‘At the Water’s Edge’6/17/2015
Fantastical monsters, the Scottish Highlands, a complicated romance, and the events of World War II are all included in this coming-of-age story and period novel, “At the Water’s Edge,” written by “Water for Elephants” author Sara Gruen.
The story begins New Year’s Eve of 1944 at a Philadelphia high society party where the main characters — Maddie and husband, Ellis — disgrace themselves at the social event of the year. This leads to the financial cutoff from Ellis’ father, a former army colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in the war because he is colorblind. With the help of his friend, Hank, a wealthy socialite, the only way Ellis can regain his father’s favor and his inheritance is to come up with a scheme to succeed where his father publicly failed many years before. Ellis needs to hunt down and bring back proof that the famous Loch Ness monster does exist. Hank and Ellis drag a reluctant Maddie across the Atlantic in the midst of the war to a remote Scottish town where the locals show great contempt for the privileged and entitled Americans.
As the two men go off each day in search of the monster, Maddie is left alone at the small inn where food is rationed, fuel is scarce, and the postman can bring tragic news at any time. Maddie’s eyes are opened to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection to a force greater than herself, to female friendship and finally, true love, which is in contrast to her husband’s spiral into conceit and self-deception.
“At the Water’s Edge” captivates the reader with its intrigue and glimpses into both the lightness and darkness of humankind. CV
Donna Kalsch is also a youth specialist at the Franklin Library, loves the outdoors and wants to learn to play the cello.