The Sandcastle Girls: A Novel

by Chris Bohjalian | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0385534795 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingAceofHeartswing of Mississauga, Ontario Canada on 7/24/2012
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Amazon Editorial Review

The Sandcastle Girls is a sweeping historical love story steeped in Chris Bohjalian's Armenian heritage.
When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Aleppo, Syria she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. The year is 1915 and she has volunteered on behalf of the Boston-based Friends of Armenia to help deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian genocide. There Elizabeth becomes friendly with Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. When Armen leaves Aleppo and travels south into Egypt to join the British army, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, and comes to realize that he has fallen in love with the wealthy, young American woman who is so different from the wife he lost.
Fast forward to the present day, where we meet Laura Petrosian, a novelist living in suburban New York. Although her grandparents' ornate Pelham home was affectionately nicknamed "The Ottoman Annex," Laura has never really given her Armenian heritage much thought. But when an old friend calls, claiming to have seen a newspaper photo of Laura's grandmother promoting an exhibit at a Boston museum, Laura embarks on a journey back through her family's history that reveals love, loss - and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.

Journal Entry 2 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Sunday, September 02, 2012
Elizabeth Endicott accompanies her father to Aleppo, Syria. They have volunteered on behalf of the Friends of Armenia to deliver food and medical aid to Armenian refugees. The year is 1915 and Turkey is systematically killing all the Armenians. Elizabeth has only basic nursing skills and knows little of the language.

Elizabeth becomes friendly with Armen, an Armenian engineer protected by the Germans. Armen has lost his wife and infant daughter to the genocide. This is WWI and once the Germans leave for the front Armen has to leave to save his own life. He ends up in Egypt and goes to Gallipoli to fight for the British. He and Elizabeth start a correspondence and so begins a romance.

As a parallel story, Laura Petrosian is a novelist who wants to know more about her Armenian heritage.

A lot of historical fictions use parallel story lines but in this case it just didn't work well. I think it would have been better to write just the truly remarkable story about the Armenian genocide. Elizabeth is quite 'forward' for her times and is quite the strong woman. She does help the refugees even to the point of rescuing some.

While I did not know about the genocide I did know about the horrors of Gallipoli. A lot of horrific things happened.

A great read!

Journal Entry 3 by HoserLauren at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Thursday, February 28, 2013
Reading now.

Journal Entry 4 by HoserLauren at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Thursday, March 07, 2013
Laura Petrosian is a novelist who wants to write the story of her grandparents. One is American-born Elizabeth and the other is Armenian Armen, both of whom were in Syria during the Armenian genocide. Laura researches her grandparent's past through pictures and letters at museums in the USA. She even finds letters between her grandmother and grandfather, which helps form the basis for the novel.

Elizabeth volunteered to travel to Aleppo with her dad as part of a Friends of Armenians mission. The atrocities she sees are unimaginable. She brings a woman and young child back to the American compound, saving them from being marched out to the dessert to either waste away or have their heads cut off as sword practice. She also meets a handsome young Armenian Armen who is trying to find his wife and child though suspects they too have been murdered. He soon gives up and travels to Egypt to enlist and fight against the Turks.

I knew nothing about the Armenian genocide prior to this novel. The way it was presented, it sounds like I'm not the only one. Getting the history lesson on this was very interesting, and the love story during the war read like it could be a true story.

The novel switched back and forth between present day and the past, but this really made things confusing at at the beginning. I think the story could have been told just as well, if not better, without referring to Laura trying to write a novel about her grandparents. This novel was well written and it was easy to connect with the characters.

Journal Entry 5 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, March 12, 2013
This book is back with me :)

Journal Entry 6 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Thursday, August 15, 2013
mailed to my birthday partner. Enjoy!!!!

Journal Entry 7 by dancing-dog at Cordova, Tennessee USA on Thursday, September 19, 2013
Received for my birthday - sounds interesting

Journal Entry 8 by dancing-dog at Cordova, Tennessee USA on Thursday, October 31, 2013
Read during the Fall Into a Good Book read-a-thon in memory to honor our friend AceofHearts who has left us too soon.

My review:
It took me a little while to get into this story especially because it often alternated flashing back to the past and then to current day but once I got into it (somewhere around chapter 7 or so) I really enjoyed it. I guessed the ending before I got there but that's okay. A good story.

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