Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
At the Water's Edge
Cover of At the Water's Edge
At the Water's Edge
A Novel
Borrow Borrow Borrow
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this thrilling new novel from the author of Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen again demonstrates her talent for creating spellbinding period pieces. At the Water's Edge is a gripping and poignant love story about a privileged young woman's awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands.
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 favor 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 in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, where the locals have nothing but contempt for the privileged interlopers. 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. Yet she finds herself falling in love with the stark beauty and subtle magic of the Scottish countryside. Gradually she comes to know the villagers, and the friendships she forms with two young women open her up to a larger world than she knew existed. Maddie begins to see that nothing is as it first appears: the values she holds dear prove unsustainable, and monsters lurk where they are least expected.

As she embraces a fuller sense of who she might be, Maddie becomes aware not only of the dark forces around her, but of life's beauty and surprising possibilities.
Praise for At the Water's Edge

"Breathtaking . . . a daring story of adventure, friendship, and love in the shadow of WWII."Harper's Bazaar

"A gripping, compelling story . . . Gruen's characters are vividly drawn and her scenes are perfectly paced."The Boston Globe

"A page-turner of a novel that rollicks along with crisp historical detail."Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Powerfully evocative."—USA Today

"Gruen is a master at the period piece—and [this] novel is just another stunning example of that craft."Glamour

"A captivating tale."—Us Weekly

"Compulsively readable . . . a rich, beautiful novel . . . at once a gripping love story, a profound examination of the effects of war on ordinary women, and a compelling portrait of female friendship."—Kristin Hannah

"Utterly winning."—The Miami Herald

"A compelling, enthralling read, a novel which captivates and rewards, paying off in a series of emotional and narrative twists . . . comfort reading of the highest order."—The Globe and Mail

"A super steamy love story."—Good Housekeeping

"Unique in its setting and scope, this impeccably researched historical fiction is full of the gorgeous prose I've come to expect from this author."—Jodi Picoult

"[Gruen] conveys the lure of the Scottish Highlands. . . . At the Water's Edge captivates with its drama, intrigue and glimpses of both the dark and light of humanity."BookPage
From the Hardcover edition.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this thrilling new novel from the author of Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen again demonstrates her talent for creating spellbinding period pieces. At the Water's Edge is a gripping and poignant love story about a privileged young woman's awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands.
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 favor 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 in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, where the locals have nothing but contempt for the privileged interlopers. 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. Yet she finds herself falling in love with the stark beauty and subtle magic of the Scottish countryside. Gradually she comes to know the villagers, and the friendships she forms with two young women open her up to a larger world than she knew existed. Maddie begins to see that nothing is as it first appears: the values she holds dear prove unsustainable, and monsters lurk where they are least expected.

As she embraces a fuller sense of who she might be, Maddie becomes aware not only of the dark forces around her, but of life's beauty and surprising possibilities.
Praise for At the Water's Edge

"Breathtaking . . . a daring story of adventure, friendship, and love in the shadow of WWII."Harper's Bazaar

"A gripping, compelling story . . . Gruen's characters are vividly drawn and her scenes are perfectly paced."The Boston Globe

"A page-turner of a novel that rollicks along with crisp historical detail."Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Powerfully evocative."—USA Today

"Gruen is a master at the period piece—and [this] novel is just another stunning example of that craft."Glamour

"A captivating tale."—Us Weekly

"Compulsively readable . . . a rich, beautiful novel . . . at once a gripping love story, a profound examination of the effects of war on ordinary women, and a compelling portrait of female friendship."—Kristin Hannah

"Utterly winning."—The Miami Herald

"A compelling, enthralling read, a novel which captivates and rewards, paying off in a series of emotional and narrative twists . . . comfort reading of the highest order."—The Globe and Mail

"A super steamy love story."—Good Housekeeping

"Unique in its setting and scope, this impeccably researched historical fiction is full of the gorgeous prose I've come to expect from this author."—Jodi Picoult

"[Gruen] conveys the lure of the Scottish Highlands. . . . At the Water's Edge captivates with its drama, intrigue and glimpses of both the dark and light of humanity."BookPage
From the Hardcover edition.
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    2
  • Library copies:
    2
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Scottish Highlands, January 14, 1945

    "Oh God, make him pull over," I said as the car slung around yet another curve in almost total darkness.

    It had been nearly four hours since we'd left the naval base at Aultbea, and we'd been careening from checkpoint to checkpoint since. I truly believe those were the only times the driver used the brakes. At the last checkpoint, I was copiously sick, narrowly missing the guard's boots. He didn't even bother checking our papers, just lifted the red and white pole and waved us on with a look of disgust.

    "Driver! Pull over," said Ellis, who was sitting in the backseat between Hank and me.

    "I'm afraid there is no 'over,' " the driver said in a thick Highland accent, his R's rolling magnificently. He came to a stop in the middle of the road.

    It was true. If I stepped outside the car I would be ankle-deep in thorny vegetation and mud, not that it would have done any more to destroy my clothes and shoes. From head to toe I was steeped in sulfur and cordite and the stench of fear. My stockings were mere cobwebs stretched around my legs, and my scarlet nails were broken and peeling. I hadn't had my hair done since the day before we'd sailed from the shipyard in Philadelphia. I had never been in such a state.

    I leaned out the open door and gagged while Ellis rubbed my back. Wet snow collected on the top of my head.

    I sat up again and pulled the door shut. "I'm sorry. I'm finished. Do you think you can take those things off the headlights? I think it would be better if I could see what's coming." I was referring to the slotted metal plates our one-eyed driver had clipped on before we'd left the base. They limited visibility to about three feet ahead of us.

    "Can't," he called back cheerfully. "It's the Blackout." As he cranked up through the gears, my head lurched back and forth. I leaned over and cradled my face in my hands.

    Ellis patted my shoulder. "We should be nearly there. Do you think fresh air would help?"

    I sat up and let my head flop against the back of the torn leather seat. Ellis reached across and rolled the window down a crack. I turned toward the cold air and closed my eyes.

    "Hank, can you please put out your cigarette?"

    He didn't answer, but a whoosh of frigid air let me know he had tossed it out the window.

    "Thank you," I said weakly.

    Twenty minutes later, when the car finally came to a stop and the driver cut the engine, I was so desperate for solid ground I spilled out before the driver could get his own door open, never mind mine. I landed on my knees.

    "Maddie!" Ellis said in alarm.

    "I'm all right," I said.

    There was a fast-moving cloud cover under a nearly full moon, and by its light I first laid eyes on our unlikely destination.

    I climbed to my feet and reeled away from the car, thinking I might be sick again. My legs propelled me toward the building, spinning ever faster. I crashed into the wall, then slid down until I was crouching against it.

    In the distance, a sheep bleated.

    . . .

    To say that I wished I wasn't there would be a ludicrous understatement, but I'd only ever had the illusion of choice:

    We have to do this, Hank had said. It's for Ellis.

    To refuse would have been tantamount to betrayal, an act of calculated cruelty. And so, because of my husband's war with his father and their insane obsession with a mythical monster, we'd crossed the Atlantic at the very same time a real madman, a real monster, was attempting to take over the world for his own reasons of ego and pride.

    I would have given anything to go back two weeks, to the...

About the Author-
  • Sara Gruen is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of At the Water's Edge, Water for Elephants, Ape House, Riding Lessons, and Flying Changes. Her works have been translated into forty-three languages and have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. Water for Elephants was adapted into a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon, Rob Pattinson, and Christoph Waltz in 2011. She lives in western North Carolina with her husband and three sons, along with their dogs, cats, horses, birds, and the world's fussiest goat.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 23, 2015
    Gruen’s (Water for Elephants) riveting fifth novel follows Philadelphia socialite Madeline Hyde; her husband, Ellis; and his best friend, Hank, on a quest to Loch Ness in January 1945 as they seek proof of the legendary monster, which Ellis’s father allegedly photographed 13 years earlier. Once the trio is ensconced in the tiny village of Drumnadrochit, Hank and Ellis begin disappearing for days at a time, leaving Maddie alone back at the inn with no ration card, no practical skills, and no emergency gear. She soon bonds with the locals—even Angus, the inn’s brooding, standoffish owner—and her newfound friendships help her cope with household chores and air raids alike. As the days drag on, Maddie begins to uncover truths about her family, as well as secrets about Ellis, that force her to reimagine her entire life as she knows it. A slow start gives way to mystery upon mystery, building to a gripping climax. Though some aspects, particularly an ambiguous brush with the supernatural, are a little pedestrian, Gruen’s beautiful setting and deeply sympathetic characters ensure a memorable read for new and returning fans alike.

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2015
    Three spoiled brats from Philadelphia go to Scotland to look for the Loch Ness monster in the middle of World War II."I pointed out, as gently as I could, what I'd hoped was obvious: that it made no sense whatsoever to throw ourselves into the middle of an ocean crawling with U-boats on a quest to find a monster that probably didn't even exist," explains Maddie Hyde as she embarks on that very journey with her husband and their best friend. If only she could have gotten this across to Gruen (Ape House, 2010, etc.), who is not likely to replicate the success of the best-selling Water for Elephants (2006) with this silly novel. Unlike the other brave boys of their generation, Ellis and Hank are not off fighting Hitler; they are 4-F due to color blindness and flat feet, respectively. Instead of hanging around town being sneered at by their friends and family, they scoop up Maddie and take off for Scotland, where their dubious plan is to redeem the reputation of Ellis' father, who supposedly faked a sighting of Nessie a decade earlier, by this time really finding the monster. After a gruesome trip through the Battle of the Atlantic, they arrive at the tiny village of Drumnadrochit, where they take rooms at a run-down public house run by a crew from Central Casting: a gruff, wild-looking innkeeper, a beautiful red-haired barmaid, etc. While Ellis and Hank spend their days getting wildly drunk and monster-hunting, Maddie befriends the locals and learns to make a bed and mash potatoes. Various types of forbidden love, deception and skullduggery ensue. Gruen's handling of air raids, food rations, sad telegrams and reports from the front makes the thinness of the story's premise all the more awkward. At heart, this is an unlikely romance novel. A little too unlikely.

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • BookPage "Breathtaking . . . a daring story of adventure, friendship, and love in the shadow of WWII."--Harper's Bazaar "A gripping, compelling story . . . [Sara] Gruen's characters are vividly drawn and her scenes are perfectly paced."--The Boston Globe "A page-turner of a novel that rollicks along with crisp historical detail."--Fort Worth Star-Telegram "Powerfully evocative."--USA Today "Gruen is a master at the period piece--and [this] novel is just another stunning example of that craft."--Glamour "A captivating tale."--Us Weekly "Utterly winning."--The Miami Herald "A compelling, enthralling read, a novel which captivates and rewards, paying off in a series of emotional and narrative twists . . . comfort reading of the highest order."--The Globe and Mail "A super steamy love story."--Good Housekeeping "[Gruen] conveys the lure of the Scottish Highlands. . . . At the Water's Edge captivates with its drama, intrigue and glimpses of both the dark and light of humanity."
  • Booklist "A heartwarming story about life, and the places it can potentially take you."--InStyle "A natural for the book-club set."
  • Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale "If I needed a reminder why I am such a fan of Sara Gruen's books, her latest novel provides plenty. Unique in its setting and scope, this impeccably researched historical fiction is full of the gorgeous prose I've come to expect from this author. And even after the final page, its message still resonates with me: The monsters we seek may be right in front of us. In fact, the only fault I can find with this book is that I've already finished it."--Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Time "I devoured this book. Once again Sara Gruen has proven herself to be one of America's most compelling storytellers. You might be tempted to rush to get to the answers at the end--but don't, or you'll miss the delectable journey that is Gruen's prose."--Kathryn Stockett, New York Times bestselling author of The Help "Magical . . . At the Water's Edge skillfully transports us to a small, tenacious Scottish village in the grip of war, and into the heart of Madeline Hyde, a woman who is a stranger to herself until forces convene to rock her awake. Sara Gruen is a wizard at capturing the essence of her historical setting, and does so here in spades, but it's Maddie's unexpected transformation that grounds and drives the novel. As her husband and best friend search the surface of the Loch, desperate for a sign of the elusive creature, Maddie learns to plumb her own depths, and comes fully alive to the world around her."--Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife "At the Water's Edge is a rich, beautiful novel. Elegantly written and compulsively readable, it is at once a gripping love story, a profound examination of the effects of war on ordinary women, and a compelling portrait of female friendship. While delving into powerful themes, Sara Gruen never loses sight of what matters: her characters. This story of one privileged young woman, coming of age in a time of impossible upheaval and terrible choices, will keep you riveted until the very last page."
  • Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Someone Else's Love Story "Intoxicating . . . Sara Gruen has an exquisite eye for detail, and she evokes the haunted--and haunting--Scottish landscape with her signature passion, freshness, and scope. Atmospheric and gritty, the compelling tale of Madeline's struggle to redefine herself in a world gone mad will linger long after you turn the final page. I love this marvelous, marvelous book."
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Random House Publishing Group
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 3 titles every 31 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
At the Water's Edge
At the Water's Edge
A Novel
Sara Gruen
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel