Sunday, 29 March 2015

Review: At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

In this new novel from the author of Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen again demonstrates her talent for creating spellbinding period pieces. At the Water’s Edge is a gripping and poignant love story about a privileged young woman’s personal awakening as she experiences the devastations of World War II in a Scottish Highlands village.

Madeline Hyde, a young socialite from Philadelphia, reluctantly follows her husband and their best friend to the tiny village of Drumnadrochit in search of a mythical monster—at the same time that a very real monster, Hitler, wages war against the Allied Forces. What Maddie discovers—about the larger world and about herself—through the unlikely friendships she develops with the villagers, opens her eyes not only to the dark forces that exist around her but to the beauty and surprising possibilities.

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2015 by Spiegel & Grau 
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I read Water for Elephants a few years ago and loved it so I was really excited to dive into this book and see if Gruen was going to leave me feeling the same way again.

I'll start out by saying that this book takes place towards the end of the second World War and also involves hunting the Loch Ness Monster. Although these two things are aspects of the story they aren't what the story is really about. The story is about Maddie as she discovers who she is and who she wants to be in a time and place where she has very little say or control.

I won't re-tell the story but I will say that within the pages you will find characters that you will absolutely hate and ones that you will love. You will be wrapped in a setting as descriptive and cosy as if you are there and will feel like a guest at the Inn.

At the Water's Edge is a very easy book to read. The chapters are all short and if given the time it can easily be read in a day. The plot and setting are both interesting which means there was no skimming of pages for me. I was always interested in what was going to happen next.

Although I really enjoyed the book I do need to point out a couple of things that ran through my head while reading it. The story at times felt almost too simplified if that makes any sense. For a lack of better words it seemed a little "dumbed down." This of course, made for very easy reading but left me craving a little more at times. This was really apparent where Maddie and Angus were concerned. I wanted more depth, built up and emotion with their relationship and if I'm honest I just really wanted more of them period! Also the conflict resolution was a little too neat and tidy to feel believable.

One last thing that I want to mention is that you will find just a tiny hint of magical realism in this story which I absolutely loved. It added an extra element of interest that I really enjoyed.

In the end this was another solid read by Sara Gruen that I am glad to have had the opportunity to read.

About the Author
Sara Gruen is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Water for Elephants, Ape House, Riding Lessons, and Flying Changes. Hers 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.

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