Sara Gruen's new novel mixes history with a moving love story.
Ellis and Maddie Hyde are at Ellis's parents house and we see the aftermath of a New Year's Eve party where Ellis and Maddie embarrassed everyone there.
When Ellis's parents call him out on this the discussion gets very personal and something is said that causes Ellia's father to demand that he and Maddie leave their home.
In response, they travel to Scotland with Ellis's side kick, Hank. They are resolved to find the Loch Ness Monster and prove that an endeavor in which Ellis's father, Col Whitney Hyde, was involved in, was worthwhile.
The setting is in 1942 and the trip to Scotland is harrowing as German U Boats sink a ship their liberty ship was traveling with. When Maddie and Ellis see the injured seamen who are rescued, instead of compassion, they are horrified.
Ellis is a spoiled son of a wealthy family. He cares for little other than his own enjoyment and he's hooked on alcohol and pills. He got out of serving in the War due to being color blind. Through much of the story, Maddie wonders if he was faking it.
In Scotland, the party stays at The Fraser Arms where they meet Angus Grant. From this moment on, the story takes on a romantic quality. It's almost out of old English literature where Maddie falls in love with a real man, Angus. He's suffered a double tragedy and the romance builds slowly but beautifully. However, can they make their romance work? Will Ellis stand in their way?
When he sees things aren't going his way, he takes steps to make Maddie suffer.
I enjoyed the story and the manner in which, Maddie, like Scarlett O'Hara became a force of her own, just when the odds were the greatest.
The historical element was also nicely done as the characters at The Fraser Arms gather around the radio and listen to the progress of the war, or they hurry to the air raid shelter along with their gas masks.
Sara Gruen takes her readers on a enjoyable ride as we observe the moral growth of Maddie Hyde. Not up to the excellence of "Water for Elephants," but still and enjoyable book that Gruen's fans will enjoy.