At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen
Several years ago I happened to purchase Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen on audiobook. I was fascinated by Sara’s storytelling abilities. Water for Elephants is one of the few audiobooks I listened to while doing something other than driving. And when I learned that Sara would be visiting Cedar Rapids this summer, I decided to pick up her latest release, At the Water’s Edge and give it a shot.
At the Water’s Edge had several things going for it. Set in NYC and Scotland during World War II and involving the Loch Ness monster, I was sucked in almost from the word go. I had visions of Claire (from Outlander) and her mysterious encounter at Loch Ness and I was intrigued that someone else might use the history of Loch Ness to weave a story.
I did race through At the Water’s Edge quickly. It was one of my summer vacation reads. Through most of the story, I felt like Gruen was just skimming the surface. Like Loch Ness, there is so much more going on below the surface, but Gruen doesn’t want to dive further. The characters seemed one note and the love story plot fell flat. It seemed as if the characters were supposed to get together because that was what was expected of them.
The most rewarding part of the story was Madeline’s discovery that living the high life wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. The little snatches of life in the Highlands during wartime and Maddie’s desire to become more that who she was kept me reading. I wanted to know where her journey would take her as her started seeing her husband and his friend for who they really were.
Is At the Water’s Edge a bad book? No, but it is a tad formulaic and the major characters are not likeable people.
Is there a Loch Ness monster? I’m still not sure, but sometimes the biggest monsters in our life are not the ones in the deepest of loches, but those secrets that rear their ugliest heads when we least expect them.
Reviewer’s Note: I did meet Sara when she visited Cedar Rapids in June. I did ask her my one burning question about Ellis and Hank. She confirmed that my suspicions were correct and that it wasn’t my English major brain reading between the lines.
The Quick Book Review
At the Water's EdgeAuthor: Sara Gruen
Published on: March 31, 2015
Genres: historical fiction, adult, fairy tales & folklore
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My Rating: Thumbs Up