Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, of Philadelphia, are kicked out of her husband's house and they are cut off from the family fortune. Ellis and his constant companion and best friend, Hank, come up with a hair-brained scheme. They will travel to Scotland to hunt the illusive Loch Ness monster, to redeem Ellis' father and get back in his good graces. You see, Ellis' father had suffered much public humiliation when he tried to prove he had photographed the monster. It's 1945, and Scotland is in the thick of WWII.
Maddie reluctantly joins them, having no other choice. After almost losing their lives during a torpedo attack, they end up in a tiny, remote Scottish village in an inn that has none of the high-society perks they are accustomed to. Everything is rationed and there is little food and a lot of work to be done. Left alone much of the time, Maddie befriends the staff and even begins to help out around the inn, without her husband knowing. She soon realizes what a cad her husband is. She finds out more and more secrets about him that shed him in a very undesirable light. He treats other people horribly and Maddie doesn't know how to go about getting rid of him. Soon, she fears he will harm her or have her committed. Things deteriorate rapidly.
She begins a relationship with Angus, the caretaker of the inn, and soon finds herself unable to resist his charms. She's playing a very dangerous game though, and she knows it.
Who would ever combine a hunt for the Loch Ness monster with WWII in Scotland? I don't know how Gruen comes up with these ideas, but she makes it work. The characters are priceless. I loved every single one of them, even the "bad" characters. They were all vividly portrayed. The story isn't action packed, but it still sweeps you away and the atmosphere is perceptible.
I really enjoyed At the Water's Edge. I lost myself in this world with these characters, and who can ask for more than that?
Published by Spiegel & Grau, March 31, 2015
Copy obtained from the library
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