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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

3.7 out of 5
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  • Disappointing

    Not a compelling story. It read like a romance novel with a touch more sophistication, even suggesting elements of the supernatural. The one or two surprises were forced. Not nearly as compelling as "Water for Elephants."

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    2 person found this review helpful

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  • Lacking substance, like its lead characters

    This book is crammed with wordy filler, simply to make it long enough to be a novel. In truth, there isn't enough substance to make a compelling short story. I can't believe this is the author's fifth book. I suspect it was actually her first novel, rightfully rejected many years ago. I would not have finished reading it, except that it was a book club selection.

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

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  • About much more than just Loch Ness

    The author Sara Gruen has indicated in several online interviews that she has held a long-standing fascination with the Loch Ness monster starting at the age of twelve when she first visited Urquhart Castle. As such, a monster-related plot creates a backdrop for Ms. Gruen's historical fiction novel At the Water's Edge. Although unique, it's just there in the background allowing more impressive themes to shine, such as war, culture, gender roles in history, friendship, marriage, love, mental health, addiction, abuse, family issues, social status, and allowing yourself to re-evaluate the world you live in and grow. Overall, I liked At the Water's Edge and would recommend it to fans of Sara Gruen or women's/historical fiction. Check it out! My favorite quote: “I paused beneath the arched entrance, where the drawbridge had once been, imagining all the people who had passed in and out over the centuries, every one of them carrying a combination of desire, hope, jealousy, despair, grief, love, and every other human emotion; a combination that made each one as unique as a snowflake, yet linked all of them inextricably to every other human being from the dawn of time to the end of it.”

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    0 person found this review helpful

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  • At the Water's Edge was disappointing!

    At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen is an historical novel set during World War II. In February of 1942 Mairi Grant has lost her infant daughter and her husband within a month of each other. Unable to bear living without them she drowns herself in Loch Ness (the lake). It is 1945 in Philadelphia and the war is still going on. Maddie and Ellis Hyde along with their best friend, Hank Boyd are partying it up. They go out drinking and making fools of themselves. Ellis cannot enlist because he is color blind. Hank is flat footed and is also unable to enlist. After making fools of themselves yet again, Ellis’ parents through them out of their apartment. Ellis’ father was a colonel (people call him The Colonel) and he is disappointed in his son. Ellis’ allowance was cut back so they have to live at home (he would never think of working or volunteering for the war effort). The Colonel is obsessed with the Loch Ness monster and took photographs of it. It later came out that the photos were fakes and The Colonel became a laughingstock. Ellis and Hank decide they are going to Scotland to film the monster to show up his father. So the three of them manage to get transport of a supply ship heading to Scotland (going across the Atlantic was dangerous because of German submarines). Hank and Ellis spent most of the trip drunk (of course). They arrive in Scotland and do not understand the attitude of the locals especially at the inn (the owner really does not like them). They are lucky to get rooms for the three of them and are appalled at the food (I do not think they have ever heard of rationing). Even worse the hotel staff does not unpack their belonging or keep their rooms tidy. Hank and Ellis set off each day try and film the monster. Maddie went at first, but she got tired of the cold (and the drinking). Maddie starts offering help at the inn (as long as Ellis is not around). Ellis does not believe in doing menial labor or cleaning up after himself. It is going to be an interesting trip for Maddie, Ellis, and Hank. Do you think they can change? Will they actually see the Lock Ness monster? Read At the Water’s Edge to find out what happens to these three spoiled rich people. At the Water’s Edge was an unusual book. The first part of the book dragged along, but the second half was much better. I give At the Water’s Edge 3.5 out of 5 stars. This book was not at all what I expected. I bet the locals in Scotland wanted to put Hank, Ellis, and Maddie back on a boat to America! There is a great development in the book that I loved (relates to the first paragraph of my review). I received a complimentary copy of At the Water’s Edge from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.

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    3 person found this review helpful

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