I loved Water for Elephants, so I was excited to get into another book from Sara Gruen. What I expected to be a sad story focused around World War II, was actually a really different and interesting story. It was a journey of self discovery, that took me by surprise.
Maddie, her husband Ellis and their best friend Hank travel to Scotland in the midst of World War II. They’re on a mission to find the Loch Ness monster. The only way for Ellis to get back in his father’s good graces is to return with proof that the monster exists. It’s a desperate attempt to save his allowance.
The hellish and grueling trip lands them in a small town, in a hotel with no electricity and people surviving on rations. It’s nothing like the lavish and spoiled lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to. The guys spend their days drinking and sitting next to the Loch in hopes of catching the monster on film, while Maddie sits bored in the hotel.
The change of surroundings, the relationships Maddie makes with the hotel staff and the hardships she sees all around her, force her to look at things in a different way. Especially where her husband is concerned. Things she never realized about him, or turned a blind eye to, start to surface. Things she can’t ignore. She no longer wants to live a lie.
I liked how this story unfolded and the many secrets that were revealed along the way. It wasn’t at all what I expected from a story set in this time period, and that was sort of refreshing. I honestly thought in the beginning that the whole Loch Ness monster storyline was a little hokey, but once all the folklore and family secrets started to surface, it changed my mindset. I was hooked. It ended up being an interesting story about finding family in unexpected places, letting go of the past and following your heart. Of course, the love story was my favorite part. I really liked big, burley, Angus. Overall, a great read.
*Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*