Thursday, March 24, 2016

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

From Goodreads:

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind. 

To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war. 

Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants. 

The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.

This was the first book in a LONG time that I stayed up late to finish. It wasn't amazing or particularly complex but it was thoroughly enjoyable. It's more of a fluffy beach read than it initially appears.

I read this immediately after China Dolls, in which I had to fight SO HARD to like the characters. Maddie, however, is very likeable and becomes even more so as the book goes on. One of the criticisms I've seen of this book is that the main characters are all just spoiled rich kids doing what they want but...that's kind of the point. They're absurd and eventually Maddie realizes she doesn't want to be that person anymore. 

My one big criticism is that the love story left me going, "Wait, what?" They had the odd interaction then she saw him with his shirt off and suddenly they were both goners. That could have used a bit more development. 

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