At the Water’s Edge

Publisher: Anchor Canada
In her stunning new novel, Gruen returns to the kind of storytelling she excelled at in Water for Elephants: a historical timeframe in an unusual setting with a creature who may or may not be the hero of the story.
     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 color-blindness. 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. Meanwhile, Maddie undergoes a 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.

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EXCERPT Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, December 31, 1944

“Five! Four! Three! Two!”

The word “one” had already formed on our lips, but before it could slide off there was an explosion overhead. As screams rose around us, I pitched myself against Ellis, tossing...
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PRAISE FOR

A New York Times Bestseller
A National Post Best Book of the Year
Nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Mystery & Thriller
National Bestseller


"At the Water's Edge is a compelling, enthralling read, a novel which captivates and rewards, paying off in a series of emotional and narrative twists. . . . We have all seen this sort of story before; there is something especially powerful about seeing it so deftly embraced and heedlessly executed. At the Water's Edge is comfort reading of the highest order." 
The Globe and Mail

"Set in World War II-era Scotland . . . it is here, in this cold, foggy land of lochs and faeries, deprived of the comforts of home and torn from her usual social context, that privileged Maddie will finally become an adult, opening her mind and heart to learn about the cruelties, dangers and privations of war, the arbitrariness of social class barriers and the true meaning of love and friendship. . . . Gruen does a good job of hooking the reader from the first page." ―Toronto Star

"If Water for Elephants proved anything, it's that Gruen is a master at the period piece—and her latest novel is just another stunning example of that craft. . . . you will soak [it] up hungrily in one sitting." 
Glamour

"Take a hunt for the Loch Ness monster, set it during the last, tumultuous year of World War II and add a troubled marriage between an emotionally fragile heiress and a hard-drinking, sexually ambivalent charmer, and you've got the makings of a sensational novel. . . . utterly winning. . . . a satisfying novel, with final chapters full of riveting scenes and poetic justice."
Miami Herald 

"I devoured this novel in one night. . . . Researched to a T, with wartime factoids tucked into nearly every scene, this novel is a fairy tale, to be sure, but its richly sewn quilt of monsters lurking, chauvinistic debauchery, unintended self-discovery and hard-won female camaraderie anchor the story." ―Austin Chronicle

"Maddie Hyde is a Sara Gruen heroine. She's bold, she's warm, and she's been cast out of Philadelphia polite society."
NPR

"Gruen's depiction of life during wartime is powerfully evocative."
USA Today

"What an interesting book! . . . This story of love, deception, class and morality weaves elements of Scottish folklore and mysticism into its pages, as well as vividly recreating its period in history. Readers are sure to enjoy the evolution of Maddie Hyde in this well-written and captivating book." ―Vancouver Sun 

“A page-turner of a novel that rollicks along with crisp historical detail, waves of deep emotions and a dash of Scottish mystical mythology.”
Star-Telegram (Fort Worth)

"At the Water’s Edge is an old-school romance. . . . Finding love and lust in the Highlands is quite the thing these days. [And] love among the nettles is still some fun."
New York Daily News


From the Hardcover edition.