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Beach Girls    by Luanne Rice order for
Beach Girls
by Luanne Rice
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

Once there were three girls who came to know each other during hot summer vacations spent on the sandy beaches of Hubbard's Point, Connecticut. Over the years they swore eternal friendship, calling themselves the 'Beach Girls'. But with time, the distance between them widened until finally they grew apart.

Now, twenty-five years later, Stevie Moore has achieved great fame with her beautifully illustrated children's aviary tales, while in her personal life she's a recluse, emotionally wounded and withdrawn after three failed marriages. She resides quietly at Hubbard's Point, where local children believe her to be a witch. Meanwhile Maddie Kilvert's still recovering from a terrible accident which has left her devastated, wrecked with survivor's guilt and rejected by her beloved brother. And beautiful, vivacious Emma, who glued the Beach Girls together, is dead. In her grief, Emma's young daughter, Nell is determined to find traces of her mother in her two best friends and does her best to bring them together on the same sandy shores. Her worried father, Jack isn't pleased by Nell's innocent machinations. Still, he can't deny the attraction that springs up between Stevie and himself, while he steadfastly refuses to let his sister Maddy back into their lives. Is there a solution to these emotional entanglements?

Luanne Rice's lyrical prose and stunning visual imagery renders this a tear-jerking but emotionally satisfying tale. Her in-depth characterizations show the people involved, warts and all. Indeed, these very flaws make them feel real and easy to relate to. Rice magically brings alive the artistic Stevie, Maddy racked with survivor guilt, young, grieving Nell and her baffled father, the tight-knit atmosphere of Hubbard's Point and its serene beaches. While a little timeworn, this sensitive tale's heartfelt drama is nonetheless effective. And it's not all doom and gloom, for the author always injects hope and wonder, and maintains a sense of suspense and an element of mystery until the end. Beach Girls is a delightful tale of relationships and redemption, a perfect summer read.

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