Rating: 5 Bursting Stars
Published: March 31 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
“I wanted to know what it was like to experience a love so deep you couldn’t bear to exist without it.”
Maddie is married to Ellis, a headstrong Philadelphian high society man. When he makes a fool of himself, and his father, on New Year’s Eve, the Colonel cuts him off. To redeem himself, he concocts a plan to win back his dad’s father by finding proof of the Loch Ness Monster, and dragging Maddie along for the ride. To Scotland they go, the Three Musketeers, (Maddie, Ellis, and their friend Hank) during WWII. Ellis struggles with his inability to serve due to his colorblindness and Hank is always up for a lark. Maddie gets increasingly annoyed that they took this frivolous trip to the Highlands during a war but learns more about herself than she would have if she stayed in Philadelphia. It’s a journey of self-discovery, friendship, and love.
I was lucky enough to be accepted to read the arc on Net Galley (many thanks to Net Galley and Random House). Then I was extraordinarily lucky to find a signed copy of this novel at Target! I just had to get it because I love the cover so much. (I’m a sucker for signed books- especially those at Target for some reason, it’s like a bonus – going grocery shopping and oh hey, a signed book.)
As a lover of Water for Elephants, I knew I had to read this next book from Sara Gruen. What a beautiful cover! Sara Gruen, you have done it again. Hands down, this is one of my favorite books of the year. I stayed up way past by self-proclaimed bed time to finish reading this book. It was THAT good.
In love. I am just plain in love with this book. I adored the story. It was perfect. I couldn’t stop reading. Why oh why, didn’t I fall in love with a Scot when I lived there? I suppose I’ll just have to keep going back until I do.
Okay, real things. I love Madeline (that name!) Maddie. My girl. Oh, I loved her journey. She learned and grew so much. Hers was journey of self discovery and I liked how much she changed. She became capable, strong, and independent in her love. She became a person instead of a puppet. Maddie speaks to me. I can hear her voice so clearly in my head. I loved her character development.
“I was Gretel, on my own, and it was too late to start dropping crumbs, because I’d eaten them.”
The historical fiction part of the story was fantastic. It was thoroughly researched and clearly came across that way. I liked the inclusion of superstitions and ghosts. It was unexpected and welcome.
“The monster- if there as one- never revealed itself to me again. But what I had learned over the past year was that monsters abound, usually in plain sight.”
The writing was gorgeous and some of it took my breath away. That first real love scene in the novel was brilliantly written. When Maddie was falling in love, I was too. I immediately want to go back and reread it. Now that I know how it ends, I want to savor it.
“I paused beneath the arched entrance, where the drawbridge had once been, imagining all the people who had passed in and out over the centuries, every one of them carrying a combination of desire, hope, jealousy, despair, love, and every other human emotion; a combination that made each one as unique as a snowflake, yet linked all of them inextricably to every other human being from the dawn of time to end of it.”
I hated Ellis. Hate hate hate hate. He’s an indignant, self-centered socialite always expecting others to be at his beck and call. It’s too bad he couldn’t go to war because then maybe he would have got his head out of his ass. (You’re supposed to hate him.) Hank, I just laugh at and sometimes feel sorry for him. I loved the character development of everyone at the Inn. It was fascinating to read. I liked that everyone started out differently than you’d expect. It’s so human and real. Meg and Anna were wonderful additions to the story, though, at times it was hard for me to keep then straight (really though, just at the beginning). I loved the friendships that came out of it. I loved how much Maddie fits in and how she realizes who the people that care about her are.
Ultimately, it was beautiful storytelling and well researched. I’ll be thinking about this book for years to come. I loved feeling like I was back in Scotland (I lived there for 4 months, which was not nearly enough time). I ached to be back at Urquhart castle and I could clearly picture the Loch. I’d just like to go back please. Right now.