Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Hope every one is having a Happy St. Patrick's day. Please be safe with your activities if you choose to be out tonight. In the spirit of the Emerald Isle and its Celtic neighbors, here is a review for a novel releasing in two weeks. 

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

Oh, what to write when I have mixed feelings about a book. This novel was good but not great. I would definitely add it to my library, but it won't be one of the dog-eared copies that gets read once year--maybe more once a decade.  I give it four stars. The low points for me were just not low enough to not give the writing credit.

This is the story of a woman raised in glamour and sheltered by money despite her mother's scandalous reputation. Maddie feels like she has horrors in her life because WWII is going on putting a dint on the finer things in life, and she is facing isolation from her mother-in-law for not having the right kind of blood.

Then, her husband drags her to Scotland and Maddie learns what real horror is. Scotland in the late part of WWII felt authentic. While some of the facts were elaborated for the artistic purpose of entertainment, Gruen tried to keep everything on the correct timeline with historical names and places intact. There were plenty of small details used to highlight the war setting. You could really feel unsettled with how people existed in a state of tension and hope every day. The people Maddie meets are brilliant. Meg and Anna are just truly great female characters. 

Speaking of characters--Nessie! The myth and legend of the Scottish Highlands lives large. Plus, we get a few of the other golden Scottish legends thrown in there with her. Big positive to me when you write a story about a very superstitious people.

There is a strong dynamic between the protagonists and the antagonists. The overall character interactions were honest and I really felt pulled into their lives. I hurt with them and shared in their joy. I really can't put my finger on what kept me from falling in love with this story. For some reason, there just wasn't a strong spark. I didn't rush to pick up the book when I came home, and it took me longer than usual to finish. I still easily give the story 4 stars and recommend it to all readers.

Visit Sara Gruen's website to get your pre-order in for March 31, 2015.