At the Water’s Edge

Written by Sara Gruen
Review by Tamela McCann

Maddie lives life to the fullest in 1945, partying continuously with her wealthy friends and getting herself involved in escapades with her husband, Ellis, and his best friend, Hank. Both men are 4F for fighting in the war but eager to prove their worth, so they hatch a plan to photograph the Loch Ness monster (a task begun by Ellis’s father years before). Crossing the ocean during wartime, the trio set out on their task, but nothing goes as planned. Maddie finds herself left behind in an erstwhile inn while the men go out for often days at a time, and, with lots of idle hours on her hands, begins to help the staff, almost living a double life. As the days slip by, Maddie begins to question not only her husband and his motives, but also her own place in the world. Much like the elusive monster, Maddie finds whom she really is surfacing in unexpected ways.

I cannot say enough good things about this wonderful novel. Fully engrossing from the first pages, it shows the strength of human nature and the scariness of change. There’s just enough business with the Loch Ness monster; indeed, the whole scenario behind the trip to Scotland takes a back seat to Maddie’s emotional growth as her story plays out. The author allows the mysteries surrounding the trio to build expertly, with the added element of just what constitutes abuse in a world of privilege. This is a delightful novel that will have you wishing for more pages because you won’t want to let go.