Customer Reviews for

The Sandcastle Girls: A Novel

Average Rating 4
( 94 )
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(39)

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(13)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

38 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

Bohjalian beautifully brings this story to life, painting a tale and characters that will forever be etched in my heart.

Inspired by his own family history Bohjalian brings this tale to life through the fictional character Laura Petrosian. She lives in present day America and is seeking information about her Armenian heritage and her late grandparents. Through her, Bohjalian takes us on a...
Inspired by his own family history Bohjalian brings this tale to life through the fictional character Laura Petrosian. She lives in present day America and is seeking information about her Armenian heritage and her late grandparents. Through her, Bohjalian takes us on a journey to Aleppo, Syria in the year 1915. American, Elizabeth Endicott, has just arrived with her father. They have come to assist the Armenian League of America. Thousands of refugees are pouring into Syria to escape the terror. Some are marched in by Turkish soldiers. Mostly woman and children; they are emancipated, naked and burned from the blazing sun. Here Elizabeth, her father and others work to save as many lives as they can. It is also here that Elizabeth will meet Armen. He is an Armenian who survived the onslaught in Aon. His wife wife and daughter are believed to be dead. He is an engineer and is in Aleppo with soldiers working on railroads. The tale that unfolds transports us back and forth as Laura shares the story of what occurred in Aleppo and the grandparents she knew in America. Bohjalian weaves a tale that both opens your eyes to the tragedy the occurred and has you falling in love with the characters he has created. I literally consumed this novel as the tale swept me up. It is one, I will talk about, recommend, and remember forever. The characters while fictional could just as easily have been real as Bohjalian weaves them through this time in history. I liked the narrator Laura. She was honest and feisty and brought such an air of authenticity to this story. She is someone I would like to share a cup of coffee with. Elizabeth while educated, caring and capable..is something of a wild child. I adored her and the way she stepped in to help. Armen’s story is touching and I was amazed at how he kept it together. Events revealed to us, shape the man he becomes and the grandfather Laura will come to admire. We met other characters in Aleppo that touched my heart. One in particular a nine year old girl named Hatoun. She survived the desert with the help of Nevert, but not before witnessing the horrific murder of her mother and sister. Karin’s story moved me to unspeakable tears. We meet allies and brave people who helped to get the story out. Bohjalian’s world building was spectacular and eerily surreal. Already a proven artist, it is evident that he poured his heart and soul into these pages. He brings this dark, ominous, evil time in history to life all while shining a light on the good of those who tried to aid the Armenian’s plight. His characters have such depth that I find it hard to believe they didn’t exist. He painstakingly portrayed these horrific atrocities against human life. Even in the darkest corners of my mind I cannot fathom how any human could commit such acts. Please understand that while the events occurring in this novel are dark, the author also brings light and joy into the tale. Through his characters, I laughed, giggled and experienced moments of true joy. The romance that spanned a lifetime was beautiful, bittersweet and left me feeling warm and fuzzy. I highly recommend this thought provoking saga to fans of historical fiction. Anyone who wants to learn more about what historians and politicians covered up for the sake of allies and diplomatic ties should read The Sandcastle Girls. Bohjalian is forever on my auto-buy list and I look forward to his next endeavor. Bravo and well done Chris! I want to thank Knopf Publis

posted by kimba88 on June 29, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

I have read most of Bohjalian's books. Once again I have learne

I have read most of Bohjalian's books. Once again I have learned of an event of which I had no knowledge. Interesting read, but had difficulty keeping the characters straight since it kept bouncing back and forth between eras. Others have been better.

posted by DCgirl61 on August 19, 2012

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  • Posted June 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Bohjalian beautifully brings this story to life, painting a tale and characters that will forever be etched in my heart.

    Inspired by his own family history Bohjalian brings this tale to life through the fictional character Laura Petrosian. She lives in present day America and is seeking information about her Armenian heritage and her late grandparents. Through her, Bohjalian takes us on a journey to Aleppo, Syria in the year 1915. American, Elizabeth Endicott, has just arrived with her father. They have come to assist the Armenian League of America. Thousands of refugees are pouring into Syria to escape the terror. Some are marched in by Turkish soldiers. Mostly woman and children; they are emancipated, naked and burned from the blazing sun. Here Elizabeth, her father and others work to save as many lives as they can. It is also here that Elizabeth will meet Armen. He is an Armenian who survived the onslaught in Aon. His wife wife and daughter are believed to be dead. He is an engineer and is in Aleppo with soldiers working on railroads. The tale that unfolds transports us back and forth as Laura shares the story of what occurred in Aleppo and the grandparents she knew in America. Bohjalian weaves a tale that both opens your eyes to the tragedy the occurred and has you falling in love with the characters he has created. I literally consumed this novel as the tale swept me up. It is one, I will talk about, recommend, and remember forever. The characters while fictional could just as easily have been real as Bohjalian weaves them through this time in history. I liked the narrator Laura. She was honest and feisty and brought such an air of authenticity to this story. She is someone I would like to share a cup of coffee with. Elizabeth while educated, caring and capable..is something of a wild child. I adored her and the way she stepped in to help. Armen’s story is touching and I was amazed at how he kept it together. Events revealed to us, shape the man he becomes and the grandfather Laura will come to admire. We met other characters in Aleppo that touched my heart. One in particular a nine year old girl named Hatoun. She survived the desert with the help of Nevert, but not before witnessing the horrific murder of her mother and sister. Karin’s story moved me to unspeakable tears. We meet allies and brave people who helped to get the story out. Bohjalian’s world building was spectacular and eerily surreal. Already a proven artist, it is evident that he poured his heart and soul into these pages. He brings this dark, ominous, evil time in history to life all while shining a light on the good of those who tried to aid the Armenian’s plight. His characters have such depth that I find it hard to believe they didn’t exist. He painstakingly portrayed these horrific atrocities against human life. Even in the darkest corners of my mind I cannot fathom how any human could commit such acts. Please understand that while the events occurring in this novel are dark, the author also brings light and joy into the tale. Through his characters, I laughed, giggled and experienced moments of true joy. The romance that spanned a lifetime was beautiful, bittersweet and left me feeling warm and fuzzy. I highly recommend this thought provoking saga to fans of historical fiction. Anyone who wants to learn more about what historians and politicians covered up for the sake of allies and diplomatic ties should read The Sandcastle Girls. Bohjalian is forever on my auto-buy list and I look forward to his next endeavor. Bravo and well done Chris! I want to thank Knopf Publis

    38 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 31, 2012

    It is about time we can read about the Armenian Genocide and see

    It is about time we can read about the Armenian Genocide and see the book listed in the New York Times bestsellers list! I have been reading books by Mr. Bohjalian for years now, and had been waiting for this one!
    Beautifully written as the story unfolds and captures its audience. I could not put it down. I have bought five copies and given it to my close relatives and friends. Every Armenian should have a copy of this book on their bookshelf to pass down through the generations. Bravo Mr Bohjalian, and thank you!

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2012

    Joy, hope, love, death, life... The Sandcastle Girls.... on many

    Joy, hope, love, death, life... The Sandcastle Girls.... on many occassions, the tragic descriptions of the Armenian refugees barely surviving un-conceivable human suffering perpetrated by the Turkish soliders moved me to tears. Chris Bohjalian keeps the wording simple and with detailed images brings each and everyone to life. I didn't want the book to end. I'll be buying more books during the holidays to give as gifts....it's a story that is worthy to be read and retold for generations to come!

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    A powerful novel--Bohjalian at his best!

    I read The Sandcastle Girls in one day. I am still reeling from it. It is one of those very rare novels that will bombard you with a barrage of emotions and thoughts every time you look at the book on your shelf. I highly recommend it!

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012

    Bojahlian on top of his game. Couldn't put it down.

    Bojahlian on top of his game. Couldn't put it down.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2012

    This is one of the most hauntingly beautiful stories I have evry

    This is one of the most hauntingly beautiful stories I have evry read. It will forever be on my favorites list. Thank you, Mr. Bohjalian, for telling this story. It was obviously written from the heart.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2012

    Only a writer of consummate skill and imagination can present a

    Only a writer of consummate skill and imagination can present a story with such delicate balance. Although set among scenes of horrific ugliness, Bohjalian educates us to the real-life horror of the time while still inspiring us with a story of hope and salvation. I predict this book will become required reading in history and English classes. Bohjalian has written many excellent books, but this one is a notch higher than any of his others because of the importance of the topic and the the factual basis.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2012

    An awesome novel (based on historical facts) of human suffering,

    An awesome novel (based on historical facts) of human suffering, destruction, carnage, survival, hope, love and new beginnings. Chris Bohjalian is elegant in his narrative, clear in his descriptions and immensely effective and brilliant in the way he weaves between the events of 1915-1916 and the present time. Bravo, Bravo, and bravo!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    Sample

    Read the sample, awesome beginning, cant wait to read the rest.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2013

    Very readable examination of a terrible event

    We read this for our Book Group and found it very thought provoking. Few Americans have heard of the Armenian Massacre of 1915 and I hope this book will correct that and cause people to research that piece of history which still comes up today in the EU and UN as Turkey still denies it took place.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    Highly Recommend - you must check it out!

    It is a sad story set during the time of the Armenian Genocide. Yet during those disturbing times a beautiful love is formed, which also endures its hardships.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2012

    OMG!!! Historical fiction at it's best!!

    This story takes you in many different directions, but ultimately culminates with everything returning full circle. I recommend doing what I did by highlighting words, dates, phrases, and places and researching them as you read the story. (If you are well versed in Middle Eastern history and culture this might not be necessary.)

    I was amazed with the depth and strength of all the characters involved. Yes, this story is fictional. However, the Armenian genocide happened and this story gives a glimpse into the horrors the survivors had to endure during that time period.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    An unforgettable story

    I was moved beyond words when I finished reading this poignant novel. Thank you Mr. Bohjalian for this unforgettable story, I will carry these characters in my heart as long as I live.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2013

    Slow in the beginning, definitely an eye-opener on this tragic p

    Slow in the beginning, definitely an eye-opener on this tragic piece of history. I would recommend this more as an educational history ready, rather than fiction and embedded romance. Not a book to lose yourself in and escape into romantic fiction!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    Recommended read.

    Book was very good. Made you understand the struggle of the Armenians. I feel it is a book one should read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    The Cold, Hard Truth

    The Sandcastle Girls brings the world to reality for the Armenian population in 1915. The novel does a fine job of describing the atrocities that happened to the Armenians. I felt I had a much better understanding and clearer picture of this event that has rarely been recognized or discussed. As for the story itself, I was underwhelmed. There was a lot of violence, death, and sadness. Bohjalian was "keeping it real." Although there was somewhat of a love story thread, it took a backseat. I have read many historical novels that are difficult to read due to the facts of the time and place. What helps get me through is a nice solid love story. I didn't get that from this book. If the author was looking to lay the cards on the table, and tell his story for the sake of the world knowing the history, then it was very good. For people who want to remove themselves from their current reality, and enter more of a fantasy world, you won't get that from this book. I also felt that I did not know the characters that well. The too were secondary to telling the history.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    A piece of history unbeknownst to me!

    This book was recommended to me by a fellow book lover. Once I sat down, there was no putting this book down. I felt so uneducated, I never knew about the Armenian massacre! The story was difficult to read due to the subject matter but the impact on the entire family from the parents' experience was so beautifully told, loved this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    a real awakening

    I liked this book very much. I have read other books by Bohjalian and I love the way he writes. But this one was a true revelation to me, knowing nothing about the 1915 genocide of the Armenians. Very well aware of the Holocaust in Germany through my own family's heritage and history I know how important it is to make the world aware of these hateful crimes that continue today. This one, done in the form of a novel with characters we can feel for, including an underlying romance, made it easy to read and stay with. Bravo.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Review

    Excellent characters that the reader can relate and thought provoking storyline.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Wonderful book. A masterpiece about the worst tragedy suffered b

    Wonderful book. A masterpiece about the worst tragedy suffered by the
    Armenian people. Bohjalian´s novel manages to offer a glimpse at the
    reality of the descendants of the survivors of this massacre. All over
    the world the Armenian families of the Diaspora keep the terrible
    stories of their slaughtered relatives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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