At the Water's Edge

At the Water's Edge

A Novel

Large Print - 2015
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * In this thrilling 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 awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands.

After disgracing themselves at a high society New Year's Eve party in Philadelphia in 1944, Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, are cut off financially by his father, a former army colonel who is already ashamed of his son's inability to serve in the war. When Ellis and his best friend, Hank, decide that the only way to regain the Colonel's favor is to succeed where the Colonel very publicly failed--by hunting down the famous Loch Ness monster--Maddie reluctantly follows them across the Atlantic, leaving her sheltered world behind.

The trio find themselves in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, where the locals have nothing but contempt for the privileged interlopers. Maddie is left on her own at the isolated inn, where food is rationed, fuel is scarce, and a knock from the postman can bring tragic news. Yet she finds herself falling in love with the stark beauty and subtle magic of the Scottish countryside. Gradually she comes to know the villagers, and the friendships she forms with two young women open her up to a larger world than she knew existed. Maddie begins to see that nothing is as it first appears: the values she holds dear prove unsustainable, and monsters lurk where they are least expected.

As she embraces a fuller sense of who she might be, Maddie becomes aware not only of the dark forces around her, but of life's beauty and surprising possibilities.

Praise for At the Water's Edge

"Breathtaking . . . a daring story of adventure, friendship, and love in the shadow of WWII." -- Harper's Bazaar

"A gripping, compelling story . . . Gruen's characters are vividly drawn and her scenes are perfectly paced." -- The Boston Globe

"A page-turner of a novel that rollicks along with crisp historical detail." -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Powerfully evocative." --USA Today

"Gruen is a master at the period piece--and [this] novel is just another stunning example of that craft." -- Glamour
Publisher: New York : Random House Large Print, ©2015.
Edition: Large print edition.
ISBN: 9780804194815
Characteristics: 479 pages ;,24 cm


From the critics

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Jul 13, 2019

I found this book to be a huge disappointment. The historical references were poorly researched and improbable. The story line pathetic and improbable.

Feb 12, 2019

This book was enjoyable until the end, when it was then a bit of a let down. I also did not enjoy the violence of the antagonist and passivity of the protagonist. Ok read.

Feb 01, 2018

The best word I can think of to describe this book is plodding. At the outset it seems to have good possibilities, but somehow it makes you not care about the characters. It was mildly interesting, but definitely not something I would ever recommend.

Feb 16, 2017

I read this novel a few years ago and found the story about a monster very strange but it was a good story otherwise.

Nov 17, 2016

Fantastic novel, couldn't put it down, can't wait to read her other books! I liked the strong female protagonist and also the development of the female friendships.

ArapahoeTiegan Oct 26, 2016

If you love stories that take place during World War II, this is a great read! While it does not focus on soldiers or specifically on any of the happenings of the war, it is a great glimpse into how the war affected everyday people.

Aug 26, 2016

I couldn't put this book down! Quick and entertaining read.

Aug 15, 2016

Loved this book.

samcmar Jun 30, 2016

This was a book I put off for months reading, worried I wouldn't like it. I adored Water for Elephants, a book I assumed by title alone I wouldn't enjoy. I was worried afterwards that At the Water's Edge wouldn't live up to my expectations of what Sarah Gruen is capable of.

However, I flew through this book. I couldn't stop turning the pages because I was so engrossed by Maddie's narrative, along with the quest to see the Loch Ness monster. I found myself completely enchanted by the way in which the story was woven together, and I loved how Gruen opens this novel and then surprises readers by the end of it with a reference to the beginning. There's so many subtle nuances in this story, and the writing is quite lovely.

Mostly though, I loved Maddie, Anna, and Meg. I found each of the heroines in the story so strong in their own right, and I found that how they approached others in the story to be quite interesting. I wanted to hurl things at Ellis and Hank, but I understood their rational in a lot of the situations within the story. I gotta say though, the ending quite surprised me, and I loved how the story wrapped up.

Is the story a tad melodramatic and ridiculous? Absolutely! And if you don't like that, then I definitely don't recommend this book. However, if you don't mind a little drama, and some really, really, lovely writing, I definitely recommend At the Water's Edge, because if anything, it's quite a page-turner.

May 07, 2016

I was drawn to this unique plot line and the fact that Gruen's previous novel (WFE) was an engrossing tale of an area not commonly discussed. However, this book required a truckload of willing suspension of disbelief. There were too many perfectly timed coincidences as the rising action occurred, it was laughable. Very disappointed. Had I known this would be a romance novel, I would have left it on the shelf.

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May 06, 2016


Sonjahv May 17, 2015

"We were going to Schotland, it was our only option, and we would not set foot on this continent again until he had found the monster the Colonel had faked."


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ArapahoeTiegan Oct 06, 2016

A beautiful story about Maddie Hyde who's life gets turned upside down when her husband and his best friend decide they need to go to Scotland in the middle of WWII to find the Loch Ness monster and reclaim the honor they lost from being unable to fight in the war. Maddie uses the time to change the way she sees the world and realize all the ways she'd been wrong before. She makes connections with people in the small Inn she is staying at while her husband and his friend are off trying to track down the monster. Each person helps her change herself and become great friends who help her get through a great many trials in the end of the book.

Absolutely fantastic read! Very addicting - I did not want to put it down! I had to know how it ended from the moment I started the book and realized how much I liked Maddie. I just got drawn in more and more as she kept changing and I was able to respect her even more through each change.

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