At The Water’s Edge

gruenThis book is getting good reviews, so I picked up the audio book when I saw it at the library.

You may know Sara Gruen from her hit Water for Elephants.  I wasn’t a huge fan, but it was okay.  Worth giving the author another shot.

I have two major things against this book.  The first is a little trivial – the reader of the audio book has a rather terrible voice for audio books.  Nasal and annoying, it just made the characters less likeable.  (This may be the intent as the non-annoying characters are read in a less nasal voice.)  It made me want to stop reading early on.

More importantly, I’m getting very tired of the man-beats-woman in graphically described violence.  Then a different man saves woman from the horrible situation.  Gruen (after two books in which domestic violence plays a central role) seems to rely on violence against women as a major plot tool.  In this book it happens with two major female characters.  Why so focused on this?  Why the resolution in a fairy tale way?  Trust me, real women are generally not whisked away to a beautiful life.

The book covers a socialite couple who are tossed out of their cosy Philadelphia life due to their partying ways.  They head to Scotland in search of proof of the Loch Ness Monster, in hopes that this will vindicate the man in the sight of his father.

Many of the characters of this book are really annoying.  The local Scotland ‘characters’ are more interesting, but fairly shallow.

The occasional mention of the war (WWII) seemed very out of place in this type of a book.  It’s like Gruen wants to write a serious book, but writes fluff fiction with odd moments of violence that seem insensitive.

I wouldn’t recommend this book and I would guess it will be my last by Gruen.


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