Tuesday, 31 March 2015

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

by Sara Gruen
Hardcover, 368 pages

World War Two, the Loch Ness Monster, spoiled socialites thrown out of their cocoon, a woman finding herself and learning about love. Not your average novel!

I love Sara Gruen's sense of adventure. She chooses the most interesting mix of times and places and juxtaposition of events, all while focusing on the characters to drive her plots.

The novel becomes a sentimental journey of a woman coming of age... a little later than some. One by one the blinders fall and Maddie finds her sense of self, her humanity, humility, and love. All while craziness storms around her.

Sensitive and heartwarming, strongly feminine. Romantic in the true, historic sense. A lovely read.

From the Back Flap:

In her stunning new novel, Gruen returns to the kind of storytelling she excelled at in Water for Elephants: a historical timeframe in an unusual setting with a creature who may or may not be the hero of the story.

     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.

SARA GRUEN, the author of Ape House and Water for Elephants, moved to the United States from Canada in 1999 for a job as a technical writer. She was laid off in 2001 and decided to pursue a lifelong dream of writing fiction. She has published four novels, each involving animals as full-fledged characters. Gruen lives in North Carolina with her husband, three sons, and a menagerie of rescued animals. She donates a portion of her earnings from all her books to various animal charities.