Published: Bantam Dell
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Own book
Twenty-five years ago three friends grew from girls to women on the sandy shores of Hubbard's Point, Connecticut, forging a bond they swore would last forever. Then time and distance drew them apart - and one was lost forever. Now her nine year old daughter has returned to the Point with her widowed father, longing to find the "beach girls" of her mother's stories.
I've had this book so long on my TBR shelf I no longer remember where I picked it up. On looking through the reviews over on Book Journey I came across Sheila's review of Beach Girls by Luanne Rice. and immediately I could tell I would like it and decided to read it this year. It was even better than I thought it would be and it is definitely relocating now to my Keeper shelf, once I have shared it with one of my sisters. I lend her any book I've loved and think she will too.
Nell is the nine year old who has lost her mother and is yearning somehow to reach out and 'touch' her through her friends of long ago. She is all of nine going on twenty. I thought maybe she spoke and acted a little older than a nine year old, but then I thought of the wisdom I have come across from young people and decided to go with the flow. She seeks out Stevie Moore a recluse, who paints and writes story books for children, always sharing the darker side of nature as well as the positive. While there is a notice up outside Stevie's house that says Go Away, Nell is determined to visit and so she does.
Stevie is a complicated woman, at a young age she experienced the loss of her mother, so has an immediate 'feel' for Nell. She has had a few unsuccessful marriages and now just lives by herself with her cat Tilly. However she does have an aunt and cousin with whom she is close. She longs for connection but is now careful with her heart.
Maddie Kilvert is one of the other women who was part of the 'beach girls', growing up she was secure in the knowledge of the love of her parents and older brother Jack, four years older than her. She always expected the best out of life. Emma is the third 'beach girl' she's an extrovert, welcomes change and excitement and I sensed a little envious of Stevie.
Now so many years later life has very much changed for them. One is dead, one does not know and the other is lost in grief, guilt and loss. Can people recover from loss and go on to lead fulfilling lives? It's not easy and all the denial and avoidance will not help in the long run. Is there hope? The story Luanne Rice weaves says a resounding yes.
This book sucked me in, I loved the writing and the details of the coastline and the coastal habitat for all kinds of birds and other creatures, that was so well integrated into the story. The theme of family and friendship was strong, as was the redeeming nature of love and faith and overcoming obstacles. One of those books I didn't want to end.