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Extended Audio Sample At the Water’s Edge: A Novel, by Sara Gruen Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sara Gruen Narrator: Justine Eyre Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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.”

    Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Time

  • “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

  • “A tale of deceit and passion set in World War II Scotland…Drama—and a super steamy love story—unfolds.”

    Good Housekeeping

  • “There’s a lot of familiar territory here for fans of Gruen’s Water For Elephants: the fish out of water who’s lost it all, the dazzling hero with clay feet, the setting that feels entirely foreign. Maddie’s gradual awakening is an excellent read, and new readers will undoubtedly love this story of redemption and triumph over classism. The descriptions of wartime Scotland and the characters who live there are mesmerizing.”

    RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

  • “[Gruen] combines historical fiction, romance, and fable to good effect, and her narrative description is often sublime…Married Maddie and Ellis and perennial sidekick Hank are also faced with the daunting task of sorting out their own issues, including their own unresolved love triangle. As Maddie connects with the environment and the locals, her self-awareness deepens, while Ellis and Hank seem to regress. Though the waning days of WWII initially seem like a strange backdrop for this tale, as Maddie shows signs of emotional growth, it begins to make more sense as an effective narrative counterpoint…This ambitious novel is a natural for the book-club set.”


  • “Narrator Justine Eyre transports listeners to the mid-twentieth-century Scottish Highlands in Gruen’s story of love and monsters…Eyre does a wonderful job with the multitude of voices and accents in the story, deftly switching between American and Scottish accents and subtly denoting character traits from personality to educational level. Gruen develops her characters, particularly Maddie, incredibly well over the course of the story, and Eyre’s skillful narration ensures that listeners engage with Maddie on her journey of self-discovery. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “The author conveys the lure of the Scottish Highlands, and its storied lore and mystery help create her novel’s riveting, ethereal atmosphere…At the Water’s Edge captivates with its drama, intrigue and glimpses of both the dark and light of humanity.”


  • A Good Housekeeping Pick for March 2015
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A BookPage Top Pick in Fiction for April 2015
  • An April 2015 LibraryReads Pick
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