I had the opportunity to read a delightful book over the Memorial Day holiday (my favorite thing to do at our lake house!). I could hardly put the book down over the holiday weekend and wanted to immediately share this with my readers at The Collected Room. One thing that made this book so special, is that it was written by a local author in Asheville, NC! The author, Sara Gruen, lives in Asheville with her family and about a month ago I read an article about her most recent book, At the Water’s Edge.
In 2010, Scotland Yard declassified documents from 1938 regarding the existence of a creature lurking in Loch Ness , which revealed the belief of both the chief constable of Inverness and Scotland’s Undersecretary of State that the creature existed “beyond a doubt”! Author Sara Gruen happened upon an article about the document’s release and the story was of great intrigue to her. The article and this period of history took hold of her imagination and was the inspiration of this new novel.
To complete her research, Gruen spent about five weeks in Scotland in the area around Lock Ness. The World War II history she uncovered in this area was a great foundation for the book and a visit to the famed Urquhart Castle started to weave the threads of this book’s story. I particularly loved the World War II history and the Scottish folklore . As in so many other British historical novels that I have read, this book gives readers a look at life without electricity , strict rationing, blackout drills, and the grief of so many families who lost loved ones in this war. Gruen recreates the feel of war-era Scotland with so many vivid details. The story starts in 1944 in Philadelphia and centers around Maddie Hyde, whom Gruen describes as “a bird in a gilded cage”. Maddie gets back to a life of basics in Scotland and finds what she’s never had but always longed for…female friendship, a sense of purpose and true love. The book is magical and a spellbinding period piece!
I highly recommend this for your “collected library”. I was truly sad when I read the last page, as I simply did not want the book to end!
Image- Fox News
Image- The Daily Mail