At the water's edge Sara GruenHow disappointing this book was!

The beginning sounded promising – a young American couple and a friend of them travelling together to Scotland in order to prove the very existence of the Loch Ness monster during World War II. These young wealthy people find themselves in the middle of a war that seems very real now that they have crossed the ocean, but their unsympathetic nature prevent them from understanding the whole picture about the situation the people of the village is living, except for our heroine, Maddie.

Maddie, who has always taken part in the fun with her husband and their friend, is now left behind in the hostel and there she would get to know the struggles of the war for the people from a social status different than hers. In addition, she will find out that she doesn’t really know her husband and his true intentions towards her and, of course, she is also to fall in love with someone else.

Alright, there are several themes in the book, all of which fit very well in a historical fiction novel, but somehow the author doesn’t manage to combine in a smooth fashion. I found it repetitive – they are in the inn having trouble with the staff, then the boys left for and expedition in the lake and Maddie learns about the people who surround her; the boys return and have trouble with the staff, then they left and Maddie learns more about the staff and her husband, and so on. There are also some, let’s say, supernatural scenes that have nothing to do with the rest of the story and lead to an ending too easy to my liking.

So I would say I liked the main character and her transformation from being a snob to actually care about the others, but the story as a whole seemed pointless and confusing because the reader doesn’t really know what the author wanted to tell.

I think fans of Water for elephants will be disappointed as well…


At the water’s edge
Sarah Gruen
Published by Spiegel & Grau
348 pages