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At the Water's Edge: A Novel Hardcover – March 31, 2015

3.8 out of 5 stars 2,260 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Breathtaking . . . a daring story of adventure, friendship, and love in the shadow of WWII.”Harper’s Bazaar
“A gripping, compelling story . . . [Sara] 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
“A captivating tale.”—Us Weekly
“Utterly winning.”—The Miami Herald
“A compelling, enthralling read, a novel which captivates and rewards, paying off in a series of emotional and narrative twists . . . comfort reading of the highest order.”—The Globe and Mail
“A super steamy love story.”—Good Housekeeping
“[Gruen] conveys the lure of the Scottish Highlands. . . . At the Water’s Edge captivates with its drama, intrigue and glimpses of both the dark and light of humanity.”BookPage

“A heartwarming story about life, and the places it can potentially take you.”—InStyle
“A natural for the book-club set.”—Booklist

“If I needed a reminder why I am such a fan of Sara Gruen’s books, her latest novel provides plenty. Unique in its setting and scope, this impeccably researched historical fiction is full of the gorgeous prose I’ve come to expect from this author. And even after the final page, its message still resonates with me: The monsters we seek may be right in front of us. In fact, the only fault I can find with this book is that I’ve already finished it.”—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Time
“I devoured this book. Once again Sara Gruen has proven herself to be one of America’s most compelling storytellers. You might be tempted to rush to get to the answers at the end—but don’t, or you’ll miss the delectable journey that is Gruen’s prose.”—Kathryn Stockett, New York Times bestselling author of The Help
“Magical . . . At the Water’s Edge skillfully transports us to a small, tenacious Scottish village in the grip of war, and into the heart of Madeline Hyde, a woman who is a stranger to herself until forces convene to rock her awake. Sara Gruen is a wizard at capturing the essence of her historical setting, and does so here in spades, but it’s Maddie’s unexpected transformation that grounds and drives the novel. As her husband and best friend search the surface of the Loch, desperate for a sign of the elusive creature, Maddie learns to plumb her own depths, and comes fully alive to the world around her.”—Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife
At the Water’s Edge is a rich, beautiful novel. Elegantly written and compulsively readable, it is at once a gripping love story, a profound examination of the effects of war on ordinary women, and a compelling portrait of female friendship. While delving into powerful themes, Sara Gruen never loses sight of what matters: her characters. This story of one privileged young woman, coming of age in a time of impossible upheaval and terrible choices, will keep you riveted until the very last page.”—Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale
“Intoxicating . . . Sara Gruen has an exquisite eye for detail, and she evokes the haunted—and haunting—Scottish landscape with her signature passion, freshness, and scope. Atmospheric and gritty, the compelling tale of Madeline’s struggle to redefine herself in a world gone mad will linger long after you turn the final page. I love this marvelous, marvelous book.”—Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Someone Else’s Love Story

About the Author

Sara Gruen is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of At the Water's Edge, Water for Elephants, Ape House, Riding Lessons, and Flying Changes. Her works have been translated into forty-three languages and have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. Water for Elephants was adapted into a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon, Rob Pattinson, and Christoph Waltz in 2011. She lives in western North Carolina with her husband and three sons, along with their dogs, cats, horses, birds, and the world’s fussiest goat.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; 1st edition (March 31, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385523238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385523233
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,260 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A trio of bright, young, Philadelphia socialites travel to Scotland during WWII in search of the Loch Ness Monster. Hank and Ellis, best friends, are unable to serve in the armed forces. Hank has flat feet and Ellis is color blind. Unfortunately, Ellis' father, the Colonel, doesn't believe in the color blindness and thinks his son is a coward. After one blow up, Hank and Ellis decide that the way to redeem Ellis in his father's eyes is to photograph the Loch Ness Monster. The Colonel photographed the monster years ago, but people thought it was a hoax. Now Ellis wants to both one up his father, and get back in his good graces.

Maddie, Ellis' wife, is the third member of the trio. She's not anxious to go to Scotland during the war, but when Ellis and Hank push ahead with the trip, she has no choice but to go along. In Scotland, all three are shocked by the conditions so different from their privileged life in Philadelphia. Maddie accepts the primitive conditions, but Hank and particularly Ellis are resistant. They not only earn the enmity of the locals, but Ellis and Maddie's marriage starts to disintegrate.

The characters are both the best and worst part of this book. In the early chapters, Maddie, Ellis and Hank are believable living the fast life of the wild society set. However, in Scotland Ellis begins to disintegrate. The change is almost not believable. Maddie, likewise, changes a great deal, but in a more positive way. The story is told from her point of view, and this is perhaps why the portrayal of Ellis is so black.

The Scottish characters, particularly Meg and Anna, the girls who work at the Inn where the trio is staying are good characters. They're believable and give depth to the novel.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sara Gruen's AT THE WATER'S EDGE is an odd mix of historical fiction and fantasy romance. At the start, it's the story of three rich, selfish, entitled Americans who attempt to escape the reality of World War II by fleeing Philadelphia for a tiny Scottish village on Loch Ness. By the end, however, the story has devolved into trite, romance-novel silliness.

Ellis and Hank are pretty much joined at the hip - they're twenty-something BFFs who drink too much, party too much, and live on their trust funds. Both of them have avoided military service in rather sketchy ways - Ellis says he's color blind, and Hank says he's flat-footed. Narrator Maddie is Ellis's wife, the third wheel in this wayward group. When Ellis makes the mistake of insulting his father during a drunken New Year's fiasco (his father was accused, years ago, of faking pictures of the Loch Ness monster, and Ellis calls him on it), he loses most of his trust fund and faces a very uncertain future. His plan for redemption is to go to Loch Ness with Hank and Maddie in search of the Loch Ness monster - he figures if he can photograph the creature, he can prove to his father that he isn't the ungrateful coward he seems to be.

The first part of WATER'S EDGE is actually quite interesting. Maddie and the guys come across as entitled "ugly Americans" who expect to be waited on hand-and-foot, even when everyone around them is either fighting in the war or working night and day to keep themselves alive. The little inn near Loch Ness, their base-camp in search of Nessie, has no electricity, little in the way of creature comforts, and even less tolerance for spoiled visitors.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When reviewing Sara Gruen's newest novel At the Water's Edge, it was difficult to decide into what category it fits. Was it historical fiction, romantic fiction, a domestic novel about the disintegration of a marriage, or a coming of age story? Usually it doesn't matter to me, however, in this instance the author was successful in some areas and less so in others.

The story follows the narrator and main character Madeline Hyde who has married into a privileged Philadelphian family. After an unorthodox and lonely childhood, Madeline meets the two men who will shape her life, her husband Ellis and his best friend Hank. The year is 1944 and while there is a war being fought overseas, both men are unable to serve. Ellis was found to be color-blind and his best friend Hank has flat feet. The trio are pampered and spoiled, living the high life, until an altercation between Ellis and his parents gets the couple kicked out of the family home and cut off from their allowance. Ellis decides that the way to redeem himself, is to pick up where his father once failed, and find proof positive of the illusive Loch Ness Monster. Always the appeaser, Madeline reluctantly agrees to travel to Drumnadrochit, Scotland during the war.

“And so, because of my husband's war with his father and their insane obsession with a mythical monster, we 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”

The trio end up at an inn near Loch Ness, where for the fist time Madeline is forced to take a good hard look at the man she married and the life she has been living.
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3 Comments 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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