At the Water's Edge

By Sara Gruen

At the Water's Edge - Sara Gruen
  • Release Date: 2015-03-31
  • Genre: Fiction & Literature
Score: 4
From 481 Ratings


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
“A captivating tale.”—Us Weekly
“Compulsively readable . . . a rich, beautiful novel . . . at once a gripping love story, a profound examination of the effects of war on ordinary women, and a compelling portrait of female friendship.”—Kristin Hannah
“Utterly winning.”—The Miami Herald
“A compelling, enthralling read, a novel which captivates and rewards, paying off in a series of emotional and narrative twists . . . comfort reading of the highest order.”—The Globe and Mail
“A super steamy love story.”—Good Housekeeping
“Unique in its setting and scope, this impeccably researched historical fiction is full of the gorgeous prose I’ve come to expect from this author.”—Jodi Picoult
“[Gruen] conveys the lure of the Scottish Highlands. . . . At the Water’s Edge captivates with its drama, intrigue and glimpses of both the dark and light of humanity.”BookPage

From the Hardcover edition.


  • Great Read

    By kbish83
    I’m glad I came across this book, it was a fun and easy read. The story unfolds as the main character starts to learn a lot about herself and those around her. The love story is what really took me by surprise, and a good one at that. Highly recommend it, it’ll stick with you.
  • Waste of time and money

    By marjorie8888
    Having read and enjoyed Water for elephants years ago, I was looking forward to reading this book. The entire book which of course includes plot, all storylines and all characters was totally absurd and unbelievable. Halfway through the book, it turns into a romance novel. The protagonist seemed to have the IQ of a turnip. Unbelievable waste of time and money.
  • At the Water's Edge

    By PushpushStable
    While the beautiful story had me rushing to turn the pages, I was well aware that I was going to feel so depressed when I completed the book.
  • Modern day, somewhat dark fairy tale

    By Crzyhrt
    Poor little rich girl with shades of tragedy and wartime deprivation. A little sex and romance thrown in. Does hold water to Water for Elephants...
  • Wonderful

    By cdav39
    I am so happy I stumbled across this book. I'm surprised I liked it so much since it dealt with sea creatures! Please do yourself a favor and read this book!
  • Hard to put down

    By vikir
    A story that's engaging and thrilling. I found myself swept up in each character's storyline as if they were real people, friends whose well being was as important as my own. I also loved the backdrop of the history and culture from one of my very favorite countries: Scotland. It was hard to put down and I ended up finishing the book in less than 3 days.
  • Enjoyable

    By Alma Zero
    Though I did enjoy the final chapters of the book the first 24 were tough to get through. It was extremely slow! The story was good and I began to enjoy the characters by the ending so I gave the book 3 stars.
  • At the Water's Edge

    By Chatwatt
    After reading Water for Elephants, I didn't think Sara Gruen enthrall me again. However, she did. This novel was rare for me in that it took me many chapters to become completely engrossed. Her characterization are vivid, and, in each, character the reader will recognize someone he or she knows. Although Gruen acknowledges historical deviations, I loved the historical aspects of this page-turner novel.
  • Predictable

    By Freedamay
    Gruen's story was enthralling at first. However, it became so predictable that I finished by skimming it. I was most disappointed that she had to follow a formula.
  • At the Water' Edge

    By singingsop
    A disappointing read from a usually talented writer. These characters grated my nerves with their pettiness and self serving pranks. The romance was overly dramatic and the writing stilted.