland during World War II to search for the Loch ness monster. Maddie’s husband, Ellis, experienced a lot of shame in his family when his father was accused of falsifying pictures of the monster, so he brings Maddie and Hank along on his mission to prove that his father was right.
But this isn’t Ellis’s story; it’s Maddie’s story. While Hank and Ellis are off searching for the monster, Maddie stays back at the inn with the folks that run the place, and she begins to learn through her own journey who she is, and what monsters lie beneath the surface in her own life.
The writing and description in this novel were pure magic. Every time I picked up the book, I felt like I was in Scotland, myself. And it kept me coming back for more; if ever I had a free minute away from work or school, I wanted to travel back to Scotland and hang out with Maddie. It’s rare that I find that kind of relationship with characters in a book. Gruen’s characterization and their dialogue were both very realistic, and interesting to read about. I was seriously rooting for Maddie the whole time I was reading, as though she was one of my friends.
Without hesitation, At the Water’s Edge earns 5 stars from me. I’m so glad I was so open-minded with a new genre, because this is probably one of my favourite books in the past year.