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At the Water's Edge

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this thrilling new novel from the author of Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen again demonstrates her talent for creating spellbinding period pieces. At the Water’s Edge is a gripping and poignant love story about a privileged young woman’s awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands.

After disgracing themselves at a high society New Year’s Eve party in Philadelphia in 1944, Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, are cut off financially by his father, a former army colonel who is already ashamed of his son’s inability to serve in the war. When Ellis and his best friend, Hank, decide that the only way to regain the Colonel’s favor is to succeed where the Colonel very publicly failed—by hunting down the famous Loch Ness monster—Maddie reluctantly follows them across the Atlantic, leaving her sheltered world behind.
The trio find themselves in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, where the locals have nothing but contempt for the privileged interlopers. Maddie is left on her own at the isolated inn, where food is rationed, fuel is scarce, and a knock from the postman can bring tragic news. Yet she finds herself falling in love with the stark beauty and subtle magic of the Scottish countryside. Gradually she comes to know the villagers, and the friendships she forms with two young women open her up to a larger world than she knew existed. Maddie begins to see that nothing is as it first appears: the values she holds dear prove unsustainable, and monsters lurk where they are least expected.
As she embraces a fuller sense of who she might be, Maddie becomes aware not only of the dark forces around her, but of life’s beauty and surprising possibilities.

Praise for At the Water’s Edge
“Breathtaking . . . a daring story of adventure, friendship, and love in the shadow of WWII.”Harper’s Bazaar
“A gripping, compelling story . . . Gruen’s characters are vividly drawn and her scenes are perfectly paced.”The Boston Globe
“A page-turner of a novel that rollicks along with crisp historical detail.”Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Powerfully evocative.”—USA Today
“Gruen is a master at the period piece—and [this] novel is just another stunning example of that craft.”Glamour

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 23, 2015 – Gruen s (Water for Elephants) riveting fifth novel follows Philadelphia socialite Madeline Hyde; her husband, Ellis; and his best friend, Hank, on a quest to Loch Ness in January 1945 as they seek proof of the legendary monster, which Ellis s father allegedly photographed 13 years earlier. Once the trio is ensconced in the tiny village of Drumnadrochit, Hank and Ellis begin disappearing for days at a time, leaving Maddie alone back at the inn with no ration card, no practical skills, and no emergency gear. She soon bonds with the locals even Angus, the inn s brooding, standoffish owner and her newfound friendships help her cope with household chores and air raids alike. As the days drag on, Maddie begins to uncover truths about her family, as well as secrets about Ellis, that force her to reimagine her entire life as she knows it. A slow start gives way to mystery upon mystery, building to a gripping climax. Though some aspects, particularly an ambiguous brush with the supernatural, are a little pedestrian, Gruen s beautiful setting and deeply sympathetic characters ensure a memorable read for new and returning fans alike.

Customer Reviews

At The Water’s Edge is a calm and elegant whirlwind

I never saw Water for Elephants, I never read it, but it would have been impossible not to know about it. Between the hype of Robert Pattinson attached as the lead actor and the occurrence of the book on multiple reading list I have seen Water for Elephants pop up a few times. When I saw this title come across my search on Netgalley, I knew that I wanted to read it. I wanted to read something different than what I normally read and I wanted to take the chance on Sara Gruen and her newest title At the Water’s Edge.

The story has a slow pace or perhaps it was just a slow relaxation, the book took me multiple days to fully consume. It was not out of boredom, the story is beautifully written, but it was more the sense that this book was not meant to be devoured quickly but rather it was meant to be read slowly and give a sense of relaxation amongst the lives of these anything but relaxed characters. Maddie is in the center of everything and slowly she starts to realize not all is as it seems.

At The Water’s Edge is a calm and elegant whirlwind and Maddie is the eye watching the madness around her take place. She is a quiet woman who is realizing not everything is at it seems. The life she was leading is so very different then the life she finds herself in now. She questions the way she thought that life should be and begins to form relationships that are built on the harsh realities of life rather then the status of ones family. Maddie is a young woman who is thrown into an unfavorable situation to realize she knows so very little about life but has the opportunity to learn so very much.


Beautifully written, wonderful characters, and a great story.

Not in the same league as Water for Elephants

This book was pleasant and easy to read but not especially memorable.

At the Water's Edge
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Mar 31, 2015
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 416 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings