Huge thanks go to @Bookbridgr @TwoRoadsBooks and Yassine Belkacemi @johnmurrays for providing a review copy of ‘At The Water’s Edge’
Maddie, her husband Ellis, and their closest friend Hank, live a spoiled high society life. On New Year’s Eve 1944 they make utter fools of themselves at a society party and are disowned by Ellis’s family. Utterly rashly, Ellis decides to cross the Atlantic during its most dangerous times during World War II to search for the Loch Ness monster – a feat in which his father failed some years before. This decision changes their lives for ever.
I thoroughly enjoyed ‘At The Water’s Edge’. So skilful was Sara Gruen’s writing that I completely agreed with society that Maddie, Ellis and Hank should be ostracised. Their behaviour at the initial party and when they arrive in Scotland is dreadful. However, what is so clever is the way in which the relationship between Maddie and Ellis changes, how we realise Ellis is struggling with his sexuality and how Maddie develops so that her first person viewpoint leads us through the narrative as if we are there with her. I hated all three main characters at the start of the novel, grew to care deeply about Maddie and forgave Hank but, although I sympathised with Ellis, he retained my loathing throughout. It became clear as I read that Sara Gruen has more than one monster in mind for her reader.
The secondary characters are equally well depicted, even the dog Conall and especially Ann, Meg and Angus. I wish I knew them personally.
Based around the themes of deception and what it is to be monstrous and set in the final months of the Second World War, ‘At The Water’s Edge’ is thoroughly researched, captivatingly written and a thoroughly satisfying read. The blend of factual detail woven into the daily lives of the community gives an authenticity and depth so that the reader is transported to the Scottish Highlands with Maddie.
I’d really recommend ‘At The Water’s Edge’ if you want a completely absorbing and powerful read.
I was lucky enough to be able to give away special edition copies of Sara Gruen’s ‘Water For Elephants’ for World Book Night. It has been sitting on my shelf to read. Now it’s moving to the top of the pile. Can’t wait!