- 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 (2,465 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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At the Water's Edge: A Novel Hardcover – March 31, 2015
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“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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Top customer reviews
At the Water’s Edge is a tale of Maddie, a woman who is married to a well-to-do man who is trying to prove his worth. Essentially, Maddie is forced to go along on a “monster quest” with her husband Ellis and his best friend Hank. They are in search of the Loch Ness Monster because years ago, Ellis’s father ruined the family reputation by faking pictures of the creature. While away, Maddie comes to face many monsters, the least of her worries being Nessie.
The book is set against a backdrop of World War II, which only enriches and enlivens the text. Gruen seamlessly weaves the war into the story, giving the book an even stronger depth due to the history behind it. The plot of the book doesn’t center around the war, but the war certainly supports and highlights the themes of the work. From Ellis’s failure to enlist in the war to bombings to mentions of concentration camps, Maddie feels the impacts of this devastating time in history as she suffers her personal battles.
I found that I had absolutely nothing in common with Maddie from a social or cultural sense. The setting was far beyond my reach of personal knowledge, and Maddie’s presence in an affluent society was also very different from my own life. However, this is what I loved most about the book. Because it was such a different concept with foreign settings, places, and customs, I was entranced by the work. I was fascinated by the inundation of culture in the work, by the foreign places and characters. It made Maddie’s self-realizations even stronger because she was finding herself in a new and strange place. I liked watching her change because of the setting. I also liked exploring a different area of the world, a different time period, and a different way of life than what I am used to.
The book is told in first person, which also gives the novel a depth that is unmatched in many novels. Maddie’s complex emotions about the war, friendships, and her marriage are clearly revealed through the narrative pattern, allowing the reader to struggle along with the emotions of the tale right along with Maddie.
This novel isn’t just about a monster quest set in the 1940s, the Loch Ness Monster, or marriage. It’s about friendship, about moving on past tragedy, and about how we don’t have to let the past own us. There are many tragic events in the novel that keep it exciting and fast-paced. Even though it is told from first person point-of-view, it isn’t just an emotional look at the events or a psychological, introspective novel. There is a lot of action in the novel and many events that keep the reader intrigued.
Gruen has truly created another masterpiece equivalent if not stronger than Water for Elephants. Her ability to weave history with fiction while also exploring deep women’s issues makes her one of the greatest writers of our time.
Lindsay Detwiler, author of Voice of Innocence
Maddie, Ellis and Hank flee scrutiny of Ellis and Hank's medical refusal from military service across the Atlantic, through U boats, to Scotland to unsully the family name from previous disgrace.
What happens from there is a little predictable but just exactly the type of story I was in the mood to read. Five stars for an original plot construct if not the most unconventional ending.