At the Water’s Edge…
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 his being colour-blind.
To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favour 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.
There is a quote by Jodi Picoult on the front cover of At the Water’s Edge that says the only fault she can find with this novel is that she has already finished it. That pretty much sums up my feelings as well.
At the Water’s Edge is such a wonderful story. It drew me in with its atmospheric prologue and sustained itself right through to its beautiful ending. There is a perfect balance of suspense, historical detail, miniature, and mystic legend. The metamorphosis of Maddie, the narrator and main character, was incredibly well done and entirely convincing. Her struggles highlighted just how little ownership women had over their own lives during the early to mid-20th century.
I fell in love with Sara Gruen’s writing with Water for Elephants and At the Water’s Edge has continued this appreciation and cemented Sara as a solid favourite of mine. I have added her other three novels to my tbr pile and look forward to reading and reviewing them in the near future.
Sara Gruen is the author of five novels: At the Water’s Edge, Ape House, Water for Elephants, Riding Lessons, and Flying Changes. Her works have been translated into forty-three languages, and have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. Water for Elephants was adapted into a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon, Rob Pattinson, and Christoph Waltz in 2011.
She lives in Western North Carolina with her husband and three sons, along with their dogs, cats, horses, birds, and the world’s fussiest goat.