What It Is About: This time around, Sara Gruen tries her writing hand at historical fiction. The story begins in 1944 in Philadelphia. Madeline and her husband, along with their friend Hank, are celebrating the new year with lots of money, alcohol, and fun. When Ellis' dad gets angry at his son for embarrassing the family, he cuts him off from their family money. Ellis' dad is a Colonel and is not happy that Ellis can't serve in the war. The three young "partiers" decide to head to Europe during wartime and try to find the Loch Ness Monster, which Ellis' dad failed to do many years earlier. Maddie is whisked away with her husband and his best friend. She has always lived the high life and this new adventure isn't exactly what she had in mind when traveling to Europe. They end up in a small village in Scotland. The two men make it their mission to find the monster to gain back the love and acceptance of Ellis' father. While they venture off on this crazy expedition, Maddie is left alone at the inn with the local people. She isn't sure where she belongs; the life she left behind or the life that may be waiting for her in the future. Maddie befriends two women that work at the inn and finds friendship with Angus who has a secret history. The more time she spends alone, the more she finds out about her husband and his friend Hank.
What I Thought Of It: When I first started the novel I wasn't sure what I was going to find. After a few chapters I fell into a groove and begin to enjoy this story. It is completely different from Water for Elephants, but was a satisfying read. I know the premise of two guys going off to Europe to find the Loch Ness Monster sounds kind of strange, or it did to me, but it worked in this story. I really enjoyed the character of Madeline and the transformation she took while in Scotland. She was a character I liked while Ellis and Hank were quite the opposite. The "crew" at the inn were also delightful and warmed my heart on many occasions.
Who Should Read It: If you have read any of Sara's other novels, then I recommend this one to you. I think you will really enjoy it. This novel is part historical fiction, but mostly just an excellent fiction story. The "monster" aspect of the story isn't the main focus, so don't let that affect you from reading the novel. This is a story about people who lived one life, made some drastic changes, and ended up finding the true lives they were meant to live. The novel comes out in March of 2015 so be on the look out for it. Happy Reading!
Rating: 4 STARS out of 5 Stars