Monday, January 19, 2015

A Search for the Loch Ness Monster and a Deteriorating Marriage

A trio of bright, young, Philadelphia socialites travel to Scotland during WWII in search of the Loch Ness Monster. Hank and Ellis, best friends, are unable to serve in the armed forces. Hank has flat feet and Ellis is color blind. Unfortunately, Ellis' father, the Colonel, doesn't believe in the color blindness and thinks his son is a coward. After one blow up, Hank and Ellis decide that the way to redeem Ellis in his father's eyes is to photograph the Loch Ness Monster. The Colonel photographed the monster years ago, but people thought it was a hoax. Now Ellis wants to both one up his father, and get back in his good graces.

Maddie, Ellis' wife, is the third member of the trio. She's not anxious to go to Scotland during the war, but when Ellis and Hank push ahead with the trip, she has no choice but to go along. In Scotland, all three are shocked by the conditions so different from their privileged life in Philadelphia. Maddie accepts the primitive conditions, but Hank and particularly Ellis are resistant. They not only earn the enmity of the locals, but Ellis and Maddie's marriage starts to disintegrate.

The characters are both the best and worst part of this book. In the early chapters, Maddie, Ellis and Hank are believable living the fast life of the wild society set. However, in Scotland Ellis begins to disintegrate. The change is almost not believable. Maddie, likewise, changes a great deal, but in a more positive way. The story is told from her point of view, and this is perhaps why the portrayal of Ellis is so black.

The Scottish characters, particularly Meg and Anna, the girls who work at the Inn where the trio is staying are good characters. They're believable and give depth to the novel.

I found the search for the monster a bit of a stretch, particularly at the end. The book is easy to read and gives a view of Scotland during WWII that is well done. If you want a bit of romance and adventure with characters that grow and change, you may enjoy this book.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.