At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water's Edge


This novel is for readers who have had to face the crushing reality that they have chosen the wrong man. It is also for those who love a brooding alpha male with a tragic past, waiting for the right woman to thaw his defences.

Thinking back, I must have had a guardian angel that steered me away from more than one near-miss. This angel believed in tough love, though, putting me through a lot of heartache and hard lessons before guiding me to the man who became my husband. More often than not the angel had to convince the wrong man to break up with me, since I was too blinded by my hunger for love to see the truth.  Against much resistance from me, the angel pried me away from my first love, whom I vehemently believed was my soul mate. With the wisdom of hindsight, I now know we would have been miserable together. He thought backpacking was the ultimate way to travel, especially to perilous, offbeat destinations shunted by mainstream tourists. When we were together I struggled to embrace his ideals. Now I shamelessly admit that I love luxury hotels (on the rare chance that I can afford them) and safe, well-trodden routes. I like mainstream chart music. He loved alternative bands and he couldn’t get enough of live gigs that gave me headaches.

The angel also saved me from a boyfriend who loved extreme sports more than he could ever care for me, and a man whose heart was as icy as a Scandinavian winter.

Sadly, Maddie from At the Water’s Edge didn’t have such an angel. In fact, she didn’t even have caring parents or a loving home. It is no surprise that she married Ellis, a man with all the trappings of romance, such as sweet compliments, gifts of jewel and gowns, but no true love in his selfish and dishonourable heart. I loathed him from Chapter One. But Maddie wouldn’t come to the same conclusion until Ellis all but abandons her in the Scottish Highlands during World War II and threatens to lock her in a lunatic asylum. With bated breath I followed her painful path from blind faith to denial and finally to realisation, thinking this could have been me had I ended up with the wrong husband.

At the same time, I enjoyed reading about Angus. He is the sort of hero of few words who allows his kind and heroic deeds to speak volumes. When his tragic past and extraordinary role in the war is revealed, I knew only he could save Maddie from her impending doom.

The following blurb for At the Water’s Edge, is taken from Booktopia:

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 favour 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 amid the devastation of World War II, in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, where the locals have nothing but contempt for the privileged interlopers. As the men go out looking for the monster, 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. Gradually the friendships she forms open her up to a larger world than she knew existed. As she embraces a fuller sense of who she might be, Maddie becomes aware not only of the dark forces around her, but to the beauty and surprising possibilities of life. 

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