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Publisher's Summary

The new novel from the best-selling author of Water for Elephants.

A gripping and poignant love story set in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands at the end of the Second World War.

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year's Eve of 1944, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis' father, a former army colonel who is already ashamed of his colour-blind son's inability to serve in WWII.

To Maddie's horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father's favour (and generosity) is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster, and when he finds it he will restore his father's name and return to his father's good graces.

In January 1945 they hitch a ride on a ship across the Atlantic while the war is still raging all around them. And Maddie, now alone and virtually abandoned in a foreign country, must begin to work out who she is and what she wants - the vacuous life she left behind or something more real?

What she discovers - about the larger world and about herself - opens her eyes not only to the dark forces that exist around her but to the beauty and surprising possibilities of life.

©2015 Sara Gruen (P)2015 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"I devoured this book. Sara Gruen has proven herself, once again, 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, bestselling author of The Help)
"If I needed a reminder why I am such a fan of Sara Gruen's books, her latest novel provides plenty. 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 finishing, its message still resonates with me: the monsters we seek may be right in front of us. In fact, the only fault I can find with this book is that I've already finished it." (Jodi Picoult)

What members say

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • susan langton
  • 10-14-15

terrible accents

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

someone that can't tell the difference between a scottish and irish accent

What didn’t you like about Justine Eyre’s performance?

terrible - her scottish accent was the worst I have ever heard

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ellie Gage
  • 09-01-15

Poor narration :-(

Average story read by a terrible narrator! Ive never heard such awful accents! Was trying!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • rebecca ward
  • 06-02-15

Dreadful

This is the worst book I have ever read/listened to. Think Mills and Boon meets Monarch of the Glen. And that's kind. Narrator wildly irritating and kind of bleated her way through it with Scottish accents that make Dick Van Dyke look like Laurence Olivier.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • sanyamksaxena
  • 07-06-18

avoidable

I went through the whole book thinking something interesting and gripping would emerge but it was g lat drab. I was carried away by other review comments. will be more careful in future.

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  • Jackie
  • 11-08-16

A good follow up to Water for Elephants

Don't be put off by the element of the story which is about searching for the Loch Ness Monster - it is about so much more! The cruelty of war and individuals & the strength required to survive. The odd flight of fancy is acceptable too in a very readable story.

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  • Anne
  • 05-16-16

accent mixup

lovely story, took a bit of time to get into.

the Scottish accents sound very Irish which I found distracting, being Scottish myself.

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  • Donna
  • 05-31-15

Great story

The narration of Justine Eyre took a bit of getting used to, the quivering of her voice Got on my nerves a bit. Putting that aside the story developed well and I enjoyed the building of characters. Madeleine was brought through the book with honesty and I felt true to someone of her background unable to push back against her world of bullies.