At the Water’s Edge & The Summer Before the War

Book Pairing

At the water's edge    Summer before the war

The only real similarity between these two novels is that they both take place in the midst of great world wars in history and that the protagonists in each book is a female, who defies societal norms while discovering her true aspirations.  In the first story, Maddie, her husband and a mutual male friend get caught up in traveling to Scotland from America, during the most risky time of World War II, to seek out the famous Loch Ness monster.  Her husband and their friend are not able to serve in the army for medical reasons and so, they take it upon themselves to do their part by proving that the sea creature actually exists.  Maddie witnesses horrors on the trip to Scotland and once there, must experience the reality of the war, with bomb raids continuously threatening their well-being.  It is when she tries to help her husband uncover the beast, that she is ultimately told to stay out of the adventure. She becomes stranded at the inn they are residing at, where she is left to observe and befriend the others around her.  It is here that she also realizes who she is meant to be.  In the second novel, Beatrice (a wannabe spinster) has just been hired as the first female Latin teacher in the quaint little English town of Rye.  Much tension is in the air when she arrives because there is talk of a World War brewing (World War I).  She is welcomed as a friend by a local family and soon she must worry about her own efforts to support the inevitable war.  Beatrice challenges the village with her convictions when she reveals her desire to be a writer and especially, when she goes against the majority’s decision to take care of a young and pregnant Belgium refugee.  Beatrice grows stronger with each new controversy she encounters and she also begins to believe that marriage may be a possibility for her, after all.  Both books have great writing and dialogue that keep you interested.  Each one has characters that you will not soon forget and of course, you learn more about what people went through during both wars.  Clever plots and enjoyable reading.





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