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At the Water's Edge

     by Gruen, Sara

At the Water's Edge

As World War II rages, three wealthy young Americans escape judgment by traveling to Scotland on the trail of the mythical Loch Ness monster. Madeline Hyde finds herself shunned from society and whisked overseas on a supply carrier after a terrible faux pas that offends her rich husband’s family. Neither her husband Ellis, nor their friend Hank, can serve during the war due to physical conditions. The men make a play to redeem themselves and their reputation by tracking down the legendary monster of Loch Ness - a creature captured in a faked photo years earlier by Ellis’s father, forever bringing shame to their family. Maddie goes along with the escapade, but begins to suspect that not all is as it seems when her husband and Hank disappear for several days at a time. As her loveless marriage begins to unravel, Maddie finds comfort in helping out at the local inn and making friends there. The two men will stop at nothing to prove that Nessie exists, but Maddie is determined to protect her newfound friends from the harm their greed will cause. As their situation grows more risky, Maddie is pushed out of her privileged mindset into the real world - where war, grief, and love set her life on a very different path. 

Set in Scotland’s beautifully rugged Highlands, this enjoyable novel successfully blends elements of history, romance, and adventure. Displaced by war, the author’s colorful characters are reminiscent of those in The Great Gatsby. The story’s underlying mystery and developing relationships make it comparable to Gruen’s bestselling novel, Water for Elephants. Readers of historical fiction, especially those who like armchair travel, will relish this book’s atmospheric setting.

Reviewed by cs, 6/15. Other reviews by cs.