Customer Reviews for

The Sandcastle Girls

Average Rating 4
( 94 )
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5 Star

(39)

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(27)

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(13)

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(7)

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(8)

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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 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 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 July 17, 2012

    Cant wait to read

    Looking forward to it

    1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    Highly recommended!

    This is most interesting and an in-depth revelation of cultural differences, most likely due to ignorance. It is a great discussion for book clubs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    Major Pettigrews Last Stand

    Wonderful story of love loss and redemption. Auprise ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    Excellent book!

    My book club read The Sandcastle Girls and we all loved it. It was a little slow in the beginning but it definitely picks up and turns out to be a wonderful story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    Good

    This was good. The author created likable characters & I learned a little about the Genocide of Armenians in 1916. The end answered some questions, but those answered questions led to more, unanswered questions. A good read, I would recommend it

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  • Posted November 17, 2012

    This heartrending novel tells of the tragic genocide of millions

    This heartrending novel tells of the tragic genocide of millions of Armenians in 1915, a period of history I knew nothing about before reading this book. The story is raw, poignant and interwoven with abhorrent war crimes and intense, emotional stories of love and friendship. With Syria once again in headlines, the landscapes and tragedies described in the novel are especially thought-provoking. Highly recommended for historical fiction readers.

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  • Posted September 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A wonderful heartbreaking book

    when I think of this book, all that comes to me is Karine. My heart aches for her suffering and yes there were millions but, they are all of them in the end... Karine.
    This is a heartbreaking story of a genocide I was not familiar with and for that reason alone a miracle and blessing Chris has written about it. This is a story no one should ever forget about, and on that note...
    This is a story about a young woman in 1915, Elizabeth Endicott who is traveling with her father to Aleppo to assist with the Armenian league of America with the thousands of refugees flooding into Syria from Turkey where a mass genocide is occurring.
    there are many intertwining stories in this book but the main one is about the love between Elizabeth, Armen and Karine
    It is in Aleppo that Elizabeth meets Armen, an Armenian engineer who has lost his wife and young daughter in the carnage. They begin tentatively to correspond when Armen goes to Egypt to join the British army and they slowly through their letters fall in love.
    This story will grab you by the short hairs and not let you go until you are either in tears or at the end of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    A good read

    Sad and compelling story of how barbarous we can really be

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2012

    Eye-opening. Great read

    Chris Bohjalian is one if my favorite authors. I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard about it. If you like historical fiction I highly recommend this book about a piece of history I ashamedly knew nothing about.

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