At the Water's Edge

At the Water's Edge

by Sara Gruen


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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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385523240
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/10/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 159,525
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 5.10(h) x 1.00(d)

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.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Excerpted from "At the Water's Edge"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Sara Gruen.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

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At the Water's Edge: A Novel 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 107 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I rarely write reviews here, but I feel compelled to because I love Sara Gruen's writing and have since her first book. At the Waters Edge is steeped in WW II history but its also a microcosmic look at a slice of life far away from but deeply affected by the war. Quite simply, it's a love story at a time when people didn't know where their next meal was coming from or if they would live to eat that meal. I refuse to describe the content of the novel because I don't like synopsizing a plot in depth; this ofyen is self-serving and tends to destroy the story for others. Suffice to say, I loved this book. It is my personal favorite kind of story. I recommend it to anyone looking for a cozy, wrap-yourself-up in a different time and place experience. Sara's writing style from Water fof Elephants is exhibited here. You truly can hear her personal voice in every scene. If you loved Water for Elephants, you don't want to pass up At the Waters Edge. And while you're at it, read Riding Lessons followed by Flying Changes. Different from her others, but no less compelling. Brava, Madam Gruen! You'vecaptured my loyalty once again
Mirella More than 1 year ago
Maddie is married to Ellis who comes from a wealthy family. Hank is Ellis' best friends and the two are inseparable. Because Hank has flat feet and Ellis is color blind, they were not called up to serve in World War II. The Colonel is Ellis' father, and he believes the flat feet and color blindness are just an excuse to escape serving. After a terrible family fight, the trio travel to Scotland deterimined to photograph the Loch Ness Monster, something the Colonel had attempted to do many years prior. In this way, Ellis hopes to reconcile with his father.  It is when the three arrive in Scotland that matters begin to deteriorate. Ellis and Hank begin to drink very heavily. Maddie is often left alone at the inn where they are staying, where she is an outsider, and there is enmity towards any strangers. The heavy drinking begins to affect Maddie's marriage and Ellis' behavior turns cold and hateful towards her.  What is strong within this novel is how the characters change and develop over time. All three of the main cast undergo tremendous alterations in personality, motivation, and behavior. Sometimes, the changes happened so swiftly, that it was hard to believe. Having said this, the story is still very engaging and I was fascinated by it. The author writes well and the storyline kept my interest throughout. A little bit on the dark side, it has a very rich plot and strong characterization. A very enjoyable story. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was quite disappointed in this book.  The first half is quite boring, seemingly a long 180 pages to let the readers know Ellis and Hyde are rude, self-absorbed, spoiled rotten brats.  I kept reading in the hopes the book would get better, which it did.  The last half of the book seemed to contain more purpose, although a somewhat predictable ending.  If this is one of the author's best works, I doubt I will read any other of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Water for Elephants. This read to me like a teen romance novel with historicsl facts interspersed as needed. I was very disappointed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a really interesting story! I recommend it for a weekend read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Sara Gruen's books and this was no disappointment. I read the entire book in one sitting, then immediately reread it because it was so good. 
Dakota_Rose More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have read this year. The development of the characters, especially Maddie, is superb. I was initially drawn to this book because years ago my husband and I traveled through Scotland and visited Loch Ness. I am actually sorry to have finished the book because I liked it and the characters so much!
AlexandriaNY More than 1 year ago
The potential of the setting, characters and plot was great.  Sadly, the writing was pedantic and disappointing..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was not at all what I expected! It was wonderful. I could not put it down and actually read the whole thing in about 2 days. It was full of intrigue and romance and all in the most unexpected of places. Love, love love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Through emotional ups and downs you'll find a woman discovering herself as she learns her life is a pretty lie
CPAC2012 More than 1 year ago
Maddie Hyde is married to Ellis, though her husband's best friend's presence in their marriage is so constant that it seems it has always been the three of them. Both Hank and Ellis have been turned down from war service for having medical issues. In January of 1945, Ellis, Hank and Maddie travel to Scotland, ignoring the horror of the ongoing war, to pursue Ellis and his father's dream: to successfully film the elusive Loch Ness monster, basking in the fame and the glory of it all. War will forever change Maddie making her more aware of the challenges surrounding the members of the small village at the water's edge, but will Hank and Ellis succumb under their pettiness and their twisted sense of reality? At the Water's Edge doesn't have the humor and understated appeal of Water for Elephants, and it isn't the successful hodgepodge of Ape House but it does have its redeeming qualities. Despite being a literary page-turner in which not much appears to be happening on the surface, it is the eye opening account of an outsider's perception of the Second World War through the snippets of news coming from the Front as listened to every evening's radio broadcasting. It is about how some members of prominent families, far removed from the horrors of war, dodged the call to serve, choosing instead to pursue idle pastimes while ignoring the chaos brought on by the fighting. It is also the dissection of a disintegrating marriage through every seemingly forgivable transgression, and the dangerous turn a relationship can take. It is in the end a story of hope and the redeeming power of true love. While I didn't love At the Water's Edge, I stayed awake until the early hours of the morning while I was reading it and it managed to hold my interest throughout making me wonder what makes a good novel a great story. The ingredients were certainly there, but in my view it didn't pan out. DISCLAIMER: I received from the publisher a free Galley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 5 days ago
All of the storylines wrapped up beautifully at the end... thank goodness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with Angus, too. What an amazing story over all. And I've discovered a new author to explore.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the main character and how she evolved from a spoiled young woman into a caring giving person.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started this and couldn’t put it down! Reached the last 100 pages and started rationing how much to read as I didn’t want the book to end.
Laeljeanne More than 1 year ago
Maddie and Ellis are trapped by money—his family’s—while a second world war rages in Europe, as he cannot serve in the war due to a medical condition. When his father kicks them out of his family home for their unseemly behavior, Ellis determines to win back his love by redeeming the family name from his father’s loutish attempt to prove the Loch Ness monster. In Scotland, Maddie is alienated by her husband, whose loyalty is to his best friend and their travel companion Hank. She discovers more about her marriage and their friendship than Ellis does about Nessie, and she begins to question everything about her life, and even her husband’s “medical condition.” As Ellis and Hank display boorish behavior toward the locals, Maddie finds comfort in their compassion for her. She ends up caring for an injured employee of their inn, endearing herself to the innkeeper and his employees. This story flows well, with characters who retain their integrity, as allies shift and secrets come to light. Gruen represents the complexities of emotions and relationships, with betrayals and revelations as catalysts. Class distinction in all its petty elitism is laid out perfectly, emitting its fear and paranoia. In the end, a love story emerges like a butterfly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and I love this author. Water for Elephants was such a good book and I was not disappointed by this one either. Great pace, surprising turns and twists - easy to read and I was anxious to see what happened next. We read it in our book club as well and everyone enjoyed it (rare) and it still sparked great conversations. Highly recommend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Entertaining and fun. If you're a fan of the author go for it -- if you're debating read water for elephants instead.
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
The author Sara Gruen has indicated in several online interviews that she has held a long-standing fascination with the Loch Ness monster starting at the age of twelve when she first visited Urquhart Castle. As such, a monster-related plot creates a backdrop for Ms. Gruen's historical fiction novel At the Water's Edge. Although unique, it's just there in the background allowing more impressive themes to shine, such as war, culture, gender roles in history, friendship, marriage, love, mental health, addiction, abuse, family issues, social status, and allowing yourself to re-evaluate the world you live in and grow. Overall, I liked At the Water's Edge and would recommend it to fans of Sara Gruen or women's/historical fiction. Check it out! My favorite quote: “I paused beneath the arched entrance, where the drawbridge had once been, imagining all the people who had passed in and out over the centuries, every one of them carrying a combination of desire, hope, jealousy, despair, grief, love, and every other human emotion; a combination that made each one as unique as a snowflake, yet linked all of them inextricably to every other human being from the dawn of time to the end of it.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put this book down. Easy to read and stay engaged with the characters.
Meemo_B More than 1 year ago
ARC provided by Netgalley in return for an unbiased review. Water for Elephants is one of my favorite books, so I looked forward to reading this one. While it was very different from Water for Elephants, still I very much enjoyed this book. The evolution of Madeline Hyde from a rather shallow party girl to a woman who realizes just how superficial her life has been is an interesting journey. I've read multiple reviews from people who said they gave up on the book because the characters were so shallow - which is a shame because that was, in fact, the point. They were absolutely shallow, and it was precisely that shallowness, that lack of comprehension of what was truly happening in the "real world", that led her husband to choose to take her on a dangerous voyage across the Atlantic during WWII to go to Scotland to look for the Loch Ness Monster during a time when there were nightly blackouts because of the German planes that came across the Channel for bombing raids. As Maddie begins to discern the truth about her marriage and her husband, she forges new friendships and relationships with the residents of the small town in Scotland where they base their search for Nessie. We learn the secrets of her life before her marriage, and the secrets of other characters. And ultimately she forges a new and surprising life there. I appreciated the fact that her evolution didn't happen overnight, because that's how life usually happens. Overall I very much enjoyed At the Water's Edge, despite how frustrating the characters could be at times.
GranbyLibraryBookClub More than 1 year ago
New Year's Eve 1944, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially after shaming the Hyde family at a high society New Year's party. This event leads Ellis, Maddie and friend Hank to Scottish Highlands on the hunt for the Loch Ness monster, the only way Ellis feels he will regain his father's respect. The environment is bleak for the wealthy Americans and relationships quickly become frayed, secrets are revealed and Maddie is forced to look at her life through new eyes after befriending the locals. Our book group found the book initially hard to get into, however they grew interested in the characters. We found this book not as good as others by Sara Gruen. 3 1/2 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good history and great romance .