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Beach Girls (Hubbard's Point/Black Hall Series)
 
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Beach Girls (Hubbard's Point/Black Hall Series) [Kindle Edition]

Luanne Rice
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Like a milder Northern cousin of Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, Rice's latest (following Dance with Me) celebrates the near mystical persistence of female bonds. While summering in the seaside town of Hubbard's Point, Conn., Emma Lincoln, Stevie Moore and Maddie Kilvert, the titular beach girls, were inseparable, but as adults, they've drifted apart. Stevie lives like a hermit in Hubbard's Point, unaware that her old friend Emma died in a car crash, leaving behind a husband, a child and secrets. When widower Jack brings his daughter, Nell, to the Point, Nell searches out her last link to her mother: Stevie. A bestselling children's author, Stevie is drawn to Nell and her attractive dad, but the protagonists must struggle with doubts and fears before they can consider a future together. This book is more sentimental and less suspenseful than Rice's previous novels, and fans of her earlier book, The Perfect Summer, may find the premise—a spouse who dies suddenly, with secrets that leave family in disarray—overly familiar. Fortunately, Rice's gorgeous descriptions and sensitive characterizations compensate for those flaws. Few writers evoke summer's translucent days so effortlessly, or better capture the bittersweet ties of family love.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Rice returns to her quintessential beach community of Hubbard's Point, Connecticut, and three childhood girlfriends now grown up. Stevie, Emma, and Maddie were inseparable and vowed to always be friends, but life and love intruded. Stevie has become a recluse still living in her father's house at the beach, but her isolation is shattered when Emma dies in a car crash and her nine-year-old daughter, Nell, comes to Stevie in search of lost female influences, including that of Maddie, with whom she was once close. The healing powers of the beautiful beach, and of friendship, work their magic on Nell and Stevie as both influence each other lives and as Nell's father struggles with his conflicting emotions over his wife's death. Rice's characters forge new connections in this beautiful and tender love story set against an idyllic backdrop of sand and surf and dealing with many facets of love. Another winner for Rice, who breathes life into poignant tales not only about love but also about forgiveness. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 588 KB
  • Print Length: 464 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0553587242
  • Publisher: Bantam (Aug. 3 2004)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1V56
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #180,961 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read Jan. 5 2011
By KareenD
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked this novel up a few years back and hadn't had the chance to read it until recently. I couldn't put the book down for two days. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I loved the build up, the constant mention of something lurking beneath what seems peaceful amongst the beach girls. The consistency plays a large role throughout the novel, always being sure to mention Emma and whatever the real truth is behind Emma's demise. It is the perfect way to keep a reader hooked until the very last bit of the book. The story is a good read, with enjoyable characters such as Nell and Stevie.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Luanne Rice July 31 2005
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As usual Luanne Rice delivers a fabulous story that you will enjoy without a doubt. Recommended Novels: Summer's Child by Luanne Rice, Full Bloom by Janet Evanovich and Fire In The Ice by Katlyn Stewart
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  50 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Very First Encounter With Luanne Rice - I am NOW a Fan! Sept. 28 2004
By Julie Jordan Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
My first experience of Luanne Rice nets a treasure on so many different levels.

I picked this volume up at a second hand store - the cover attracted me and I was looking for an "entertainment only" read.

What I wasn't expecting and was thrilled to find was a discussion of the arts, what is sacred, what is failure and what is success, and how important it is to keep human - actually all being - connections alive.

Yes, it is classified as a "Romance" but the "Romance" is as much about Romancing Life - Romancing a child's heart - as it is a romance between a man or woman.

Perhaps its Romance among Men, Women, and the breath of Life itself.

This is an excellent example of a "simple, entertaining read" being so much more for the willing, open reader.

Thank you, Ms. Rice - for bringing me such a delightful gift - exactly the words I needed wrapped up in a lush package of fiction.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Horribly Overrated. July 12 2005
By Forever21 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Beach Girls felt like too much and not enough all at once. This was a most disappointing read. It's fluff but even with romantic fluff there needs to be some interesting characters to sustain me throughout a 300 page read. And there simply was way too much of one character and not nearly enough of everyone else and their motivations. Hence, I cared nothing about what happened to Stevie and her sudden, instantaneous lurve for Jack, her dead best friend's husband. I found Jack suddenly finding everything he's ever wanted in Stevie a bit to easy and tidy, especially since it came on the heels of the author destroying his wife and their relationship.

While Beach Girls is supposed to be a story about a trio of young women who make a pact, each with distinct personalities and dreams in life, and then drift apart as life takes them in certain directions, in reality there's actually very little actual Beach Girl interaction. And it's actually Stevie's story. All Stevie all the time. Maddie and Emma's stories don't really exist. In fact, they don't really exist as full characters. It's clear, after the Prologue, that Emma and Maddie exist merely to serve Stevie and make her look more appealing and wise in comparison to the mess they become over the course of the book.

For a character to play such a central role in the whole story the author never really dives into Emma, her motivations, her relationships, what led her to be willing to do what she was about to do--especially given what was said throughout the story about her steadfast devotion and love for Nell. There's so many missing gaps in Emma as a character, Jack/Emma and in their lives it's hard to buy what the author expects us to buy as her explanation for who Emma becomes.

What Ms. Rice ultimately explains as Emma's secret felt cheap and incongruous with what had been written about Emma's love for Nell throughout the course of the book. Emma's actions drive this entire story into being, yet Ms. Rice goes out of her way to actually avoid giving Emma plausible motivation and evidence for what she is about to do at the time of her death.

Another bothersome detail is that Ms. Rice gives no glimpse into those missing years in the narration either for supposed main characters like Maddie, Jack, and Emma. The reader knows almost to the minute exactly what Stevie was doing in those missing 27 years. Given that the characters are now in their mid to late 40's and Nell is only nine, what exactly was Emma doing with her time until she had Nell in her mid-thirties, given that she and Jack got married in their early to mid 20's? Was she merely a bored housewife? Was she working? There is no explanation, it's like since they don't matter as characters to the author, those details that give a glimpse of the larger picture don't matter.I was most curious about Emma, Nell, Jack and their relationships with one another and Ms. Rice never really explains any of it, and what little she does explain she goes out of her way to take a hatchet to throughout the course of the narration.

I was left with way more questions than answers about these characters and their relationships at the end of the book and didn't really care about Jack/Stevie/Nell's perfect family when there was much that the author failed to explain and characterize.

The premise is interesting and heartwarming and tragic all at the same time, the descriptions of Hubbard's Point are striking but I felt like the author fell so in love with one particular character that she neglected everyone and everything else in the book, to the point where everything and everyone merely exist to serve the character of Stevie (who IMO was so perfect, so wise, so beautiful, so wonderfully "creative" she became annoying).
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This summer's PB is Hardcover material! Sept. 27 2004
By JJ Stark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Every summer, Luanne Rice releases a PB book which usually has some connection to the previous summer's release. BEACH GIRLS is no exception, with references to Bay & Tara who first appeared in last year's PERFECT SUMMER (2003), and even a small reference to Mrs. Renwick, who first appeared in FIREFLY BEACH, then later in PERFECT SUMMER. The PB novels, which are released every summer, don't usually excite me as much or grab my attention the way that Luanne Rice's HC releases do each Jan/Feb. (I have to admit - I never even finished reading FIREFLY BEACH because I just couldn't get into it!). BEACH GIRLS was another story, however. This story seemed to follow the same pattern that Luanne Rice's HC books seem to go, with a heavier, emotionally charged story with several characters intertwined and connected by the heart. I was pleasantly surprised.

I have been reading Luanne Rice since a friend loaned me their copy of CLOUD NINE shortly after its original release. I have been hooked ever since, and have become quite the fan. The PB books which she releases in the summer always seem to be a fast paced, light-hearted read, meant to be read quickly, and then seem to be soon-forgotten. They aren't as emotionally charged as her HC books are, but BEACH GIRLS was different.

I don't think I would compare this book to the Ya-Ya books (as some have done here), although it does refer to the bonds between Best Friends. I do find similarities to Judy Blume's SUMMER SISTERS, Debbie Macomber's SHOP ON BLOSSOM STREET and BETWEEN FRIENDS, and Kristin Hannah's THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE. These are some of my favorite authors/books, and now BEACH GIRLS is right up there, earning a high rating and recommendation from me.

Anyone who enjoys a story about true friendship, and the love and bonds between family & friends, will thoroughly enjoy this book. It's all there - the three best friends who grew up spending summers together on the beach; a close brother/sister relationship which is put to the test when one of the siblings feels betrayed by the other; the tender and innocent child who brings them all together. It's all there for readers to enjoy, without being overly melodramatic.

Of course it's predictable. Luanne Rice has been writing women's fiction for more than 10 years now, and all of her stories carry the same themes and are meant to pull at the reader's heartstrings. With all the connections to previous novels, what does one expect? I don't think that Luanne Rice's summer PBs are the best novels to draw in new fans and attract readers - I think the HC books are much better at grabbing readers' attention and stopping their hearts. But BEACH GIRLS was different, and I think that someone who has never read a Luanne Rice novel before, would be easily enticed into picking up another one of her previous books - perhaps even reading PERFECT SUMMER, in order to get the background on Bay & Tara!! But if a new reader isn't interested in going backwards to the novels of the past, I think anyone who read BEACH GIRLS and Luanne Rice for the first time would make sure they pick up a copy of her next HC novel, which should be on bookstore shelves shortly after the New Year!! I know I'm looking forward to it, and can't wait to see what's in store! I'm also hoping that maybe next summer's PB novel will pick up where this one left off, because once you finish this book, you'll definitely be wanting to know what happened next!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beach Girls: I Wanted More! Aug. 29 2004
By Vicki C. Kuchno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book while at a gift shop in Hilton Head, South Carolina. I started reading it before I bought it and I was determined not to get hooked. But the first two pages reeled me in and after that, I could not put it down. The writing was brilliant and I truly cared about the characters. It reminded me of friendships I forged while at the beach...only to let the relationships die and the memories with them.

That being said, I felt a bit cheated by the contrived plot lines. I hungered to know more about Emma...the beach girl whose life affected everyone's at the end. I just didn't buy the turn of events that occurred with her..especially the assumptions about her daughter's future. There is NO WAY that Emma would change her relationship with Nell...I don't care how the plot had to be written! And how did it all go wrong with Jack? Again, not well explained and NOT believable.

Also..the character of Maddie was not fleshed out well at all. I never got to know her. It also seemed implausible that Jack would make such a play for Stevie. She really didn't seem his type after the beauteous Emma.

All those points aside, I was gripped by the beautiful renderings of a summer at the beach and the magical spell it cast on all the characters. Especially the grieving young girl, Nell, who had the guts to make a connection with the "beach girls" when others found the past too painful.

This book made my vacation even better. I look forward to other Luanne Rice novels.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The beach is for bonding and for healing (3.5 *s) Jan. 24 2005
By J. Grattan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The starting point of Beach Girls is the joyous summers that three teen-age girls spent on the beaches of Hubbard Point, Conn sharing their lives and dreams, cemented by a solemn oath (a circle drawn in the sand) to always be together. The story resumes twenty-seven years later with the girls having inevitably lost contact many years before.

Now the focus is on trying to recapture some part of those idyllic days as the author reunites most of those characters, but only after life's realities have taken their toll. Conveniently, an inter-family marriage, not at first revealed, provides the basis for the return to the same beaches. But the real driving force in overcoming the gulf of many years of separation is the rather worldly nine-year-old daughter, Nell, of one of the beach girls. Time and again the young girl provides the push to get the old friends to take the next step in renewal and even growth.

The story is a bit sugary with a good bit of tugging-at-the heart scenes. There really are no villains - just people hesitant and unsure about relationships. The tale is not without some questions. For one, one of the beach girls takes a tangential turn in her life that is not well understood. The author's desire to have matters turn out well seems to drive a somewhat improbable connecting of a technocrat (sorry, no more details) to one of the beach girls, turned earth mother. But on the beach, all is possible. The characters are the focus of the book, but one could have hoped for slightly more in-depth portrayals.
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