Madeline (Maddie) Hyde, her husband Ellis and their close friend Hank Boyd are privileged, obnoxious and spoiled Philadelphia socialites, living a life of extravagance and debauchery. Their lives are the image of laziness and the threesome spend their days sleeping and their nights partying and drinking. With World War II a continent away, they live their life in a bubble, completely oblivious of the hardships suffered by the people around them and the atrocities occurring half a world away.
After a particularly extreme night of depravity, Ellis is cut off financially by his father, a highly decorated Colonel, and decides upon a crazy plan to redeem himself and get back into his father’s good graces; travel to war devastated Scotland and find the elusive Loch Ness monster that his father was unable to do. As Ellis falls deeper into despair and desperation, fueled by his unsuccessful search and growing dependence on prescription medication, left alone at the local guesthouse, Maddie sets herself on a path of personal transformation and redemption.
At the Water’s Edge is a magnificently gripping and poignant story of one woman’s struggles to make a place for herself in the world and live a life of meaning at a time where everyone and everything around her has gone mad. At once a historical fiction, romance and adventure novel, Sara Gruen has wonderfully captured the atmosphere of the small Scottish village and community of Drumnadrochit that serves as the backdrop to most of the novel. The characters are brilliantly written and developed and the reader is compelled to have feelings for them, feelings that range from love or hate, sympathy or disgust.
I literally could not put this book down. The need to find out what would happen to Maddie, Ellis, Hank, Angus, Meg and Anne was just so strong and kept me turning the pages at almost breakneck speed. The plot was intriguing, the characters superb and the writing absolutely flawless. What else could you possibly ask for of this book? Nothing because it was absolutely perfect!
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House (Spiegel & Grau) for providing me with an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.