This is the story of four women. Ellie is a widow from Vietnam with two daughters, Kate and Jamie. Kate was young when her father was killed in war but Jamie was not yet born therefore never knew her dad. At age eighteen, Jamie’s life is changed forever and she starts drinking and doing drugs. Jamie decides to get her life together and move back home, also helping her Aunt Nina in her last days. Kate is now happily married and living a “perfect” life or so Jamie perceives. As the family deals with their lives they realize that each of them are not what the others think. Aunt Nina, not really a blood relative, is the woman that gave these girls a place to live when their rock, their father and husband, was killed in Vietnam. She quickly became the woman that truly held this family together.
I found this book to start with a deliberate slowness that let me really connect and get to know each character. After forming a bond with all the main characters and their stories, the story moves along at a perfect pace keeping me reading and having to know what was going to happen. The details of emotion and thoughts let me feel like I was in The Sandpiper, like a fly on the wall, living my life side by side with Ellie, Kate, Jamie, and Aunt Nina.
The topics in this book are not easy topics. Addiction and fighting sobrierty, infertility and the desperate hope for a child, and the lose in the time of war are topics Susan Brace Lovell covers with carefulness, but honesty that many authors fail to accomplish. The way the different characters cope and react to each turn of events is true to life.
This is a book that anyone looking for an engaging and perfectly written novel will love and be unable to put down. I highly recommend The Sandpiper.
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