Thursday, January 29, 2015
At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
The main story line involves a wealthy American couple, Ellis and Maddie Hyde, who travel to Scotland in search of the Loch Ness monster. Along with their best friend, Hank, the trio seeks to redeem themselves after causing the Hyde patriarch such acute embarrassment during a social occasion that he cuts off Ellis from his allowance. In addition, neither Ellis nor Hank are able to serve in the war efforts as both have conditions that prevented their enlistment.
When they arrive in Scotland to begin their search for the monster, the trio manages to draw hostility from the local townspeople by their attitudes about class and entitlement. Although this was supposed to be a story in which Maddie comes to her senses and discovers herself while the men continue their crass, snobbish ways, it was mostly a slow moving description of Maddie's boring days at the inn and how she endears herself to all with her kind ways. Frankly, none of the characters were appealing or had any depth. Ellis is a pill-popping fraud and Hank his trusty sidekick -- drunkards both. Of course there is the hidden hero who rises to the occasion when he's most needed and saves the day. All in all, just a ho hum plot with a few WWII references thrown in to emphasize the time period of the setting and how difficult of a time the people were having contending with night air raids and rationing. The addition of the supernatural events just further alienated me from connecting with the characters or the story.
I had read Water for Elephants and I hoped to be entranced with this novel as well, but that was not to be. Anyone looking for a formulaic historical romance will find it with this book.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Random House for the e-book ARC to review.