At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this book. It's not terribly deep (no pun intended as it is set at the infamous Loch in Scotland), but it does carry some gravity to its message. Be happy. Whatever the choices you have to make in order to do so: be happy.
Maddie and Ellis have some growing up to do. Post a New Year's Eve party disgraceful drunk, Ellis's father has had enough - and he cuts them off. The money is gone. Ellis's father already has a battery of excuses to dislike his son, namely his son's inability to serve in the war with his father being a Colonel (retired), but he isn't too happy with his choice of wife either; Maddie is a bit "low-brow" for the family's taste.
Upon being tossed out, Ellis and his buddy Hank (are they just friends? Really? I'm sensing a BIT MORE THERE, but it's 1944 so we won't talk about that...yet) decide they will avenge his father's lost reputation of the infamous siting of the Lochness Monster. His father was credited (fictionally of course) with the famous photograph and then made out to be a fraud. Ellis believes this will return him to his father's graces and off to Scotland they go, with poor Maddie in tow. Maddie's life has been quite sheltered upon until now so this is not quite an adventure for her.
They settle in a tiny village in the Scotland Highlands (a big draw to the book for me to begin with!) where the local folks see them as privileged foreigners trekking through their peaceful (as much as can be during the war) village. Hank and Ellis are off to find the Lochness Monster, without Maddie (of course - see comment above) and Maddie is left on her own at the isolated inn with no food, no fuel, and bad news at every knock. Her only saving grace is her love for the amazing trance of the Scottish land. Without Ellis weighing her down, Maddie begins to find life and love and happiness and friendship in a way she never knew she could. She beings to truly see who she actually IS, and that life is far better than her imagination could muster.
At the Water's Edge is a good read. I enjoyed it and I think others will, too. It's a moving read, a story that seduces the reader with emotional and narrative twists, providing deep set comfort in a chaotic world.
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