Book 16 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read from Feb. 9 - March 2
I received this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway and would like to thank the author and/or the publisher for the opportunity to read and honestly review it.
At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
Summary (via Goodreads)
After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind. To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war. Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants. The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.
It started strongly, there was a little part in the middle where I felt it was time to get on with something, and the ending was crazy but I kept thinking about it; the book didn't feel over to me.
There was lots of flipping between dates but it really captured the feeling of the times. Maddie frustrated me a little because I had figured something out about another character pretty early on and was waiting for her to catch up but overall, the characters were very compelling and there were plenty of surprises to keep the pages turning.
A Few Quotes from the Book
"And so, because of my husband's war with his father and their insane obsession with a mythical monster, we'd crossed the Atlantic at the very same time a real madman, a real monster, was attempting to take over the world for his own reasons of ego and pride.
I would have given anything to go back two weeks, to the beginning of the New Year's party, and script the whole thing differently."
"Mass killings were described right next to information about laxatives [in the newspaper]. Cities were bombed, men slaughtered each other in knee-deep mud, civilians were blown to pieces from stepping on mines, but horses still spooked, people still went to the cinema, and women still worried about their schoolgirl complexions. I couldn't decide if this made me understand the world better or meant I'd never fathom it at all."